Karen Taylor, John Hoffman and Mayor Ron Bellingham in front of the plaque dedicated to the Hoffman and Xander families at the weekend.
Karen Taylor, John Hoffman and Mayor Ron Bellingham in front of the plaque dedicated to the Hoffman and Xander families at the weekend.

Tribute to pioneering ancestors

THE sun shone brightly on the hilltops of Killarney as the Hoffman and Xander clans honoured their pioneering ancestors at the Killarney Cemetery on Saturday morning.

Exactly 158 years ago on Saturday the Hoffman family set sail from Germany bound for New South Wales, as Australia was known at that stage, to begin a new and better life for generations to come.

More than 120 family members gathered for the unveiling of the great grandparents plaque, with some coming from as far as Tasmania for the occasion.

Many descendants still reside in the local area, carrying popular surnames such as O'Mara, Badke, Hancock, Murphy and Strom.

John Hoffman's curiosity about his family heritage was raised when various family members began researching the family tree and found that their ancestors lay in unmarked graves in the Killarney Cemetery.

Mr Hoffman said he felt obliged to find his ancestors' final resting place, for himself and the family.

“What my ancestors achieved for our families and did for the community in the early settlement days, I felt it only right to restore their graves and give them the recognition they deserve,” he said.

Establishing themselves in Killarney, the Hoffmans became people of the land.

Peter and Marie Hoffman also built the first hotel in Killarney, The Killarney Inn, in 1868, which was located close to the current Killarney Abattoir.

The Xanders moved to the area a few years later, retiring in Tannymorel after residing in Dalby where they were dairy farmers.

In a heartfelt speech, Mr Hoffman gave a brief family history overview before unveiling the plaques, assisted by mayor Ron Bellingham.

Cr Bellingham said he was honoured to be involved.

“These early pioneering families, who arrived only 12 years after the Leslie Brothers, have strongly contributed to the development of the township and Killarney's culture,” he said.



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