Krallmann, Heinrich Br. (1874–1951)

Prepared by: 
Regina Ganter
Birth / Death: 
born Dersum, 1874
died 5th June 1951, Beagle Bay, age 77


Spent 47 years in mission work at Beagle Bay, Tardun, Rockhole, and Lombadina, where Henry Well is named after him. He spent much time in the bush and was a ‘truly religious man with a deeply humble spirit’.


Heinrich Krallmann was born in Dersum near Osnabrück and entered the Pallottine novitiate at age 24 in 1898. He received his habit in 1899 and made his profession in 1901.


In 1904 he was designated for the Kimberley mission along with three other Brothers, Franz Stütting, Alfons Herrmann, and Anton Helmprecht. They arrived on 5 May 1904.1 Three years later his mission superior wrote to Limburg that ‘we need some more like Brother Heinrich’.2 For twenty years he was doing stock work in charge of Aboriginal stockmen and it was the cattle that saved the mission from financial ruin.3 He was in charge of selecting the cattle for sale, either through the manager of a neighbouring property acting for Norman Company at Baldwin Creek or by droving into Broome. He built up the herds of cattle, horses and mules.


He also dug most of the wells on the mission lease and erected tanks and windmills, such as the one at Milla-milla in September 1913 and at Lumat in April 1915, both with Br. Wollseifer, which normally involved camping away from the mission. He invented machinery with true outback ingenuity.


When a farm was opened at Tardun he was the first to be sent to the site in 1928, and again in 1934 Bishop Raible sent him to inspect the site for a new station at Rockhole near Hall’s Creek before he committed to the purchase of the land.4 Brother Henry warned his Bishop that there was not much to speak of at this station. He commenced the new station with Fr. Francis Hügel and Brother Joseph Schüngel, aided by several men from Beagle Bay.5


The house consisted of two small unventilated and uninhabitable mud-walled rooms and a large open verandah around them. The kitchen was a lean-to. One room was used as chapel, the other as store-room. The verandah was used as living area for the commune. Nothing could stop the new enterprise. No time was lost. Brother Henry Krallmann looked after the animals – sheep, horses and mules. Brother Josef Schüngel acted as cook. Fr. Francis Hügel helped with everything that needed doing and tried to make contact with the few Catholics in the area. He didn’t have a car, and the only means to reach anyone was on horseback or by horse-drawn buggy, or if he could get a lift in someone’s motorcar. Br. Josef Tauten was called from Beagle Bay to improve the tight living arrangements. He built the living quarters for the Father and Brothers.6


Later Br. Henry went to work at Lombadina Mission and finally returned to Beagle Bay, where he was cordially received by the residents (Fr. Hügel’s description, below). He was unable to attend the golden anniversary celebration of his Pallottine Profession. Fr. Worms (below) wrote a moving description of his farewells from the Lombadina residents when he died of a heart disease at age 77.7


Brs. Krallmann, Huegel, Schuengel at Rockhole

Rockhole Missionaries in November 1934. From left to right: Br. Krallmann, P. Hügel, Br. Schüngel.

Source: Australien - Missionsstationen Kasten 18, ZAPP


Br. Bleischwitz also described how news of the death of Br. Henry reached them:

The date was 5th June 1951. Bishop Raible was staying with us at Balgo for a few days. We were speaking to Beagle Bay by radio transmitter. Our good old Brother Heinrich Krallmann, a close friend of Br. Franz Nissl, was nearing his end. that morning Fr. Joseph Kearney gave us the sad news that Br. Henry had died after painful sickness. I can still see the Bishop staggering out of my office, clasped a verandah post and leaned his head against it. Tears ran down his face. He struggled for words to express his grief, his thankfulness and his joy. He could not find the words. After a while he said, “I can only say what the Lord said: ‘Well done, good faithful Brother’. The Lord’s welcome were the only right words he could find for Brother Henry who gave himself to God, the church and the mission as a Pallottine.8



Brothers in Australia

by Fr. E. Worms9


Br Heinrich Krallmann

Died Beagle Bay Mission, 5 June 1951

Brother Henry, a tall man, upright even in old age, white hair, white goatee, rosy and youthful face, and a Westphalian inflection in his speech. Clear thinking, extraordinary industriousness, not a slave driver but with an almost unstoppable drive. Valued precise work, no botch jobs.

A trained carpenter, swinging the hammer even into the last year of his life, he formed the most interesting things out of iron bars - to the amazement of the barbarians? Actually, with him the Blacks took it for granted.

Downed his tools right on time, straight to his little house, a quick wash, soon to reappear in a clean habit. Large spectacles, the Succession of Christ before him, rosary in his hands, on his way to the Beagle Bay church.

Regularly confessed with great punctuality, whomever he could grab. Matter-of-fact himself, he expected matter-of-fact speeches that allowed him enough room to develop his real Westphalian piousness in his own individual way. Brave and daring voyages and undertakings with complete confidence in the protection and aid which God affords his missionaries. Went to dig wells in the interior, constructed wool-presses that supplied such bales to the harbour that experts were amazed about their great technical design.

Employable as smith, cowboy, rice farmer, horse breeder, shepherd, and shearer, he spent days in the bush without mass, alone with the blacks, everyone kneeling down in the sand before bedtime to pray the rosary after him. True to the vow of poverty, any leftover iron or other material was put away for later use. Tracked down old deserted goldmining camps, dragged the heavy anvil for miles through the valleys to our Rockhole Station.

A living example of religious life without much talk, for men and women, young and old. The old ones held him in great trust and the young ones in high esteem. Faithful friend of the bishop, abhorred all superficial critics whom he would shut up with a few deft words.

His heart wanted to give up, he sat in front of his hut with the rosary - a simple room and hard bed. Friendly chat with each passing blackfellow. The end was slowly approaching. Without invitation all the blacks now came in long queues to say farewell. With his weak voice he had a good word for each of them. Everyone was crying. When it was over he told the bishop and brothers who were present, ‘what a comfort to encounter such gratitude.’ Normally the blacks are stoic and take all good things for granted and without thanks.

Now the simple, strong missionary rests as a faithful Pallottine in the red sand below the cross at the edge of the eucalypt forest, not far from the first Christian village, greeted from a distance by the white tower and gleaming mother of pearl cross of the Sacred Heart Church of Beagle Bay.



This is how Fr. Hügel remembered Br. Heinrich:

Memories of Br. Heinrich Krallmann

by P. F. Hügel10

It was in the year 1934 when I first met Br. Heinrich. I was at Beagle Bay Mission at the time. After a long absence, I think since 1928, he was returning to his former patch, at first just for a visit.

I still remember how cordially he was received, not only by his Brethren, but by the mission people. He had been one of the first to come from Germany to north-west Australia at the turn of the century and his faithful memory was a sheer inexhaustible trove of experiences and encounters. Without making a fuss about himself he related serious and funny things, and in the process you could see what a deal of work and projects he had undertaken.

One fine day he received a telegram from Bishop Raible who was on his annual grand tour of the vicariate, instructing him to fly to Halls Creek, about 800km east of Broome. He had never flown, so he got a bit excited, how would that turn out and would you get seasick?

When he returned a few weeks later he was able to report that Bishop Raible had succeeded in buying a small station in the east of the vicariate. It was to become a hospital in a central location. In the autumn I was appointed as the first superintendent of the new station (rock hole). I would be assisted by Br. Heinrich and Br. Joseph Schüngel, and was relieved that such experienced and loyal Brothers would be by my side. Rockhole was a small sheep station with a few horses and mules, and Br. Heinrich knew how to handle all of them. He also helped in the garden, built a new baking oven, and after Br. Tautz had built a new house from bush timber later on, he constructed a brick wall and a hard floor from ant-bed. He also acted as smith. One day I thought there was too much scrap iron lying around and tidied up. When he returned from the bush he said, what have you done, I can’t find anything anymore! For him the scrap iron was an order in disorder, although he must have dropped the ‘dis’ from the ‘order’.

One small incident will show the loyalty and humility of Br. Heinrich. It was shearing season with all hands on deck and Brother Heinrich, true to himself, wanted everyone to be available. I objected, ‘but not Br. Joseph, he has urgent work in the kitchen and garden’. He replied: ‘well if I can’t have Br. Joseph you’re welcome to stand in for him’ or words to that effect. Of course he was the first to turn up at the woolshed, and everything went well, even without Br. Joseph. At the end of the day my good Br. Heinrich came to me, kneeled down and asked for forgiveness.

After working together for two and a half years our paths separated, I was called to Beagle Bay. But years later we met again. His experience and assistance were wanted everywhere. Due to a range of circumstances our cattle herd had shrunk and he was called to the rescue. He did everything in his power to save the day, and it must have pained his heart to see how decrepit our herds and pastures had become. He was open and straightforward in his judgement and criticism, but you didn’t hear him complain or go on about the ‘good old times’.

I vividly remember the occasion of the golden jubilee of our good old Br. Heinrich’s profession to the Pallottines. It was celebrated at a high church level, I think with a pontifical mass. But the one person who couldn’t be there was himself. He was sitting outside his living room door and fighting for breath. The angel of death had marked him out. He knew it well, but he was patient and submissivie, and accepted all troubles as a matter of course. Next day we took our leave, and it was to be the last. ‘Good by Brother Henry, God bless you. You will be remembered in my prayers.’ ‘Goodbye Father Francis, yes, please pray for me. Give me your blessing.’ That’s how we parted for this life.

But those of us in the second and third generation of the mission know what we owe to our founding generation in the vicariate. Their memory is blessed, and their legacy fruitful well beyond the grave.



1 Pers. Comm Roberta Cowan, Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Australia) Archives, Rossmoyne.

2 Bischofs at Beagle Bay to Provinzial 4 February 1907, Australien 1900-1907 B7 d.l.(3) ZAPP.

3 Bischofs to Pater Max (Kugelmann), 9 February 1914 Australien, Nachlass Kugelmannn B7d,l(1) ZAPP.

4 Pallottine Fathers Newsletter Nr 3/79 p.2-3 ZAPP.

5 Alphonse Bleischwitz, Geschichte der australischen Mission, MS, B7d,r (18)d ZAPP.

6 Alphonse Bleischwitz, Geschichte der australischen Mission, MS, B7d,r (18)d ZAPP.

7 Pallottine Necrology, MS of the Pallottine Centre, Rossmoyne.

8 Alphonse Bleischwitz, Geschichte der australischen Mission, MS, B7d,r (18)d ZAPP.

9 Handwritten MS in Worms P.1-27, ZAPP.

10 In Hügel, Franz [P] P1 Nr 19 ZAPP.