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Otto Heinreich Schomburgk (1857–1938)

At the age of 80 years, Mr. Otto Schomburgk, who retired 10 years ago from the posts of Sheriff, Controller of Labor Prisons and Chief Probation Officer, died early this morning at his home in Grove street, Unley Park. During nearly 55 years in the Civil Service, Mr. Schomburgk served with distinction in a number of important offices such as Federal and State Electoral Officer.

Mr. Schomburgk's father, the late Dr. Richard Schomburgk, was for many years Director of the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Born on September 30, 1857, at Buchsfelde, near Gawler, Mr. Schomburgk was educated at St. Peter’s College. He joined the Engineer-in-Chief's staff as a cadet in 1874. After experience to various other departments he became Deputy Sherriff in 1892 and Sheriff and Controller of Prisoners 11 years later. Mr. Schomburgk was associated with the Supreme Court staff for 46 years, holding many posts such as those of Marshal in Admiralty Jurisdiction and Deputy Marshal High Court of Australia. During the war he acted as Censor.

Quick in making decisions, Mr. Schomburgk combined tact and discretion with great administrative ability. Although noted for his firm handling of prisoners, he was always ready to help them to rehabilitate themselves. When he first became Sheriff, it was no uncommon thing to see many of the prisoners in irons. Whenever possible, Mr. Schomburgk saw that these were removed.

Mr. Schomburgk joined A Battery of the Field Artillery of South Australia as a gunner in 1879, and 11 years later became major and commander of the battery. Mr. Schomburgk was a member of the Masonic fraternity, his mother lodge being the United Tradesmen's No. 4. E.C., and he was a past master of that lodge. He was a member of local racing clubs.

Mr. Schomburgk was always proud of the fact that he was a nephew of Sir Robert Schomburgk, noted traveller, scientist, and consul, who led a Royal Geographical Society expedition which explored unknown parts of the interior of Guiana about 1840.

Mr. Schomburgk married Ada Louise, daughter of the late Henry Downer, S.M. and a member of Parliament. There are three children. Mr. R. Schomburgk, Mrs. J. G. Howard, of Stirling, and Mrs. Curwen of Windermere, England.

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Citation details

'Schomburgk, Otto Heinreich (1857–1938)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


30 September, 1857
Gawler, South Australia, Australia


1 September, 1938 (aged 80)
Unley Park, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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