Wine pioneer Peter Crebert’s descendants toast a fine reunion

FAMILY TIES: Descendants of one of the Hunter’s original winemaking families,  front row: Chloe, Isabella and Connor Crebert. Back row: Sam, Greg, Mick and Ron Crebert.  Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
FAMILY TIES: Descendants of one of the Hunter’s original winemaking families, front row: Chloe, Isabella and Connor Crebert. Back row: Sam, Greg, Mick and Ron Crebert. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

GREATER insight into one of the Hunter’s iconic families was gained on Saturday with a family reunion of more than 200 people at Mayfield East School.

German migrant Peter Crebert is credited with bottling Newcastle’s first wine in 1859 after moving to the region 10 years earlier with his  wife, Maria Louisa. By 1870,  he had three vineyards and 21acres (8.5hectares) of land. He is remembered as a  success   in the region – his name immortalised in Crebert Street, Mayfield.

Ron Crebert (Peter’s great-great-grandson) said he and his wife, Jan, decided to organise a reunion when they opened an old suitcase that had been up in his grandparents’ ceiling and found two photos of World War I servicemen. Subsequent inquiries found that one of the men was Harold Charles Crebert.

“Our family had 12  young men fighting for Australia during World War I and three men did not return home.”

Ron said people travelled from across Australia for the reunion, held at the school because it is believed Peter donated the land on which it was first built in 1858.

Ron said one interesting point of discussion during festivities was Peter’s decision to change his name from Grebert to Crebert, something none of his siblings did when they moved to Australia. Most attendees thought it could have been a bureaucratic bungle where a   ‘‘G’’ was mistaken for a   ‘‘C’’ and Peter, who spoke little English, never bothered to correct it.

“One of the strong directions of the Crebert family has been that they were all tradespeople,” Ron said.