Aike Scholtens, South Australia

Aike Scholtens

Aike Scholtens, born 23 May 1927, in Schinnen, Limburg, Holland, married Wilhelmina Dirkje Sipman, born 28 January 1928, in Kortenhoef. Aike was a son of Renze Scholtens, a coalminer from Limburg and Annechien Rouw from Emmen, Drenthe. During the 1950s Renze had moved from Vlagtwedde, Drente, where he owned a farm, to Limburg which offered better economic prospects.

Limburg was seeking miners for the coal industry, and Renze Scholtens, like many others, moved form being a farmer, owning his own land, to working under ground in the mines, digging coal. Renze died at an early age, like many other miners from the unhealthy working conditions.

After their wedding Aike and his wife lived in Sittard, Limburg, where Johannes, their first son, was born on 30 January 1958. After the closure of the some of the mines the family moved to Amsterdam, where Aike was employed as a concierge. Their second son Nanne was born on 18 February 1960. He was called Norman after their arrival in Australia.

Australia was actively seeking Dutch migrants during the 1950s and 1960s, even paying for their trip down under. Another Scholtens family (not related) had already made the move to South Australia and was living in the Riverland. Aike and his wife Wilhelmina also decided to try their luck in Australia. After the usual check-ups and filling in of numerous forms they were accepted.

Their big adventure started in Sydney where they arrived per KLM flight PH LKD on 27 October 1960. From there they went to Block 6 at the Woodside Migrant Hostel, an old army camp which housed some 26,000 migrants between 1949 and 1963. The four of them only stayed for a short time before moving to the Glenelg Hostel on 1 November 1960 and from there to Hackney.

Needless to say that this was a major improvement as it was much closer to the Adelaide CBD and the job market. Aike went to work as a conductor and the family was soon able to put some savings together which made it possible to buy their own house, something that would have been impossible for them to achieve in Holland.

National Archives of Australia

The house they bought on 26 September 1962 was in Parilla Avenue, Hope Valley, where a new subdivision had recently been opened up. After moving in with their few belongings they intended to make it their dream home. Sadly though it came all to an end within a month.

Their dreamhouse

On 19 October 1962 Aike had an accident with his scooter. The Dutch Australian Weekly reported on 2 November 1962 that he was badly injured when he collided with a car at the crossing of Payneham and Walkerville Roads at St Peters. He was admitted to hospital and after recuperating from his injuries unable to continue with his job. Although he was paid compensation for pain and suffering he had no other insurance. After paying hospital and other costs, he was left with little money.

The all important papers

While not being able to work yet and having to pay for a mortgage it was hard going for the family. Eventually Aike took up a store and post office at Sanderston in 1963. This turned out a financial disaster and he lost what little money the family had left. Their third child was born during this period, on 14 January 1964 at Rose Park, Adelaide while another son was born on the 11 June 1966 at Murray Bridge.

By now Aike and Wilhelmina also had marital problems on top of their financial worries. That same month Aike made inquiries about a return to Holland for a family of six persons. Shortly after the birth of their last son the family was on the move again. This time they found a place at Milendella. The two oldest boys, Johan and Nanne/Norman, were able to attend the Primary School and were very pleased with their teacher, Miss Faith R. Fox. Miss Fox resigned on 16 December 1966.

All four boys were baptised in the Lutheran Church at Milendella on 24 July 1966. It was also on that day that Johannes and Nanne transferred to Murray Bridge. In October 1966 Aike was working in Murray Bridge and living with his family at Tepko. To help her son, Aike’s widowed mother Annechien Scholtens-Rouw, offered to pay for the family’s return to Holland on the Flavia which left Australia on 7 October 1967.

Unfortunately their return to Holland did not improve their personal problems and they divorced within a year. After the divorce the children lost contact with their father. The mother lived with her sister Johanna (Joke) Sipman, in Eindhoven, together with the four children. Both sisters took care of the children.

Aike died 8 August 2003 in Brunssum, six weeks after his second wife, Antje (Ann) Kleinman-van Oostend had passed away, to whom he had been happily married for 26 years. Wilhelmina Dirkje Sipman died on 19 April 2003 in Eindhoven. She never remarried.

With special thanks to Nanne (Norman) Scholtens for his help and information.
If you have any information about the Scholtens' time in South Australia,
please email Nanne at


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