Westgarthtown – Thomastown

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Westgarthtown was established in March 1850 and is named after WILLIAM WESTGARTH (1815 -1889). This was Victoria’s first German settlement and had a number of names during the 1850’s: Keelbundora, the German colony, Dry Creek, Neu Mecklenburg and Germantown. The German and Wendish settlers finally renamed it Westgarthtown in recognition of Westgarth’s assistance both prior and after their arrival into Australia.

In 1888,Westgarth  had revisited Australia for the first time in over 30 years to attend the Melbourne Centenary Exhibition. With him he brought a large granite fountain which he donated to the people of Victoria and which stands today in the Exhibition Gardens in Nicholson Street.

During his voyage out he wrote Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne, the second last of his numerous books. He recalled his role in the development of early German migration to Victoria .

“When I made my first Home trip in 1847, I resolved to open if I possibly could, German emigration to Port Phillip. Quite a number had already been settled, some from the earliest years in South Australia, where their industry, frugality, sobriety and general good conduct had made them excellent colonists”