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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Krichauff, Friedrich Eduard (1824–1904)

by Sally O'Neill

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

Friedrich Eduard Heinrich Wulf Krichauff (1824-1904), by unknown photographer, c1870

Friedrich Eduard Heinrich Wulf Krichauff (1824-1904), by unknown photographer, c1870

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 48253

Friedrich Eduard Heinrich Wulf Krichauff (1824-1904), politician, was born on 15 December 1824 in Schleswig, Denmark, son of Carl Krichauff, a Supreme Court judge, and his wife Julie, née von Bertouch. Educated at Husum, Schleswig, and the University of Kiel, he was apprenticed to Ludwig Fischer at the Kiel botanical gardens. In 1846 he matriculated to the University of Berlin and was reputedly one of the students who guarded the palace in March 1848. After the revolution in Schleswig-Holstein failed Krichauff decided to follow his friend Ferdinand Mueller to South Australia, and arrived in the Alfred on 6 December. He was naturalized in 1849 and, with the help of (Sir) Samuel Davenport, he and Mueller bought land in the Bugle Ranges between Strathalbyn and Mount Barker. Mueller soon returned to Adelaide but Krichauff farmed there till about 1866 when he set up as a land agent in Adelaide. On 10 May 1853 as a 'Protestant Dissenter' he married Dorothea Sophia Arivolina Fischer at her father's home near Macclesfield.

Krichauff was elected to the first District Council of Macclesfield in 1854 and of Strathalbyn in 1856; he was chairman of both for years. In February 1857 with John Dunn he was elected to the House of Assembly seat of Mount Barker. He advocated payment of members but his motion failed. A strong supporter of (Sir) Robert Torrens, he retired on 12 March 1858 after seeing the Real Property Act passed. He contested the assembly seat of Onkaparinga in 1868 but did not win it until April 1870. He was commissioner of public works in Henry Bull Strangways's ministry from 12 to 30 May. Krichauff resigned his seat in May 1882 to visit Europe and the United States. From April 1884 to March 1890 he held the seat of Victoria in the assembly and in June won a Southern District seat in the Legislative Council. He was defeated in 1893 and retired from politics.

Krichauff had a lifelong interest in scientific agriculture and made many experiments in his own garden. In parliament he spoke most often on subjects of land use. He became interested in the problem of reafforestation and in September 1870 moved the appointment of a select committee to report on the establishment and replanting of forest reserves. In 1873 his Forestry Act was passed and in August 1875 he initiated the formation of a forest board. With Davenport and Albert Molineux he was appointed to the Central Agricultural Bureau in April 1888 and was chairman till it was closed in 1902: he and Molineux were made life members of the new Council of Agriculture. Krichauff also served on the council of Roseworthy Agricultural College.

Krichauff was an early member of the Volunteer Rifles and became a captain. He wrote articles for the Chronicle and published pamphlets in Adelaide on water supply by artesian and tube wells (1879), the dairy industry in Denmark (1895), the beet sugar industry (1896) and the wine industry (1899). He also wrote Fertilizing Field and Garden (Adelaide, 1901). He died on 29 September 1904 at his home at Norwood, survived by three of his four sons and by his wife (d.1919), to whom he left his estate valued at £750. A mountain range in Central Australia bears his name.

Select Bibliography

  • E. Hodder, The History of South Australia, vols 1-2 (Lond, 1893)
  • F. L. Parker (ed), Centenary History of South Australia (Adel, 1936)
  • Parliamentary Debates (South Australia), 1857-58, 2 Sept 1884
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 29, 30 Sept 1904
  • Register (Adelaide), 29, 30 Sept 1904.

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Sally O'Neill, 'Krichauff, Friedrich Eduard (1824–1904)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 29 October 2020.

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

View the front pages for Volume 5

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