If you’ve been watching Maori Television’s series Behind the Brush recently, you might have wondered if the Lindauers of Russell were connected with the famous artist, Gottfried Lindauer (1839 – 1926). They are. Gottfried and his wife had two sons, one of whom ended up in Russell. Victor Lindauer was principal of Russell School from 1932 – 1939 and again from 1947 – 1956. Not only was he a teacher – he also became a world authority on marine and freshwater algae. He enlisted his family and students as fellow collectors (standards 5 and 6 had many “nature study outings” to the rocky shores around Russell) and inspired many young naturalists. One of his finds, at Long Beach, was a previously unknown form of Gigartina alveata – found after many years of searching. Much of his collection, now at Te Papa, can be viewed online in his original mounts. Lindauer was also responsible for organising the Junior Progress League to plant and care for the pohutukawa along The Strand. As one of his pupils said, “…he was marvellous. He did such a lot for Russell. And I don’t think he ever got the credit he should have got really… we thought he marvellous…he was a successful teacher… we had Proficiency in those days and I don’t think he had any failures.” Victor and his wife Elsie had four children: Linty and Peter were both Russell oyster farmers, Claudia still lives here and Rebe supplies a family perspective on the man “behind the brush”.
Sources: Taylor, Lindauer Eds, (1989) Russell School 150 Years of Education in Russell 1839-1989; http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/Party.aspx?irn=2322: http://www.lindaueronline.co.nz/artist/the-artist-gottfried-lindauer