Learn about Joachim Matthias Wendt
In many respects the history of Wendt's is a potted history of Australian gold and silver smithing. State directories of the late 1800s show that they sold watches, jewellery, rings, trophies, church plate, optical goods and electroplate. They also repaired watches and jewellery.
Joachim Matthias Wendt arrived in Port Adelaide in 1854, just 18 years after the foundation of South Australia. He was born in 1830 in Denmark. His mother died when he was nine years of age, leaving his father to look after him and two sisters. Joachim became a watchmaker's apprentice.
He brought these skills to South Australia, quickly opening a small watchmaking and jewellery shop in Pirie Street, Adelaide. Business was good and so he soon moved to better premises in Rundle Street.
Wendt's soon became recognised as a top quality shop. The jewellery, silverware, watches and clocks were equal to the best which were imported. In 1864 and 1865 Joachim received first prizes at a Scottish exhibition. In 1871, Wendt's was selected to make silverware caskets featuring Australian motifs for the Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Adelaide and other towns. more...