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Ernestine Caroline Lovelace (c. 1856–1923)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Ernestine Caroline Lovelace, née Schmidt, late Sonnemann (c.1856-1923) Labor Party activist

Birth: about 1856 in Prussia [Germany] daughter of Wilhelm Fichtner or Oscar Schmidt, soldier, and Rosina, née Fichtner. Name was variously recorded, sometimes as Cristiane or Christiana Karoline Schmidt or Fichtner. Marriages: (1) 27 May 1876 with Evangelican Lutheran rites at Stockwell, South Australia to Otto Franz Sonnemann. They had five sons, two of whom died in childhood. (2) 8 June 1898 at the Wesleyan parsonage, Broken Hill, to Charles Lovelace Andrew [known as Charles Lovelace], a miner, born at sea. Death: 27 April 1923 in hospital at Broken Hill. Religion: Methodist. 

  • Arrived in South Australia about 1870. Was living at Lights Pass when she was married.
  • Widowed with three young sons in 1888. Spent time in NSW near Menindee, then moved to Broken Hill about 1896.
  • In November 1898 her second husband was killed in a mining accident at the South mine.
  • “Mrs Lovelace” became a prominent Labor supporter. In December 1903, a member of the Broken Hill Political Labor League (PLL), she supervised a stall at a fair at the Trades Hall raising funds to build an office for the Labor paper, the Barrier Daily Truth.
  • She was elected president of the Broken Hill PLL in 1904. In 1907 she was president of the Broken Hill and Wills Ward PLL.
  • Purchased a freehold block in Wyman Street, Broken Hill.
  • Associated with charities such as the Barrier branch of the Children’s Ward League.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Lovelace, Ernestine Caroline (c. 1856–1923)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 July 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Sonnemann, Ernestine Caroline
  • Sonneman, Ernestine Caroline
  • Schmidt, Ernestine Caroline
  • Schmidt, Christiana Karoline
  • Fichtner, Christiana Karoline

c. 1856


27 April, 1923 (aged ~ 67)
Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Political Activism