Source: Domela Nieuwenhuis Museum Heerenveen

Ferdinand Jacobus Domela Nieuwenhuis Jr., born on February 12, 1871, in Harlingen, Friesland, was the son of Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis and Johanna Lulofs. His father, Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, was a prominent socialist figure in the Netherlands and served as the country’s first elected socialist Member of Parliament.

Ferdinand Jr. seems to have adopted the practice of dropping the “Nieuwenhuis” part of his name when he moved to Perth, Western Australia in 1891. This might have been a personal choice or perhaps to distinguish himself from his father’s legacy, as he pursued his own path.

Source: West Australian Saturday 27 May 1893, page 4 (Trove)

In 1893, Ferdinand Jr. married Mary Emily (Nettle) Matters on May 22. The wedding took place at the residence of W. Patterson, M.L.A., in Whitby Falls, Serpentine, Western Australia. It’s noted that Ferdinand Jr. traveled to Western Australia with fellow socialist Willem Siebenhaar, who served as the Best Man at his wedding. This indicates Ferdinand Jr.’s continued involvement or interest in socialist circles, possibly influenced by his upbringing.

Emily was one of the first female journalists in WA and she wrote a woman’s column for a Perth Newspaper.

Ferdinand Jr. and Mary Emily had a daughter named Emilie Johanna (Topsy) Domela, who later became Emilie Johanna Herbert. She was an accomplished pianist.

Wrong investments and gambling – mainly from money received from his family – led to his bankruptcy and the break up of his marriage. He escaped to South Africa where he became a police constable and later a teacher, He passed away in Reitfontein at the relatively young age of 40 on July 17, 1911.

There is more extensive information on him in the book A Touch of Dutch.