Kramer, Rev. Wilhelm (1835-1891)

Prepared by: 
Regina Ganter

Moravian missionary at Kopperamanna (1866-1868), Ramahyuck (1865-1866, 1869-1876), Ebenezer (1876-1891).





Carl Christian Wilhelm Kramer trained as a tailor before commencing studies at the Moravian college in Gnadenberg. He was accepted into the Moravian Akoluthie in January 1864, and was ordained at age 30 as Diakonus on 31 July 1864 after receiving a call for an Australian inland mission, together with Rev. Julius Kühn, Rev. Heinrich Walder and Rev. Gottlieb Meissel. Walder and Kramer were sent to London to learn English while the other two were to acquire basic surgery skills in preparation for the mission.1


The group left London on 17 August 1864, and arrived in Melbourne on 27 November 1864. They were already able to deliver a public address in English, but preached in German.2 Due to a prolonged drought, the inland expedition to Coopers' Creek was postponed and the four were distributed to existing mission stations.


Kramer was allocated as teacher to Ramahyuck mission in Gippsland managed by Friedrich Hagenauer since 1863. Hagenauer welcomed this help and was reluctant to let Kramer go when the call came in mid-1866 to proceed to Adelaide and commence the inland journey to Coopers Creek.


Still, Kramer went to Ebenezer3 to pick up the convert Boney (Daniel), who had heard about the expedition from Walder and Meissel, and wanted to accompany them. They met up at the Moravian congregation at Bethel in the Barossa Valley (July 1866) but during the preparations for the journey Boney had to be admitted to hospital in Adelaide and died (11 October 1865/1866). Kühn, originally intended for this mission, was permitted to remain at Port Lincoln.


The group arrived at Coopers' Creek (31 January 1867) just days before a Lutheran missionary party also from the Barossa Valley. After an arduous journey they faced a hostile reception from the Dieri people at Coopers' Creek. They struggled at Lake Kopperamanna until leaving the field to the Lutherans in mid-1868 without achieving any conversions (see Killalpaninna).


Around May 1868 Kramer re-joined Ramahyuck, where he married the Moravian Sister Emilie Beyer on 13 October 1868.4 His wife was admitted into the Moravian Akoluthie (14 July 1870).5


Kramer returned to Ramahyuck (possibly around May 1869) where he stayed for seven years, although this time his relationship with Hagenauer was less amicable.


In March 1876 Kramer (presumably with his wife Emilie) moved to Ebenezer mission to assist the ailing Spieseke, who died in June 1877. Kramer managed Ebenezer mission alone until the arrival of Rev. Paul and Amalie Bogisch in 1878. He submitted his last report to the Periodical Accounts in 1887, but he stayed on the mission for another three years and died there in February 1891 at age 56, after 27 years of service in the Australian missions.







1 Felicity Jensz German Moravian Missionaries in the British Colony of Victoria, Australia, 1848-1908: Influential Strangers Leiden, Brill 2010:159-162.

2 Hagenauer, 15 December 1864, in Periodical Accounts MS9896

3 Kramer left Ebenezer in August 1866. 1866 Report Annual Report of the Central Board for Aborigines, B332/0 1861 – 1924 National Archives Melbourne, Victorian Archives Centre

4 According to miscellaneous mission notices in the Periodical Accounts, summarized in Excerpts from SLV

5 Felicity Jensz German Moravian Missionaries in the British Colony of Victoria, Australia, 1848-1908: Influential Strangers Leiden, Brill 2010:242.