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Passing of Detlef Kramer †



Thoughts on Detlef Kramer

Born in Koenigsberg East Prussia 1929 he graduated as a Mining Engineer at the Bergakademie – Clausthal in 1956 and joined the Company of Krupp as a Research Engineer; in 1958, he moved to the head office of Krupp Essen in the Central Export Department and trained for work abroad.

In November 1959, Detlef came to Australia on a 4-week visa to establish any possibilities for Krupp to do business in Australia. He remained in Melbourne as a Resident Engineer for Krupp until 1965. In that year, he established the firm “Krupp (Australia) Pty. Ltd" with the head office in Sydney. A business that expanded over the years involving many major projects in Australia.

Already in Melbourne Detlef became an interested participant in the recently formed Student Exchange Program commencing a life long association with Herr Fritz von Einem Joosten. This interest continued after his arrival in Sydney and Detlef subsequently became NSW President of the Society for several years. He was elected Federal President in 1984 a position he held for many years before experiencing ill health. 

In his role as Federal President of the German Australian Student Exchange, he established a close relationship between interstate committees and with the reciprocal society in Germany. He personally welcomed and farewelled students at the Airport and enjoyed attending briefing and debriefing sessions of the past students. His very keen interest was to read and file the students written reports of their experience overseas. SAGSE was always an organisation very dear to his heart and as Federal President, he introduced several changes to the structure of the Society ensuring legal protection of the travelling students and worked tirelessly to maintain and increase sponsors to provide the ongoing opportunity for students to experience another culture.

In keeping with the pride in his own national background, Detlef continued to promote a better understanding between Australia and Germany following his retirement from Krupp Australia Pty. Ltd. He completed a new version, including his own photographic illustrations, of the Travel Guide to Australia published by Mai Verlag. This was an extensive production in German. Including not only travel information but also a social, political, economic and historical background to Australia. This work enjoyed a successful sales turnover in Germany.
His interest in the young students led him to accept a part time position of Teacher for German Conversation at the private school ‘Shore Boys Grammar, North Sydney’ conducting classes from year 7 to HSC level.

In 1989 Detlef was decorated with the Cross of the Order of Merit for “promoting commercial relations between Australia and Germany. In 2004 Detlef was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit First Class cited in “recognition of his voluntary commitment to the Society for Australian German Student Exchange over the past 33 years”.  On receiving this high distinction of the Federal Republic of Germany: “it is our youth who builds the bridges for our people of tomorrow”.

Detlef valued his own German heritage but acquired a love of the Australian way of life, which led him to accept dual nationality, being awarded Australian citizenship in 2008.
Detlef married his Australian wife Wendy (the daughter of Air commodore David Beyer RAAF) in 1970 and in 1972, their daughter Bettina was born. At the end of his life, Detlef enjoyed the company of his three grandchildren all of whom loved to hear Opa’s stories of Germany.

Throughout his adult life Detlef was a passionate Yacht man taking pride in his beloved boat  “Pumpkin”, classical music with regular attendance at the Sydney Opera House and an instable love of travel to unique and interesting parts of the World filled the private life of Detlef. 

His long illness with Parkinson’s disease was a daily burden for such an active man. On January 11th this year, death was indeed his friend freeing him from such a disabling disease.