BEATRICE AND SIDNEY WEBB IN 1898 DESCRIBED ADELAIDE – named after a German duchy princess – to be charming like “a German Residenzsdt”. But “German” was a misleading group identity for the 7% of the population, and South Australia’s largest non-British group, in South Australia in the early 20th Century.
South Australian Germans were divided and disunited by culture, class and country of origin. Farmers from Silesia and Brandenburg, missionaries from Dresden, Berlin liberals, Hamburg merchants, Harz Mountains miners or graduates from some of the world’s best universities made up the mix. They brought an array of knowledge and talents that influenced so many fields.
But they spoke a common language and they clung to aspects of traditional German lifestyle.
In early 20th Century Adelaide, German speakers could go through a day without needing English when they shopped, went to the doctor or dentist; read the Australische Zeitung in a konditorei (coffee shop) or dined in the city’s German hotels: the King of Hanover or the Hamburg in Rundle Street.
Their influence was challenged by the World War I, especially, but that influence was ingrained in the state’s culture. Only South Australians knew and liked Carl Linger’s “The Song of Australia”. Only South Australians liked Menz Yo-Yo biscuits – or fritz. Or Berliner (later Kitcheer) buns.
The German wine legacy was entrenched through figures such as Joseph Seppelt. In music, Herman Heinicke (assaulted by students in the anti-German wave of 1914) and Gotthold Reimann were central to Adelaide College of Music and Elder Conservatorium.
German settlers formed strong enclaves in the city and North Adelaide but they also ventured into the rugged regions. Examples were the German missionaries and botanist J. A. Herrgott who discovered Hergott Springs (now Marree) on John McDouall Stuart’s 1859 expedition.
German energy and industry in so many areas grew against underlying cultural resentment reflected in Tom Playford II’s 1868 remark in the House of Assembly to a German-born MP: “I believed the stinkwort came from Germany and was not the only weed that came from that country”. That resentment boiled up before World War I but German influence survived in a new leavened form. all its diversity, to be strong and entrenched enough to survive the war backlash
SILESIAN LUTHERAN REFUGEES, 1848 REVOLUTION POLITICAL MIGRANTS, HARZ MOUNTAIN MINERS
George Fife Angas, a pious Protestant Dissenter, loaned £8000 to pastor August Kavel and 200 of his southern Prussian Lutheran followers, seeking religious freedom, for the charter of four ships to bring them to South Australia. As chairman of the South Australian Company, leading the colony's early development, Angas was anxious to recruit fellow pious Dissenters to the province. and Pastor Kavel’s devout German families were the largest group he attracted. Kavel was pastor in Klepsk (Klemzig) in Prussia, where a bitter struggle rose from the king's attempt in 1817 to unify Lutherans and Calvinists. Kavel, at first, followed the royal decree but found it against his conscience. In 1835, he was sent by his congregation to Hamburg, to seek aid to migrate to America to worship freely. Kavel heard of Angas and went to England. When the South Australian Company refused to cover the cost of transporting Kavel’s group, Angas made a loan to the emigrants for the cost of securing ships. Kavel’s group left on the Prince George in 1838. On arrival, many of them became tenants on Angas’s land at Klemzig, north of Adelaide. Inspired by the German geologist Johannes Menge, Kavel negotiated with Angas’s agent Flaxman for his group to take over a larger area in the Barossa valley. This was land Flaxman had bought with a loan from Angas. Later, in financial strife, Flaxman offered to sell the land to Angas. After refusing at first, Angas bought the valley land – a deal that put him into difficulties that relied on Kavel’s group repaying their loan.
Pastor August Kavel was the inspirational leader who took his Lutheran southern Prussian group from their initial South Australian settlement at Klemzig to the Barossa Valley in 1842. Kavel negotiated with South Australian Company chairman George Fife Angas's agent Charles Flaxman for his group to settle Klemzig, north of Adelaide, in 1838. Named after one of Kavel's German parishes and on land owned by Angas, Klemzig soon proved inadequate for Kavel’s group to fulfil their obligations to Angas, who had loaned the cost of their sea journeys to South Australia, and to provide for themselves. Inspired by German geologist Johannes Menge, Kavel negotiated with Flaxman, for the group to buy a much larger area in the Barossa valley. Flaxman had bought seven special surveys of land in the Barossa Range for £28,000, with a loan from Angas. Back in London and in financial trouble, Flaxman offered the land to Angas, demanding 10% commission and the first pick of 4000 acres. Angas refused at first but, discovering how good it was, took all the land on his own terms in 1840. This purchase forced Angas into an embarrassing selloff of shares. With their valley land bought on a tough deal of £20 an acre with 5% interest, members of the Kavel’s group impressed with their solid sober industry, propelled by a strong religious faith. Langmeil and Bethany were the first German towns, followed by others such as Tanunda, Gnadenfrei, Hoffnungthal, New Mecklenburg, Siegerdor and Neukirch. Crucially, in fragile times for the colony, the German settlers’ loan repayments allowed Angas to recover financially.
Splits between early German Lutherans in South Australia grew from a geographical divide. Pastor Augustus Kavel, who led the first group of Old Lutheran refugees who arrived in 1838 and eventually in the Barossa Valley, came from a poor background in Germany. He tended towards millennial end-of-the-world doctrine. Pastor Gotthard Fritsche, who led the 1842 Lutheran group that founded Lobethal, Bethanien (Bethany) and other villages, looked after “southern” Lutherans including Hahndorf. Fritsche was a respected theologian. He was a respected theologian, who had graduated from Breslau University, Starting with ill feeling over whether Hahndorf men should leave or share in developing the Barossa, a split erupted between Kavel and Fritzsche at the Bethany synod in 1846 over doctrine. The split between Kavel and Fritsche created separate synods (Langmeil-Light Pass and Bethany-Lobethal). This divide extended to Lutheran bodies elsewhere in Australia, with the separate United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia and Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Australia being formed They didn't amalgamate until 1966. Despite differences, Kavel and Fritsche had special qualities. Kavel led his congregations with moral authority. He encouraged early naturalisation and kept his group together in rural work until they prospered. Fritzsche was devoted to education and encouraged music in his congregations. At Lobethal in 1842, he started Australia’s first Lutheran theological seminary.
The Danish three-masted Skjold brought Pastor Gotthard Daniel Fritzsche and more than 200 Lutheran migrants to Adelaide in 1841. But this marked a turning point from German migrants coming for religious reasons towards economic ones. Before returning to Hamburg, the Skjold’s Captain Hans Christian Claussen collected samples of South Australian wheat, barley and oats. They were judged in Germany as being equal – and the oats superior – to any other. This created additional interest among farmers to migrate.The South Australian government, realising the worth of the early hard-working Germans migrants, published information about the colony to be distributed in Germany. In 1850, some earlier settlers formed the German Immigration Society to help and protect newly-arrived migrants.. During the early 1850s, these newcomers included more than 2000 German miners migrated from the Harz Mountains where mining had become costly, and outdated. Many of these men found work in South Australia's copper mines and smelters. The cause for German religious migration dwindled in 1840 with the death of the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III who had restricted the Old Lutherans. But Lutheran religious migrants, mainly from Pastor Fritzsche’s group, were among the first to start villages such as Lobethal, Bethanien (Bethany) and Hoffnungsthal. Lobethal was founded by about 30 families who had 200 acres between them. Another group which had already settled at Hahndorf and Bethany later moved to Moculta.
A CHURCH DIVIDED FROM 19th CENTURY UNTIL 1966 CONTINUES TO MAKE SOLID ADVANCES
The strong Lutheranism of the earliest German South Australian immigrant groups stressed that education without religion was no education at all. This blended with a belief that faith could only be expressed properly in the German language. Thus education was a means to an end: to read the Bible and other faith literature. Almost every Lutheran church had a nearby school. Lutherans, believing that religious schooling had spiritual benefits for children, made attending Sunday school compulsory until the age of 16. But there was also the concern for maintaining the German heritage and community. This self containing of language, religion and culture did have isolating effect. To maintain their independence, most Lutheran schools declined government assistance even to run the larger Hahndorf Academy (T.W. Boehm did accept the funding) and the Deutsche Schule in Wakefield Street, Adelaide. In 1876 and 1883, the South Australian government tried to assert more control over Lutheran schools. But the Lutheran community kept to the view that church and school could not be separated and that it was important to supervise their own schools and appoint their own teachers. A lingering sense of difference came from educating German children separately in their own language. But the Lutherans had come to South Australia for political freedom and a better life. This motivated them to be energetic and loyal participants in its government and institutions. Yet resentment over the German Lutheran cultural difference would ignite passions during World War I.
Four missionaries from the Dresden Mission Society – Christian Teichelmann, Clamor Wilhelm Schurmann, Heinrich Meyer and Samuel Klose – arrived on the same ship as governor George Gawler in 1838. Recommended by Pastor August Kavel, the German missionaries were sponsored by the devout Christian chairman of the South Australian Company, George Fife Angas, to work with the Aboriginals. This mission, abandoned by 1848, had been discounted as a harmful failure – even by the Dresden mission society. Yet the Dresden missionaries may have come closest to finding a way to avoid the disastrous effects on Aboriginals of colonising South Australia. The missionaries faced many obstacles and opposition, not least from the protector of Aboriginals Matthew Moorhouse who doubted that their efforts were worthwhile. Nor did George Fife Angas understand that their approach to Aboriginals was not to civilise – assimilate, Europeanise – but, firstly, to make them Christian within their own culture. Building on Hermann Koeler's ealier work, Schurmann and Teichelmann learnt and documented the Kaurna language. In 1839, they opened a school at Piltawodli (in the west parklands, north of the River Torrens) where Aboriginal children were taught to read and write in Kaurna. They translated the Ten Commandments and some German hymns into Kaurna. They preserved more than 2,000 Kaurna words – pivotal in the modern revival of the language. When the Piltawoldi experiment failed, Teichelmann went his own way and set up another doomed mission: the “Ebenezer” farm south of Adelaide.
The Australian Lutheran College in North Adelaide is at the end of a meandering journey from Pastor Gotthard Fritsche’s small theological college at Lobethal in the early 1850s. The journey was complicated from the doctrinal split between pioneer pastors Kavel (died in 1860) and Fritsche (1863) that led in the 19th Century to the separte Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia and the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia. Australian Lutherans looked from the 1860s for trained pastors from Germany and then, from the 1880s, from the United States of America. A theological seminary for pastors and teachers started in Murtoa, Victoria, in 1892. Pastor J.F. Kunstmann of Concordia Seminary, St Louis, USA, became its professor and next year it became Concordia College and Seminary. In 1921, when five small Lutheran synods combined into the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia, they started the Wartburg Seminary in Tanunda and then North Adelaide as Immanuel Seminary with Immanuel College. When the two main Lutheran churches merged in 1966, Luther Seminary, to train pastors, started on the campus of the former Immanuel Seminary in North Adelaide. In 2004, Luther Seminary was renamed the Australian Lutheran College, as part of Australian higher education. In 2009, Australian Lutheran College became a college of the Melbourne College of Divinity, while keeping its theological, ecclesial and financial independence as the tertiary institution of the Lutheran Church of Australia.
MENGE BROUGHT OUT BY THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN COMPANY AS GEOLOGIST IN 1837
A visionary polymath, with a touch of eccentricity, Johannes Menge was an inspiring figure for early South Australian German settlers. Born in Steinau, Hesse, Germany, in 1788, Menge had little formal education but keenly learnt languages during extended wandering through Europe. Adding to his knowledge of philosophy, medicine and religion, Menge gained an honorary degree of professor of mineralogy from Lubeck University in 1821. After his wife died in 1930, Menge moved to teach languages in London, where he met George Fife Angas, the South Australian Company chairman. Menge arrived on the Coromandel at Kangaroo Island in 1837, taking up Angas’s offer of a job as the company’s mine and quarry agent and geologist. When his eccentricity led to dismissal, “Professor” Menge moved to the South Australian mainland and had a major impact of the minerals search, while engaging many other interests. Menge guided German immigrants to settle in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley (“New Silesia”). Menge inspired Pastor August Kavel to take on a much larger section (11,200 ha) of Angas’s land in the valley for a German settlement. Menge lived for a while in the valley in a cave on the banks of Jacob’s Creek's junction with North Para River. He diverted the creek’s flow to create an island where he grew vegetables. Menge had visions for higher education. When governor George Grey and his wife wanted Menge to teach them the Hebrew language, he refused because the governor wouldn't establish a school of mines and industries. Menge was among the first Germans granted British citizenship, after a delay of eight years, in 1847, when Germans in South Australia gained their own newspaper, Die Deutsche Post, edited by Menge.
Johannes Menge has been dubbed the father of Australian mineralogy exploration. Although Thomas Burr has been credited with making the first scientific study of South Australia’s geology, it was Menge’s enthusiasm that encouraged South Australia to be explored for minerals as well as wider settlement. Shrugging off his short-lived (1837-8) employment on Kangaroo Island as the South Australian Company’s mine and quarry agent and geologist, Menge went to the mainland to explore an area from Mount Remarkable to Cape Jervis. By the end of 1840, Menge had collected more than 200 mineral specimens and, in 1841, his booklet, The Mineral Kingdom of South Australia was printed. Some of his first discoveries were the copper in the Adelaide Hills and opal – possibly an Australian first – at Angaston. On his recommendation, George Fife Angas bought what Menge called New Silesia, which “would become the first mining country in all Australia”. The area became the Barossa Valley, now world famous for wine. Menge applied several times to be government geologist but the governor wasn't interested, nor did the colony have the money. Menge’s exploits opened the way for that money by encouraging the discovery that led to a mining boom after the 1845 discovery of the Burra Burra copper that saved the fledgling colony. Before that, in 1842, was the first large metal find: Kapunda copper. The mine was formally opened in 1844 by Menge, who found more copper nearby. In 1852, Menge, at 63, walked to the Victorian goldfields where he died exhausted and ill in winter near Bendigo.
Carl Zaccharie was heading a group of German miners operating the Wheal Gawler mine at Glen Osmond by 1850 – in addition to the 80 from Harz Mountains working at Burra copper mine by 1851. Zaccharie was part of the influx of German geological expertise into South Australia after the discovery of copper in the 1840s. His geological report, originally written in German and published in the local German-language newspaper, was later translated and published in the English press.). He also dis a report on on the Burra copper mine and the associated mineralisation. In 1851, “Herr Zachariae” was also named as scientific superintendent of the Lobethal Union Mining Company. Other Germans working in South Australian mining and geology at that time included Gustav A.H. Thureau and J. Wilhelm T.L. von Blandowski, along with Dr Ferdinand von Sommer who was employed at Burra to make drawings of the mining field. In 1848, Dr Georg Bruhn was advertising his services as a mineralogist, geologist, miner and chemist in Adelaide. He published his views on the (later confirmed) possibilities of coal being found in South Australia and he sourced local finance to explore for deposits. Ironically, George Bruhn was among the German experts who went to other colonies (von Sommer to Western Australia) to make discoveries that brought South Australian mining to a halt. This is particularly so with Bruhn who discovered gold in Victoria in 1852.
Georg Bruhn arrived in Adelaide, in 1847, with a treasury of talents. Born in Heide, Dithmarschen, he'd studied music in the family tradition and examples of his detailed paintings and sketches are at Australian galleries. Although he practised medicine effectively from arrival in Adelaide, no records of qualifications have been found but he had a good knowledge of chemistry. Bruhn graduated with philosophy doctrorate from the University of Jena in 1840. These studies included geology and chemistry and he was also a technical director for a coal-test plant at Rosswein. In 1842, he published a short textbook on the need for farmers to have scientific knowledge to improve their techniques. This was used at an agricultural school in Saxony where Bruhn taught in the 1840s. Bruhn perhaps left Germany to avoid the 1848 revolution but his interest in geology fitted South Australia’s mining boom. Initially the family settled in Rundle Street, Adelaide, and Bruhn in 1848 advertised as “Mineralogist, geologist, miner and chemist [available for] examining mineral lands and searching for ores [and] conducting assays and chemical analyses”. That year, Bruhn gave public lectures at the library and mechanics institute on mineralogy and geology. These were to advertise his services and raise money for mineral explorations. Subscriptions of £5 each were sought for an expedition to search for much-needed coal. By November, he’d raised £155 to start geological surveys with four other men and a horse and cart. Bruhn pushing into the semi-arid north. Heat and bad roads forced the group to return in 1849 but Bruhn was still convinced coal could be found and intended to make another expedition. In the meantime, he went to Victoria on a mineral search that changed Australian history when he found gold in 1851.
Charles Rasp (real name: Hieronymous Salvator Lopez von Pereira) was born in Saxony in 1846 but from Portuguese ancestors who changed their name and were being pursued by the financier Rothschild. After a first-class German education, Rasp worked for a chemical plant in Hamburg before joining the army. During the Franco-Prussian war, he left for Australia. From the 1870s, he worked on pastoral properties in Victoria, NSW and Queensland when gold and silver discoveries were made, including Silverton. Rasp always carried his Prospector’s Guide, bought in Adelaide. Believing he’d discovered an outcrop of tin, Rasp, James Poole and David James pegged out a mineral claim at Broken Hill in 1883. Rasp was in a syndicate of seven, each contributing £70, that formed Broken Hill Proprietary in 1885. It became the world’s largest lead, silver and zinc mine – with its mineral smelted at one of South Australia’s first big industrial plants at Port Pirie. In 1886, Rasp married German-born Adelaide waitress Agnes Marie Louise Kleversahl. Rasp bought, and enlarged by 12 rooms, a Medindie house they named Willyama, the Aboriginal name for Broken Hill. Rasp died in 1907. Wife Agnes and servant Anna Paech left to live in London and Germany. When she returned to Adelaide in 1921, Agnes, considered an enemy alien, had all her property and shares confiscated under the Enemy Property Act. It was returned only through a special act of federal parliament, sponsored by Billy Hughes
CARL MUECKE, MARTIN BASEDOW, ULRICH HUBBE, ADOLPH VON TREUER, ADOLPH LESCHEN & OTHERS
Heinrich Adolph Leschen, father of gymnastics in South Australia, was influenced by the ideas of the Friedrich Jahn while attending the University of Kiel, Schleswig. Leschen trained as a schoolteacher and belonged to a gymnastics group. Migrating in 1857, he first tried farming, then started the German School in Wakefield Street, Adelaide, and was employed at the Adelaide Gymnasium in King William Street, Adelaide, teaching German gymnastics, In 1864, he set up a Deutschen Turnverein (gymnastics club) in Flinders Street, Adelaide, attracting influential men such as chief justice Samuel Way. When Way joined the state education board in 1874, he argued for gymnastics to be part of South Australian schools. This led to Leschen teaching gymnastics in South Australian model schools, 1881-84, and demonstrating it in state schools and private colleges to encourage physical education. Leschen’s popular annual displays of mass gymnastics at the Jubilee Exhibition Building, North Terrace, Adelaide, encouraged belief in combining character-building English sports with systematic European gymnastics. Employed as gymnastics and German master at St Peter's college in 1879-91, Leschen also was part-time teacher at Prince Alfred College, 1881-92. Both colleges built gymnasiums—replicas of the model turnhalle of the Adelaide Turnverein. Leschen and third son Hugo, who studied gymnastics in Germany, pioneered medical massage (physiotherapy) in South Australia in the 1890s, working closely at Adelaide Hospital with anatomy professor Archibald Watson.
'SONG OF AUSTRALIA' COMPOSER CARL LINGER AND OTHERS ARRIVE AFTER 1848 REVOLUTION
Carl Linger, an intellectual refugees from the 1848 German liberals' revolution, wrote the melody for the patriotic “The Song of Australia” in 1859. Linger, who had studied at the Institute of Music in Berlin, came to South Australia in 1849 on the Princess Luise. He settled in Gawler, grew potatoes and went broke but had much more success in Adelaide where he won access to the wealthiest families as a music teacher. He was the founder and conductor of the German Liedertafel in 1858 and composed church music, including the “Ninety-third Psalm” and “Vater unser”. He conducted Adelaide's first philharmonic orchestra and its first performance of Handel's Messiah in 1859. He often visited the Lutheran pastor Gotthard Fritzsche at Lobethal to attend his choir rehearsals. Linger was active in most of the musical and choral societies. For several years, he played the harmonium at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral. Caroline Carleton’s “The Song of Australia” poem won a contest at Gawler Institute. Next phase was a contest to compose the song for the poem and lodge it in a week. Of the 23 entries, Linger's tune won. “The Song of Australia” was a candidates for national anthem in the 1977 plebiscite. It was clear favourite only in South Australia.
Carl (Charles) Puttmann rose to eminence in 19th Century Adelaide as music teacher and composer. He was the Cologne-born son of Hermann Puttman, a literary staff member of Cologne Gazette, who was forced by civil unrest in 1848-49 to emigrate to England and then Melbourne where he was a prominent contributor to local German newspapers. Carl Puttmann studied violin under the best Victorian teachers, and by 1858 was playing professionally. He accompanied the Lyster Opera Company on its first grand tour of New Zealand and Australia. During that tour in 1863, he decided to stay in Adelaide as a music and singing teacher. In 1865, he married a daughter of the Rev. Dr. Loessel, and in 1866 became conductor of the Adelaide Liedertafel, a post he held for 20 years. The society’s first performance under his baton was also the first amateur opera in Adelaide: Die Mordgrundbruck bei Dresden at the Theatre Royal in 1868. Putmann also gained repute as a composer. His Victorian Cantata was written for the Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition of 1887. It opened with variations on Carl Linger’s “The Song of Australia” and ended with a fuge on “God Save the Queen”. Puttmann taught music at St Peter’s College, Prince Alfred College and Christian Brothers’ College and a private practice. Puttmann died after a horse carriage accident coming back from Belair national park in 1898. The Liedertafel sang at his Mitcham cemetery grave the chorus that Puttmann had taught them years before: “Es ist bestimmt Gottes Rath” by Ernst Freiherr von Feuchtersleben.
Hahndorf-born Immanuel Gotthold (I.G.) Reimann became central to starting South Australian serious musical life. He was born in 1859 near Hahndorf, from parents who were also part of migration after the 1848 revolution. At 14, he went to Adelaide to become a schoolteacher but a throat ailment forced a switch to a musical career. He studied the piano with Otto Stange. In 1875, Gotthold became music master at the Hahndorf Academy. Two years later he worked as a music teacher in Adelaide. Acting on his father's last wish, he completed his musical education from 1880 in Berlin at the pianist Theodor Kullak's renowned Neue Akademie der Tonkunst and at the Scharwenka Konservatorium. With his diplomas, he returned to Adelaide and, in 1883, founded the Adelaide College of Music. From 1890, Reimann brought Helpmann Heinicke, Otto Fischer and Hermann Kugelberg from Germany as teachers. The college won repute and by 1896 attracted 250 students. When Thomas Elder’s bequest enabled a public conservatorium to be founded in 1898, Reimann's college was informally incorporated and his teachers and pupils transferred to the Elder Conservatorium of Music without compensation. For 30 years, as the conservatorium's piano teacher, eventually assistant director, he helped shape Adelaide University music curriculum. He became honorary pianist and director of the Adelaide String Quartet Club and Adelaide chamber music concerts – though not during World War I. Reimann was elected first president of the Musical Association of South Australia in 1930.
August Moritz Hermann Heinicke was brought out from Germany in 1890 as violin teacher at the Adelaide College of Music by its directors Gotthold Reimann and Cecil Sharp. Heinecke was acclaimed soon as Adelaide's premier violinist and violin teacher. When the Elder Conservatorium of Music opened at Adelaide University in 1898, the college closed and Heinicke became a senior conservatorium teacher. His other major impact in the 1890s was as a conductor. Charles Cawthorne’s Adelaide Orchestra in 1893 became Heinicke's Grand Orchestra, with 45 players; soon the most popular of the musical groups. In 1898, his group became the Conservatorium Grand Orchestra, including students and amateurs, but university regulations prevented his continuing as conductor when it became the Adelaide Grand Orchestra. Heinicke continued to conduct a depleted conservatorium orchestra until 1910. Next year, he reformed his Grand Orchestra that survived until 1914. In 1890, Heinicke had proposed a United German Gentlemen's Singing Society. Sixty-four men formed the new Adelaide Liedertafel that Heinicke conducted successfully until World War I. Heinecke also played in the one-year (1891) revival of the Adelaide String Quartet Club. In 1914, with strong anti-German feelings affecting Adelaide, nine university students, who felt that Heinicke “had attempted to affront British sentiment at a public concert” assaulted him and painted the union jack on his bald head. Heinicke accepted their apology and declined to have them punished. He resigned from the conservatorium in 1916.
Lobethal-born dramtic contralto with a three-octave range, Clara Serena built an international opera career at Covent Garden, London, and beyond in the 1920s/30s. Daughter of Hermann and Ida Kleinschmidt, Serena was 14 when pastoralist Peter Waite set up the Serena Trust for her education, including tuition with Guli Hack at Elder Conservatorium. Waite's daughter Elizabeth became her friend and chaperone when Serena won a scholarship in 1908 to the Royal College of Music, London. where J. H. Blower and Albert Visetti were her teachers. She qualified in 1911 with a diploma with credit, and after more study in Italy and Germany, she took the name Clara Serena. She upset Peter Waite when she married her accompanist Albert Roy Mellish in 1917. Waite forbad his children any contact with Serena but was disobeyed by his daughter Elizabeth MacMeikan who, when she died in 1931, left a generous annuity to Clara. In 1922, she made her operatic début in London. She created the title role in Rutland Boughton's Alkestis at Covent Garden and in 1926 appeared in Vienna, Berlin and Paris. During Covent Garden 1928, 1929 and 1931 seasons, her roles included Amneris, Delilah, Erda and Waltraute. She joined the British National Opera in 1937 and worked with conductors including Thomas Beecham, Henry Wood, Adrian Boult and John Barbirolli. In 1939, an American tour was foiled by World War II and she returned to Adelaide in 1951. During her career, she was befriended by other Australian singers Nellie Melba and Ada Crossley.
Brenton Langbein, another South Australian violin prodigy who started studies at five, gave his first recital in Tanunda Town Hall at eight. Born at Gawler in 1928 to German/Scottish parents, he won a scholarship to the Elder Conservatorium at 11, studied under Ludwig Schwab and started playing with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at 14. In 1948, at 20, Brenton joined Sydney Symphony Orchestra and became a solo performer, while studying composition under Eugene Goosens. He moved to Europe in 1951 to study in Switzerland and Vienna and with cellist Pablo Casals. In 1953, he settled in Zurich and led Paul Sacher's Collegium Musicum Chamber Orchestra. Appointed violin professor at Basel Academy, he formed an acclaimed duo with Australian pianist Maureen Jones and a trio with Jones and horn player Barry Tuckwell. Langbein founded and led the renowned Die Kammermusiker Zurich that performed in Europe, England, America and Australia. He started youth orchestra schools in Zurich and Basel and was musical director of Zurich Opera Factory. He played and conducted in Australia and was musical director of Adelaide Chamber Orchestra. He died in Zurich in 1993 and is buried at Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley where the auditorium of Tanunda arts and convention centre carries his name.
AURICHT, FIELDER, GRAMP AND SEPPELT IMPORTANT EARLY PLAYERS IN BAROSSA WINE
Bavarian-born Johann Gramp founded what became Orlando Wines near Jacob’s Creek in the Barossa Valley in 1847. Gramp migrated from Hamburg on the Solway, arriving in Kingscote in 1837 and he working for the South Australian Company on Kangaroo island until 1839. After switching to farming at Yatala, he moved in 1847 to the Barossa Valley and Jacob’s Creek. Three years later, he produced an octave of wine: a hock later known as Carte Blanche. He was elected to Barossa East District Council in 1860s and became its chairman. His son Gustav took over the vineyard in 1903 until it was inherited by his grandson Hugo. It stayed in the Gramp family until the 1970s, when it was bought by Reckitt and Colman and then by Pernod Richard. The now-famous Jacob’s Creek was named by Colonel William Light after one of the Jacobs brothers (William, assistant surveyor to Light). The creek In the early 1840s was briefly home to Johann Menge, South Australia's first geologist, who lived for some time on an island and in nearby cave.
Joseph Ernest Seppelt, a tobacco, snuff and liqueur merchant, emigrated with his family from Prussia to Australia in 1849 to escape political and economic unrest. He moved to the Barossa Valley in 1851 after finding Klemzig unsuitable for his aim to grow and sell tobacco. Seppelt bought 64ha that he called Seppeltsfield but it also wasn’t right for tobacco. But Seppelt did grow wheat and sold it at high prices due to demand during the 1850s gold rush. Knowing liqueurs from his merchant days, Seppelt saw potential for wine. The vines he planted flourished and were entered at the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition in 1866. By 1867, Joseph had a full-scale winery and, by 1878, a port store cellar. When Joseph died in 1868, his eldest son Oscar Benno Pedro Seppelt, at 21, inherited a 55% share and bought out his younger siblings. Benno helped earn the winery a reputation for quality. By 1900, the Seppelt Winery was Australia's largest and a Barossa icon, producing two million litres annually.
(Oscar) Benno Seppelt, who built Seppeltsfield into Australia’s largest winery, was educated at Tanunda school. His interest in science was stimulated by chemistry classes from Carl Meucke, who also gave lectures on agricultural chemistry to Tanunda Vintners & Gardeners Association. Determined, with natural ability, Benno succeeded father Joseph in managing the company in 1870. He expanded the family business (he had 13 surviving children), helped by wife Sophie Schroeder. They extended their responsibility to employees and grape growers and the community. Benno was generous with his wine knowledge. Oscar Benno Seppelt II, the eldest of his sons (the daughters were excluded from the business), was educated at Prince Alfred College and the Royal Viticultural Research Institute in Vienna. He became chairman of directors after his father died in 1931. As Oscar Benno II had no children, the chairmanship passed to brothers Leo Renato (1939) and then Udo Waldemar and son Robert. After a share market struggle, B. Seppelt and Sons was taken over by SA Brewing Company in 1985.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Lindrum is another extraordinary story of German multi talent. Lindrum, a young Prussian student of philosophy, arrived in South Australia on the Princess Louise in 1849, and set himself up as vigneron in Norwood. This would lead to him becoming one of the great winemaking pioneers by being Australia’s first gold medal winner for wine at the London International Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1873 and, by invitation of the French, he became Australia's first international brandy judge at the Paris Exhibition, 1874. But Lindrum had already achieved global fame in a completely different field. As an accomplished billiards player, Lindrum was selected to play against “the world’s supreme master”: the English champion John Roberts Snr. Lindrum won. The Lindrum family dispersed interstate and overseas but the expertise in billiards and snooker recurred with five world-class champions, including Horace and Walter, in the next four generations and it dominated cue sports for 105 years. Clara Lindrum, a granddaughter of the original Lindrum, also played billiards but could never test her talent, due to lack of female competition. She proved herself in another completely different field: by forming Australia’s first Dixieland band in 1922. Over the years, branches of the family have maintained an interest in wines, including some sourced from Langhorne Creek.
The Wolf Blass whirlwind of energy, innovation and fun hit the Barossa Valley wine industry in 1961. Born in Stadtilm, East Germany, Wolf Blass, a young German winemaker with a kellermeister diploma from Wurzburg Wine University, was working in England, when he received on offer from Kaiser Stuhl/ Barossa Valley Co-operative to create sparkling wines to compete with Orlando’s Barossa Pearl. Blass spent three years with the cooperative whose cash-strapped state encouraged innovation. Blass also brought fun to the valley with the Horse and Herring Club, a casual gathering that broke down the taboo against local winemakers mixing socially. Moving to Thebarton, Blass became a freelance technical advisor, converting companies “from port and sweet wines into table wines”. The wine he made for others was noticed by judges and critics. Blass created 2500 bottles of his own wine in 1966: a blend of Victorian Great Western Malbec with Langhorne Crek shiraz grapes, bought with a loan from Brian Linke. In 1969, Blass became manager and chief winemaker at Tolley Scott and Tolley. When forced, Blass chose to continue making his own wine in an “old army shed” on the Sturt Highway with grape growers and colleagues such as Bob Cundy and "Darkie" Liebich from Rovally Wines who bottled the “first big” vintage, in 1967, free of charge – in return for Blass making him Charmane that became Australia's No.1 sparkling. He began Wolf Blass Wines International in 1973 and, with winemaker John Glaetzer on board, four Jimmy Watson trophies added to the company’s dizzying global growth.
ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDEN TRANSFORMED FROM 'STERILE WASTE' AFTER 1865
FROM BEES TO WINE TO AIRCRAFT ENGINEERING
August Fiebig contributed musically to South Australia as a double bass player in 19th Century orchestras and as violin maker. But his claim to fame is as a bee keeper. A.E. Bonney, secretary of the South Australian Beekeepers Association, urged that Ligurian bees be imported and protected on Kangaroo Island. Whether Fiebig introduced the Ligurians isn't confirmed but he conserved the genetic heritage of the breed in his hives and sent the first batch to the island in 1887.
Carl Wilhelm “Bill” Wittber achieved two big feats: piloting Australia's first flight and building its first plane engine. When businessman Fred Jones imported a kit monoplane in 1910, he employed Wittber to supervise its assembly. When Wittber did the first taxiing trials, the aircraft rose and travelled for about 40 yards. Wittber later built his own plane, including a six-cylinder radial engine but this ended with a government ban on civilian flying. Disgusted, Wittber burnt his plane.
ESTABLISHING STRONG PRESENCE IN ADELAIDE CITY IN SECOND HALF OF 19th CENTURY
The Menz biscuit story started in 1850 at a small Wakefield Street grocery shop/ bakery run by John Menz and his wife Magdalena who arrived in Adelaide from Hamburg on the Steinwaerder the year before. When John, a qualified architect, died in 1856, Magdalena ran the store until one of her two sons, William, became one of Adelaide’s first biscuit makers and in 1867 took control of the small company. In 1885, W. Menz and Co. built a plant to increase biscuit production and in 1893 expanded into making confectionary. During 1910, it grew again to produce more chocolate under the name Menzona. Over the next 30 years, it increased production and introduced new products, including the honey-flavoured Yo-Yo biscuits, in 1932. As a public company in 1951, the company kept expanding in a bigger Marleston factory with its Yo-Yos, Crown Mints (1892) and FruChocs (1948) now South Australian icons. By the mid-1960s, after takeovers and mergers, W. Menz & Co amalgamated to form Arnott-Motteram-Menz. Arnott’s took over total biscuit and confectionery production and was eventually sold in 1992 to the Sims family’s South Australian dried and confectionary Robern Dried Fruits, later to become Robern Menz of Glynde. The former Menz products are still being produced today but Arnotts removed Yo-Yos from their family assorted packets in 1997 because they were not popular enough Australia wide. Menz FruChocs was declared an official icon of South Australia by the National Trust in 2005.
BAN ON GERMAN LANGUAGE AND CHURCH SERVICES
The Beehive Corner and its Haigh’s chocolate store is a reminder of the anti-German feeling during World War I. The shop was originally opened as a chocolate and confectionery shop by Carl Stratmann in 1913. Stratmann was trained as a confectioner and pastrycook,with an apprecticeship under masters. He'd worked in Berlin, Copenhagen and London. His Adelaide Beehive Shop venture was dashed by outbreak of World War I and he sold the business to Alf Haigh.
EXPLORING AND PROMOTING DEEPEST STRANDS OF AUSTRALIAN CULTURE IN EARLY 20th CENTURY
Theodor (Ted) Strehlow, born in 1908 at Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission in the Northern Territory, became one of the foremost 20th Century authorities on Aboriginal culture and language. Youngest oungest of six children, Strehlow was left at Hermansburg in 1910-11 while his missionary father Carl and rest of the family visited Germany. Young Theodor made friends with Western Arrernte children, learning their language. Strehlow was schooled through his father's strict instruction in Greek, Latin, music and scripture. Stehlow attended Immanuel College until 1927, then studied classics and English literature at Adelaide University. Aware of Theodor's unique ability as an Arrernte-speaking classicist, professor J. A. FitzHerbert trained Strehlow in phonetics and backed his Australian National Research Council grant to study the Arrernte language. Strehlow returned to Central Australia in 1932. He intensively surveyed Arrernte dialects, travelling by camel. Strehlow's project widened to include Aboriginal "literature, history and antiquities, religion & philosophy". In 1935, Strehlow was appointed patrol officer in Central Australia, the first full-time federal public servant dedicated to Aboriginal affairs. Among books he wrote in the 1950s was Songs of Central Australia, combining Greek and Norse mythological analogies into his own and his father's research into Arrernte sacred verse and totemic geography. Strehlow’s later life in Adelaide was marred by estrangment from many supporters and a controversy over handling of Arrente cultural items entrusted to him.
GERMAN TRADITIONS SIT COMFORTABLY IN THE STATE
Support for National Socialism in the Barossa Valley around World War II did arise through individuals, such as Johannes Heinrich Becker, and some Lutheran pastors. Becker, a German World War I veteran who later worked as a ship's doctor, settled in Tanunda in 1927. He became a Nazi Party member in 1932 and persuaded a small local group to join. But party membership excluded most South Australian Germans who were naturalised. And, while they remained strong culturally, local Germans – in all their diversity – showed a commitment to South Australia in many ways, including joining the Australian forces. So, although Becker, through his links with the Nazis in Germany, had the resources to even take control of the German Club in Adelaide in the 1930s, a backlash led to him being deported. (His son Heini later became a state member of parliament.) Of about 20,000 native-born Germans at the outbreak of World War II, only 21 were interned. Most of them were German nationals who had arrived since 1923. So the pockets of support for Hitler, and this included some Lutheran pastors, were more than balanced by the South Australian Germans who, despite the traumas of the World War I experiences, joined the Australian forces in World War II. Among them was Paul Gotthilf Pfieffer, linguist, translator, university tutor and poet. Pfeiffer didn't come back. He died after his plane crashed.
The German Club, a cultural bastion and reminder of the strong 19th Century German presence in Adelaide city and North Adelaide, left its Flinders Street home in 2019. The club grew out the South Australian German Association, set up in 1886, and moved into a former house in Flinders Street, Adelaide, in 1913. A previous German club had been in Pirie Street (later the Salvation Army’s People’s Palace). The club served German food, hosted social events and organised the Oktoberfest and Shutzenfest. The club was hit by a poor attendance at the 2014 Schutzenfest in Bonython Park. It also failed to get $150,000 from the federal government towards a $350,000 alterations, including an alfresco dining area and a new German aged welfare office. Besides Lutheran churches in Wakefield and Flinders streets, hotels were Adelaide gathering places for 19th Century Germans. The Woodmans Inn (now Producers) in Grenfell Street was associated with German horticulturalists from the Hills who brought produce to the East End Market. Heinrich Wilhelm Emcke, who ran the Tivoli Hotel for many years, also had a woodyard in Hindmarsh Square. Ludwig Dreyer and his family were associated with the Prince Alfred Hotel in Wright Street for 124 years until 1976. Another German pub, the old Black Eagle (later Aurora), was demolished in 1983. One of the earliest German communities was in lower North Adelaide, in and around Stanley and Sussex streets, known as Chichester Gardens.
Barossa Valley is a blending of British and German. Tanunda is the most German of the three main towns, with traditions dating back to the 1840s and called the valley “New Silesia” when the first German settlers arrived in the area. Angaston is considered the English town, settled mainly by Cornish miners. The third (and largest) town, Nurioopta, was influenced by German and British settlers and is the commercial hub of the valley. Tanunda and Angaston are the tourist towns, centres around the strong culture of wine, food and festivals. In 2011, that special legislation was brought in to protect the heritage of the Barossa Valley and plans for growth are still resisted. The valley has evolved its own German dialect and some towns have more than one Lutheran church. Tanunda, has Langmeil, St. Paul's, Tabor and St. John's. Nuriootpa has St. Petri and Holy Trinity. Angaston has Zion and Salem (Penrice). Each major town also has a Lutheran primary school. The success of the wine industry has historically been celebrated every two years with a week-long Barossa Valley Vintage Festival. Significant food production also happens in the valley. The Herbig Family Tree still stands today beside Angaston Road, Springton, as testament to hardiness of German settlers in the Barossa Valley. The large gum tree is on land leased by Johann Friedrich Herbig from George Fife Angas in 1856. To save money, Herbig lived in the tree before and after he married Anna Caroline Rattey. They only moved out after having their second son in 1860. The eventually had 16 children.