Fritz Stegherr was born in Germany in 1888, to a single mother, raised in the Algäu, always wanted to go to sea as a teenager. At 26, he found himself in a foreign country on the other side of the world, and England had declared war on Germany. It was 1914.
Fritz was the 4th Officer on the S. S. Oberhausen, a cargo steamer which had come to Port Huon, Tasmania, to load railway sleepers for Durban in South Africa, when news of the war filtered down. Soon after, Naval Reservists were sent from Hobart to seize the ship and arrest the crew. As a result, Fritz spent the entire war in Prison of War Camps in Tasmania and New South Wales. He wrote five diaries for his dear mother, who had requested he write down memories.
This is only the beginning of his story…
Dear Mama: Diary of a German POW in Tasmania 1914-1915 is the first time material from Fritz’s diaries have been published, and the book will be launched at the Festival, at a special event hosted by (and held at) the Maritime Museum of Tasmania.
The President of the Friends of Bruny Island Quarantine Station, Rob Banfield, will introduce the diaries and researcher, Kathy Duncombe, and Paul Thost, who translated them, will talk about how this project all began, back in 2014.