This is an envelope for one of three letters written in German to Karl Muffler by his sister Maria during 1944. The envelope states that the contents were opened by a censor. The letters had been redirected to the Forests Commission Camp, Broadford from Tatura Internment Camp in northern Victoria. Karl Muffler was interned as a German enemy alien at Tatura Internment Camp from 1939 to 1944, and was then released to the Civil Aliens Corp Melbourne on 27th June 1944. He was then transferred to Broadford until his release in 1945. These were the last letters Karl Muffler ever received from his sister Maria. She was killed during the allied bombing of Freiburg, Germany on 27th November, 1944.

This item relates to Karl Friedrich Muffler, qualified pastry chef and confectioner, born in 1900, who migrated to Melbourne from Germany in 1930, aboard the passenger liner 'Balranald'. Muffler quickly established himself in Melbourne, commencing employment with Bill Ikinger (who had recruited and sponsored him) at his cake shop in Brunswick, as well as joining the long-running German establishment 'Club Tivoli'. Muffler went on to establish his own business, 'The Embassy' in Malvern, and in 1939 married fellow German migrant Mathilde 'Hilde' Mayer. At this time they were members of the 'German Labour Front' of which Adolf Mayer (Hilde's father) was president. On 4th September, 1939 Karl Muffler, along with dozens of other German residents (including his father-in-law), was placed into police custody as an enemy alien. He was transferred to Tatura internment camp and while there undertook woodcarving and drafting classes and worked as a cake decorator. He was transferred to a Forestry Commission camp in Broadford, and finally released in 1945. With no family left in Germany he decided to stay in Australia and became naturalised in 1947. After the war, Muffler accepted a position at William Angliss Food Trades School in Melbourne teaching ex-servicemen new skills in cake decoration. He maintained a connection to the German community though Club Tivoli and died in 1996.

Description of Content

3 letters from sister Maria to Karl during 1944 and redirected to 'Forests Commission, Broadford' from Tatura Internment Camp. Envelope states that contents were opened by a censor. Letters described in a noted attached to the letters by Karl Muffler that these were the last letters he ever received from his sister Maria. She was killed during the allied bombing of Freiburg, Germany.

Physical Description

Envelope, slit completely open, addressed to Karl Muffler, redirected to Broadford from Tatura with a 'Forest Commission Broadford' label. Sender: 'Maria Muffler in Freiburg', German postal stamps and sticker '3 opened by censor'; Stamped Melbourne 22.9.1944 and Broadford 23.9.1944 (these dates don not correlated with date of final letter, dated after these receipt stamps).


This rich and diverse collection enables the exploration of a number of important historical themes, relating to migration as well as broader work and wartime narratives. Of key interest is the theme of working life and the proactive transporting of commercial and culinary traditions to Australia via the immigration process. Represented are the operational activities of pastry businesses around Melbourne in the 1930s, brought to life through tools and business records. The theme of internment and restriction of 'enemy aliens' during World War II can be explored through documents, mementoes, drawings, tokens and internment craft, and this collection is complemented by a large number of documents relating to Muffler held by the National Archives of Australia.The collection also provides a comprehensive overview of a migrant's experience: from garnering qualifications in country of origin to migrating; establishing a working life as practitioner and teacher; community connections and the subsequent consequences of those activities; the establishment of a domestic and social life, through marriage and ongoing cultural links; and the experiences of loss through separation through relocation, and loss of family due to war.

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