The Andreas Kurz Cabin Chest

This fascinating and rare piece of Mudgee history – the Andreas Kurz cabin chest – came into my possession in the mid 1980s and subsequently languished in my attic for many years, admittedly as very useful storage for innumerable items of junk which I am wont to collect. Recently, I came to the realization that it was more appropriate for such an item to be on permanent public display; hence its donation to the Mudgee Historical Society in 2005.

This study aims to document the construction and design of this significant district family heirloom and briefly record its journey from Germany to Australia in 1855, its subsequent ownership and a brief history of the associated Kurtz (sic) family.

In October 1988 the Kurtz family staged a reunion at the Mudgee showground where the chest was put on display. Much of the information in this study is sourced from a family tree which was produced after the reunion. This family tree was largely compiled by the late Don Kurtz of Mudgee and I hereby acknowledge his input and that of various Kurtz descendants in the compilation of this document.

Mudgee is rich in history associated with families from German-speaking Europe. Many families of Germanic origin – Kur(t)z, Roth, Müller, Rheinberger, Rohr and Buckholtz – came to the Mudgee district in the 1850s and 1860s, and were intricately involved in the establishment of the district’s wine industry. All of these families flourished and made significant contributions to the development of the district where many descendants still live today.