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Kroemer, Victor Eugene (1883–1930)

by Frank Bongiorno

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005

Victor Eugene Kroemer (1883-1930), printer, socialist, clairvoyant and healer, was born on 5 November 1883 at Tanunda, South Australia, fifth of seven children of John Stephen Anthony Kroemer, storekeeper, and his wife Alice Jane, née Trotter. Both parents had been born in South Australia. Leaving school and entering the printing trade at the age of 12, Victor undertook a course of intensive evening reading of 'religious, scientific and philosophical literature' in the Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery in Adelaide. He joined various literary and religious organizations, but his membership of a young men's class at a Baptist Sunday School ended when his freethought ideas became known to the superintendent. Although, as a youth, Victor often found himself 'surrounded by a bluish or violet light', it was not until later that he 'discovered the nature of that force'. From about 1901 he was secretary of the Christian Metaphysical Society and a member of the Clarion Fellowship, a socialist group, several of whose members combined political radicalism with mental science and 'new thought' healing.

Moving to Victoria in 1903, Kroemer worked as a printer on the Bendigo Independent. In 1905, while he was living in Melbourne, 'there came to him . . . an outpouring of the force of which later he was destined to achieve such conscious mastery'. He developed a healing technique that drew on this force but, in the meantime, he was an active member of the Social Questions Committee, a Fabian-style organization formed in 1905 by Tom Mann. Next year Kroemer joined the Victorian Socialist Party; he wrote regularly for its newspaper, the Socialist, ran the party's Sunday School, became a Theosophist and practised vegetarianism.

In August 1907 the tall, handsome Kroemer represented the newly formed Socialist Federation of Australasia at the seventh congress of the Second International at Stuttgart, Germany. During a debate on migration, at a gathering including most of the world's leading socialists, he allegedly claimed clairvoyant knowledge that the world revolution would commence in South Australia. The Reuters correspondent called the speech 'an extraordinary mixture of blasphemy and inconsequence', while H. M. Hyndman, a British delegate, wrote to an Australian socialist demanding to know why Australia had chosen such a stupid dreamer as its representative!

Early in 1908 in Paris Kroemer married Lillian Hammett Dyer. Later that year he was back in London. The couple's three children were born in England. While working for various newspapers and publishers, Victor mixed in Theosophical, spiritualist and new thought circles. In 1912 he attended a Theosophical convention at Adyar, India, the headquarters of the society, and then travelled to Colombo, where he briefly managed the Buddhist Press.

Next year Kroemer and his family moved to Australia. He worked as a journalist on the Daily Herald in Adelaide and for four years as general secretary of the Workers' Educational Association of South Australia, which he had helped to found. After the outbreak of World War I, he established an occult class in Adelaide that sought to understand 'the inner meaning of the World Crisis'. He published a transcription of the teachings of a seer called 'Althea' as Why This World Crisis? (Adelaide, c.1915); it interpreted the war as a consequence of a lack of harmony in the solar system, and of the success of Lucifer, the God of Jupiter, in gaining control of the Kaiser.

Kroemer began treating patients as a new thought healer 'in a small way' in Adelaide from 1916. He expanded his practice in the following decade, published The Rise of Democracy (1919) and in the 1920s he and Lillian went to Sydney where, as 'Victor Cromer', he ran the Spiritual Healing Institute. He died of appendicitis and peritonitis on 2 February 1930 in Edward Rivett's Cabarisha Private Hospital, Castlecrag, and was cremated with Anglican rites. His wife and their son and twin daughters survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • B. Walker, Solidarity Forever (Melb, 1972)
  • J. Roe, Beyond Belief (Syd, 1986)
  • Herald (Adelaide), 23 May 1903, p 1, 4 July 1903, p 7
  • Socialist, 22 June 1907
  • Argus (Melbourne), 26 Aug 1907, p 7
  • Federal Independent, 1 Apr 1930, pp 1-3.

Citation details

Frank Bongiorno, 'Kroemer, Victor Eugene (1883–1930)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/kroemer-victor-eugene-13035/text23569, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 20 December 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Supplementary Volume, (MUP), 2005

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