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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Auricht, Johann Christian (1832–1907)

by H. F. W. Proeve

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

Johann Christian Auricht (1832-1907), pastor, editor and leader in the Lutheran Church, was born on 12 April 1832 at Chlastawe (Klastovo), near Bentschen, Posen, Poland, the second son of Christian Auricht and his wife Maria Elizabeth, née Löchel. His father, after suffering fines and imprisonment for his religious convictions, decided to join the party led by Rev. August Ludwig Kavel. The family arrived in South Australia in the Catharina on 26 January 1839 and in 1843 became pioneer settlers at Langmeil (Tanunda).

Auricht received his primary education first in private classes at home and on board ship, then in church schools in Glen Osmond and Klemzig. His fifteen-year training for the holy ministry began in October 1843 under the Rev. Gotthard Fritzsche, of Lobethal, and continued after August 1846 under Kavel at Langmeil. It was frequently of a peripatetic nature as he accompanied his two successive tutors on journeys to the other churches under their care. Despite these difficulties, his examiner, a newly arrived and fully accredited pastor, G. W. Staudenmayer, testified to the ability of Auricht and the thoroughness of his training.

After his ordination to the Lutheran ministry on 1 August 1858 Auricht served as Kavel's assistant in the outlying churches at Nain, Grünberg (Moculta), North Rhine (Keyneton), and Hahndorf. On 12 February 1860 after Kavel died he succeeded to the pastorate at Langmeil and held it for forty-seven years. Though he lacked an imposing personality and oratorical gifts, his ministry was marked by other qualities, revealed in earnest pastoral care.

Auricht's particular contribution to the Lutheran Church lay in the literary field. For forty-five years he was the chief editor of the church periodical established in 1862 as Kirchen und Missions Zeitung fuer Deutsch-Australische Gemeinen; the name of the paper was later changed slightly several times. In 1869 he had his own press in a small room where he set and printed the periodical; his eldest son, J. C. Gottlieb, progressively took over the management from his father after 1878 and expanded this activity into the present Auricht's Printing Office at Tanunda. Auricht's contributions included theological articles, poems and an outline of the history of the Lutheran Church in South Australia. He also published brochures and the earliest of the annual almanacs of the Church. His manuscript histories of the beginnings of the colonial Lutheran Church are of inestimable worth.

As the protégé and close associate of Kavel, Auricht's opinions were highly valued. In 1900 the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Synod in South Australia elected him president, an office which he held until his death on 4 February 1907 at the home of his son Traugott, a medical practitioner in Hahndorf. Auricht held firm convictions, which he vigorously defended with his pen, but his irenic disposition and willingness to seek forgiveness, even from the lowliest person, caused him to bear no personal animosities, and he enjoyed universal respect through his personal piety, modesty and 'crystal-clear, guileless character'.

On 13 October 1858 he had married Maria Elisabeth Paech of Hahndorf; of their nine children, three sons and three daughters survived him. A daughter, Louise, married Johann Flierl, D.D., and with her husband devoted herself to pioneer missionary work in the territory of New Guinea.

Select Bibliography

  • Auricht autobiography, diary, manuscript histories and brochures (Lutheran Church Archives, Adelaide).

Citation details

H. F. W. Proeve, 'Auricht, Johann Christian (1832–1907)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 23 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

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