For many years we have been aware that our great-grandfather had a brother living in Melbourne, Australia but until a few weeks ago, nothing was known here of him. Now, following the arrival of a photo from Germany that was simply labelled “Warneke Henry A.” we have been able to uncover significant detail of this missing great-uncle.
The following is what is currently known, but I would still like to know what happened to Mary, did they have children and why is he buried with Eliza Warneke?
John (Johann) Henry Andrew Warnecke was born about 1828 in Hamburgh, Germany, the first of three biological and one foster child of Peter Warnecke and Margaretha Schmidt. He is possibly the first to use the alternate spelling of Warneke with German documents from the early 1800’s showing the original spelling, but later documents, after his emigration to Australia, use the alternate version. Additionally, while in Australia, he stopped using “John” and became “Henry Andrew Warneke” although his death records do contain all three christian names.
Like many of his family before him, John was a shipwright and by the age of 43 he had emigrated to Australia, settling in Sandridge (now Port Melbourne), Victoria. He continued his trade of ship building, launching many ships from his works in Port Melbourne. These ships included the:
- Eleanor Johnstone; Schooner; Length: 20.4 m., built in 1872 but while on voyage from Genoa River to Melbourne ten years later, she ran aground and was lost.
- Julius; Schooner; Length: 22.1 m. built in 1876. On 02 May 1892, Julius was on voyage from Refuge Cove to Gippsland Lakes when she was lost after running aground. 2 crew died.
- Latrobe; Schooner; 37 tons; Length: 21.2 m. built in 1875. In 1878, Latrobe was on voyage from Melbourne to Lakes Entrance when she was also lost after running aground.
In 1867 he married Mary Holehan in Victoria, Australia but they are not recorded as having any children. Mary emigrated to Australia in September 1863 onboard the “Champion of the Seas”, departing from Liverpool, England. It is not known what happened to her and no children from the union have been found.
Henry never moved from Port Melbourne and died there on the 20th July 1914 from Senile Decay and Heart Failure. He was buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery on the 21st July in a grave along with Eliza Warneke who died in 1866. The relationship between the two, or the reason why he was buried with her is not known. The grave does not contain a headstone.
At some point in 2011 I would like to have a plaque placed on Henry’s grave so that it is not lost again. I am not sure yet of the cost but if you are interested in supporting this endeavour, then please contact me.