After the quarantine period was over, Karl with a friend he had made were moving north to Glen Innes where work on farms was to be had. The Great Northern Railway line which connected Sydney to Brisbane was opened in Glen Innes in 1884 and in Tenterfield in 1886, so the pair had a comfortable journey to the town. They found work on a property at Red Rock next door to a farmer named Potter. Karl was not to know that, in the future, his daughter would marry a son.Robert Potter, the family having moved and were living next door . Karl by this time, had anglicized his name to Charles, reading in the newspaper that there were openings in the Silverspur mine in SE Queensland for timber workers to supply timber to the mine , he decided to go, but went alone as his friend had decided to stay in Glen Innes. He was happy with being a labourer but Charles was on a mission to own his own property.
Charles was working near Silverspur but camped on the bank of the Dumaresq river, he was not to know that 70 years in the future his grandsons would own this property. The men, at night, used to play cards by lamplight and one evening, after they were unable to work because of rain, were sitting in their allotted place. They all wore long boots and it wasn’t until the water rose over the top of the boots, they realised the river was in flood and they were in big trouble. They managed to scramble up the bank but lost all of their possessions, hence the family of Christiansen lost many treasures brought from Norway and Charles too, lost many memories of his mother and home.
While there, he came to hear that land below the border some 20 miles away was open to be settled,so he quickly made his move. The next couple of years he worked hard clearing the timber and building his property-he was fortunate he had made friends with his next door neighbours, the Schneider boys ( whose father Jack had accumulated much land on both sides of the river , some 15 miles of land, before he died in 1885) and they were willing to help him. They also had a sister, Elizabeth who later became his wife.
In 1892 Charles, while working cutting timber for his house, heard someone call his Norwegian name he looked up and saw his cousin Ole Arneig, which was a surprise but a happy one. Ole was in the merchant navy and while they stopped in Brisbane to make repairs, Ole jumped a train and came west to find his cousin. They had a great time catching up with all the news and Ole would have much to tell when he returned home as Charles, with all the many happenings, had not wanted to let them know too much as they would have been concerned so he had not communicated that much with the family.
In 1893 he married Elizabeth and they started their life and their family on “Holmwood’. They were well respected in the community as Charles was always ready with his time and finances-he used part of his land to make a school and it filled a void of little education until a State school was up and running over the border in Texas. He was an instigator of bringing it into being as well the local hospital. Elizabeth was known as a ‘healer’ and midwife and many came to her seeking help and answers to their problems.
The property had sheep and produce grown in their backyard and they were always ready to help out with anyone experiencing hard times. They also opened their home to travellers who came looking for a place to settle and appreciated their hospitality and a sleep in a good bed as camping out is not a good way to have a restful sleep and as some of these people were on the roads for months, a bed, when offered,was accepted gratefully.
They had busy but happy lives and Charles died in 1940, Elizabeth having passed two years before-he became distressed when he heard the war had come to Norway and became withdrawn and this appeared to affect his health and he passed not long afterwards. It has been said he died of a broken heart.
The writer can vividly recall many happy times spent at “Holmwood” sitting around the dinner table listening to tales of a bygone time, cameraderie and harmony flowing between the occupants of the room. People at ease and comfortable with one another.It was a good time, a magic time, a time to treasure and these memories are kept safely locked in our hearts, as we look back down the years and remember with love, the people who have gone before.