Westgarthtown & WWI





Seeber family



Eight members of the Seeber family, from Eichach in Württemberg, arrived in Australia on three different ships between 1856 and 1861. Brothers Christian, Ludwig and Philip arrived aboard the Ellen in 1856; brothers Johann and Gottlieb and sister Rosina came on the John Linn in 1857; and mother Rosina and sister Caroline arrived on the Empress of the Sea in 1861.

Johann, a shoemaker, lived at Westgarthtown and his brothers Christian, Ludwig and Gottlieb at Epping. Their mother Rosina lived with them. Philip and sisters Rosina and Caroline soon moved to Bendigo, where Philip established a butchery business; Rosina married Gottfried Borrmann, a baker; and Caroline married Jurgen Rechter, a publican. Gottlieb, also a butcher, traded at Epping until about 1870 when he relocated his business to Preston and Ludwig moved to land he had selected land at Tamleugh in northern Victoria in the early 1870s. Around the same time, Rosina and her husband moved from Bendigo to Epping and operated a bakery there.

Philip and his wife Mary Ann had two grandchildren who tried to enlist during World War 1 but both were rejected. Philip Seeber and Mary Ann Exon had married at Bendigo on 15 October 1862 and raised a large family. Their eldest son Philip Henry Seeber married Carol Ellen Whyte in 1894 and their eldest son, also named Philip Henry Seeber (1896-1978), enlisted at Bendigo on 26 July 1915 aged 19. He was born at Bendigo and gave his occupation as shipping clerk and religion as Church of England. He had served one year in the 17th Light Horse, Citizen Forces. His father was secretary of the Bendigo Citizens’ Defence League.

He was initially allocated to D Company, 9th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade at Ascot Vale in Melbourne. On 22 October 1915, however, he was transferred to the Australian Army Medical Corps, then discharged on 22 November 1915 as medically unfit because of Mitral Stenosis, a heart condition. He had also previously had attacks of chorea and rheumatism.

Philip returned to Bendigo, married Gladys Dewar in 1923 and died in 1978.

Victor Carl Seeber (1898-1956) was the eldest child of Philip and Mary Ann Seeber’s only other son, Carl Edward Seeber, who married Marion Halliday in 1898. Born at Kangaroo Flat, Victor tried to enlist on 10 March 1916 at Bendigo, but was rejected as medically unfit for overseas service because of an injured right knee. Aged 18, he was a labourer and gave his religion as Church of England. He had served one year with the Senior Cadets.