A Musical Match Made in Heaven
Vera Grayson, whose mother was Martha Saal of Spring Creek, Clifton, was born in Warwick in 1889. With her parents she travelled to Perth, Western Australia, in 1902 and undertook schooling there. She was a talented young woman and assisted her father in his surveying practice working in mathematics and the Euclid method. Vera had a definite love and natural talent for music, so much so that her father was advised to send Vera for further musical tuition to what was akin to a Conservatorium of Music, with the express purpose of studying under Carl von Vedel – a musician of the highest order who had recently migrated from Germany. Vera thrived under his professional tuition and in a very short time was accompanying Carl in violin recitals, and she also became an accomplished pianist.
Carl Alfred Albert Theodore von Vedel was born in the Black Forest Hartz Mountains of Germany, the son of Theodore Afred von Vedel and Elizabeth Antoine nee von Bambard, a member of a German aristocratic family.
It was almost inevitable that these two handsome and talented people should fall in love, and for a short time during the early summer of 1907 in Perth, their cup of joy runneth over. Carl was naturalized as an Australian citizen on January 25th 1907. He had an uncanny gift of prophesy, and once saw a vision of a steel rimmed wheel running over and crushing a gold ring. This actually happened later when Vera’s father was tossed off a coach and the wheel ran over his hand. After her father’s death, Vera and Carl were married quietly at the Perth District Registrars Office in 1907. The family then returned to Warwick to live in the lovely sandstone family house in Albion Street – ‘Saint Est’. People would line the footpath just to listen to the wonderful music that filled the long summer evenings. In musical circles of the day Carl and Vera von Vedel were household names and the couple performed far and wide. Many a child was taught the piano or violin by the ‘Von’, and he inaugurated the first brass bands in both Warwick and Goondiwindi.
Carl and Vera had seven wonderful years together and had a daughter and a son.
Like many young people at the time, the First World War was to shatter their dreams, but their music was long remembered. Carl envisaged no peace in Australia and departed for Germany around 1914, but was not welcomed there as he protested against the brutalities inflicted by the German Army, and whilst in prison suffered inhumane treatment.
Later he married a German fraulein and they were deported to England, where he was again imprisoned and died at Norwich in November 1952. The fate of Vera was also tragic. Vera had to make ends meet with her family in Australia and for a time was a nurse at the Brisbane Asylum. For the middle and latter part of her life she suffered severe pain and sickness and was confined to a wheelchair for many years. Vera died at Eventide Home at Sandgate in 1955.
(excerpt from Saal Family History, produced by Noel Saal)