Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Lindeman, Henry John (1811–1881)

by Frank L. Woodhouse

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

Henry John Lindeman (1811-1881), vigneron and surgeon, was born on 21 September 1811 at Egham, Surrey, England, son of John William Henry Lindeman, medical practitioner. Trained at St Bartholomew's Hospital (M.R.C.S., 1834), he was appointed surgeon in the naval hospital ship Dreadnought moored at Greenwich. In 1837 he became surgeon in the Marquis of Camden and went to India, Canton and other ports on a voyage lasting eighteen months. On 11 February 1840 at Southampton he married Eliza Harriet (d.1900), daughter of Joseph Abraham Bramhall.

Dissatisfied with prospects at sea and in England, Lindeman migrated to Sydney with his wife and arrived in September 1840. He settled at Gresford on the Paterson River and opened a medical practice. In 1843 he acquired the Cawarra estate where he found the soil and climate suitable for successful wine-making and established a vineyard. He had visited the wine districts of France and Germany and learned much from their wines and production methods. He was soon making wine of excellent quality. In 1850 he became a member of the Hunter River Vineyard Association and regularly attended its meetings; he was president in 1863 and 1870. On 13 September 1851 a fire had destroyed his stores and cellars, equipment and 4000 gallons (18,184 litres) of wine, but he went to the Victorian goldfields, worked as a doctor and miner, and soon accumulated funds. He returned to Cawarra and rebuilt the winery, but for some years he had no wine sufficiently mature for sale.

In northern Victoria Lindeman had been impressed by the wines of the Rutherglen and adjoining districts. He continued his connexion with the area and by 1872 had a large wine trade at Corowa; later he bought vineyards in the district. In 1870 he transferred his business activities to Sydney because of the demands of cellar space and increased production. He set up bottling equipment at the Exchange Cellars, Pitt Street. In the 1870s he won high repute in Sydney for his colonial wines, with increasing production of fine table wines in the Hunter district and of sherries and muscats at Corowa. In 1879 he took three of his sons into partnership. He strongly advocated the consumption of light table wines in place of strong spirits, which he deemed harmful in the Australian climate. He established his firm on the sound basis of selling only mature wines of good quality.

Widely known and esteemed as a founder of the Australian wine industry, Lindeman died at Cawarra, Gresford, on 23 May 1881 and was buried there by Anglican rites. He was survived by his wife, five sons and five daughters.

Select Bibliography

  • E. Digby (ed), Australian Men of Mark, vol 2 (Syd, 1889)
  • Cyclopedia of N.S.W. (Syd, 1907)
  • M. Lake, Hunter Wine (Brisb, 1964)
  • M. Lake, Vine and Scalpel (Brisb, 1967)
  • H. P. Mollenhauer, Hunter River Wine Industry (np, nd)
  • Maitland Mercury, 2 June 1881
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 1881
  • Town and Country Journal, 4 June 1881
  • Old Times (Sydney), Apr 1903.

Citation details

Frank L. Woodhouse, 'Lindeman, Henry John (1811–1881)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 22 October 2016.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

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