The Deutsche Schule in Wakefield Street, Adelaide, in 1864, with staff and students preparing for the annual parade and games. 
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia

IN ALL ITS DIVERSITY, strong enough to
survive the backlash during World War I 


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 



including political, economic refugees from different countries

Prussian settlers come to South Australia with German royal names for city and its main street

Symbolically, South Australia offered familiarity for its German settlers in the 19th Century. South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide, was named after Amalie Adelheid (later Anglicised to Adelaide) Louise Therese Caroline, daughter of the duke of Saxe-Meiningen, a small German principality. In 1818, she married the William, third son of King George III, third British monarch from the German House of Hanover. In 1830, William (IV) was crowned fifth monarch from that house, becoming king of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover. He is honoured by the name of Adelaide city’s main street. Hanover and Saxe-Meiningen were among 39 German states in a weak federation from 1815. The first big group of German settlers to South Australia, 1838-41, led by Lutheran pastors August Kavel and Gotthard Daniel Fritzsche, were rebels against the king of another German principality, Prussia, trying to unite Lutherans and Calvinists. Those first German refugees had common cause with the British Protestant Dissenters, who were seeking freedom of belief and opportunity from the rule of the British establishment and its church. Their discontent continued, even after Britain’s Great Reform Bill passed in 1832. Queen Adelaide, who opposed those reforms, gained public sympathy for her effect on William and her generosity to charities – countering the press’s negative emphasis on her German origins. Adelaide was the only place to escape the South Australia’s nomenclature committee’s purge of German names (Hahndorf to Ambleside, Lobethal to Tweedale, Klemzig to Gaza) during World War I.

George Fife Angas loans Pastor August Kavel's group the cost of ships' trip to South Australia

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 leads his Lutheran flock from Klemzig into the Barossa Valley in 1842

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.


The kindness of Captain Kirk Hahn leads way to oldest German town in Australia in the Hills

The name Hahndorf, for Australia’s oldest German township, honours the kindness and care of sea captain Dirk Meinertz Hahn for the 197 Old Lutheran refugees from Silesia and Brandenburg he brought on the three-month journey to South Australia in 1838-39. The 35 families on Hahn’s ship, the Zebra, were the second group of Old Lutherans to arrive in South Australia, following Pastor August Kavel’s group on the Prince George in 1838. Hahn, a Dane, who had gone to sea, according to his father’s wishes, instead of studying theology, empathised with his “very religious” Zebra passengers. Surviving a typhus outbreak and Cape of Good Hope storm that shredded the sails, the Zebra reached Holdfast Bay on December 28 1838, but due to low water, didn’t reach Port Adelaide (Port Misery) until January 2, 1839. Hahn was deeply concerned about his passengers and became their spokesman as he tried to get them a lease on land near Port Adelaide. By chance, Hahn met William Dutton, who spoke German fluently. Dutton offered the emigrants 100 acres near Mount Barker owned by himself and others. Hahn  found the view of the land from Mount Barker “wonderfully beautiful”. Hahn left Adelaide in February 1839, after his group began settling in at the site. He never returned. The village they named Hahndorf was set out on old Prussian pattern, with a centre road and equal-size farmlets on either side. The settlers survived a harsh first winter but determinedly tilled fields and built stone houses, with their first church established by 1840. A plaque to Captain Hahn was unveiled in 1982.

Theologian pastor Daniel Fritsche encourages education and music at Lobethal

Pastor Daniel Fritsche led out the third group of Old Lutheran refugees to South Australia who started the Lobethal settlement. Fritzsche, son of the town musician, went from his Liebenwerda, Saxony to the Dresden Gymnasium and then studied theology at Breslau University. Graduating in 1823, he taught a school for Jewish children, and was ordained in 1835. When Fritsche renounced the state church he became an itinerant pastor, narrowly escaping being arrested several times. In 1840, Fritsche went to Hamburg where he was invited to be pastor for 250 Lutherans waiting to emigrate to Australia. After difficulties with money, ships and delays in Hamburg, the 250 migrants embarked in 1841 on the Skjold for South Australia. The voyage saw more than a fifth of the party die. Arriving in 1842, Fritsche’s group headed at first to Hahndorf but heard about good land in the upper Onkaparinga. They gave Johann Freidrich Krummnow, who’d had arrived in South Australia three years earlier and was a naturalised English citizen, funds for buy land for the community. Krummnow wanted the settlement based on his own principles of shared property and fervent prayer. The settlers at Lobethal (meaning “Valley of praise”) rejected Krummnow's vision and disputed his right to the land titles. In 1845, St John's, now the oldest Lutheran church in Australia, was built. Fritsche was devoted to the cause of education. At Lobethal, he started in 1842 the first Lutheran theological seminary in Australia. An excellent musician, he encouraged music in his congregations.

Pastor Kavel's group in Barossa splits from Fritsche's Lutherans in Lobethal and Hahndorf

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. 



Harz Mountains miners, farmers in 1850s wave of German immigration to South Australian colony

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.


Schomburgk, Muecke, Linger, Buring among refugees from 1848 German revolution

A third element in German migration to South Australia came after the failed 1848 social revolution in Germany. Liberals – wealthy and educated – who supported a unified German nation, to bring more democracy and rights, were left alienated. A Berlin Migration Society was formed and on the Prizessin Luise that left Hamburg, bound for Adelaide, in 1849 were four strong influences on South Australia: Richard Schomburgk (Adelaide Botanic Garden), Carl Muecke (education), Carl Linger (Song of Australia) and Theodor Buring (vigneron). When the German nation was unified in 1871, the repressing of unions led many socialists and nationalists to flee to Adelaide. Augusta Zadow, a champion of workers’ conditions in Adelaide, was among these. These radical and liberal views only added to the tapestry of divisions within the South Australian German community that, as South Australian-German history expert Dr Ian Harmstorf has shown, was never homogenous. Divisions occurred among South Australian Lutherans, between the way they farmed, between politics and class, between those originating in different German regions, between older conservative Germans, between those who has arrived in South Australia before 1871 and had no emotional attachment to the new Germany. Even the continuing resistance to the German cultural presence, given full vent during the 20th Century world wars, couldn't unite the colony’s Germans who, meanwhile, continued to make an extraordinary contribution to South Australia through their independent drive and intellect.


Germans spread to far north and west coast, keeping customs and relying on hard work

Germans had European-style villages in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. But they and their descendants also pushed into parts of South Australia – far north, Eyre Peninsula's west coast – that were far from European. Germans setters weren’t interested in land speculation but worked their lands to sell the produce or their labour. Gustav Gebhardt is a prime example of overcoming setbacks and local resentment to make the most his land holdings in the mid north and on the River Murray. The few Germans who stayed in or near Adelaide came mainly from middle or professional classes of German cities. They set up important industries such as silversmithing, winemaking and weaving. Self-supporting villages away from Adelaide allowed most Germans to keep to themselves and maintain language and customs, such as the Liedertafel and skittle alley, religion and education. Wherever they went, they set up their German schools. Encouraged by Pastor Kavel, many Germans, from their first arrival, to sign the oath of allegiance and then become naturalised. As British citizens, they were now able to buy Crown land. Granting the Germans citizenship did spark resentment among other colonists.



and their schools, theological colleges develop to high standard

Lutheran stress on faith in education and only in the German language has an isolating effect

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.

Dresden missionaries lead concern for welfare of Aboriginals and the Kaurna language

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.

Pastors Julius Rechner, Christian Austricht lead a rebellion against Lutheran institutions

Rebel pastors in the August Kavel mould, Gustav Julius Rechner and Christian Auricht became central pillars of South Australia’s Immanuel Lutheran synod for 40 years without a shred of institutional theological training between them. Georg Friedrich Leidig, founder of what is now Adelaide’s Immanuel College at Point Pass in 1890, succeeded Rechner and Auricht as president of the Immanuel Synod. In 1861, Auricht had ordained Rechner – an unorthodox move condemned by Lutheran pastors all over Australia and in Germany. Rechner had come to South Australia at age 19 to enable the migration of his whole Silesian family of pious Old Lutherans, originally from Leignitz (near Klemzig), He joined Pastor August Kavel’s Old Lutheran congregation at Langmeil in the Barossa Valley. In 1850, Rechner became the teacher and cantor at Light Pass school. After Kavel died in 1860, new Light Pass pastor Wilhelm Staudenmayer criticised Kavel’s requirements on sin and grace. Twenty-five families left the Light Pass congregation, selecting Rechner as their pastor. They built a church almost identical to Immanuel Lutheran church, across the road, and called it Zur engen Pforte (Strait Gate). Christian Auricht, who studied under pastors Fritsche and Kavel, was ordained by Kavel in 1858 and approved by the Reschner’s congregation as his successor. Auricht ordained Rechner in approval of the Light Pass Old Lutherans’ choice. In 1862, Rechner and Auricht ironed out differences on chiliasm to reunite with Bethany-Lobethal synod and combine for mission work in the remote north.

'Father' Vogelsang and Johann Ernst Jacob mainstays of Bethesda mission for 40 years

In 1866, lay helper Hermann Heinrich Vogelsang left Langmeil (Tanunda), in two large German wagons, with missionaries J.F. Gößling and E. Homann and another helper brother Johann Ernst Jacob for the trek into South Australia’s far north to set up the Bethesda Aboriginal mission at Lake Killalpaninna, Cooper’s Creek, on the Birdsville Track. Having arrived from Germany two months earlier, “Father” Vogelsang stayed on the mission for 47 years of its growth, through drought, heat and isolation, until he died. The zeal for Lutheran missionary work came from Pastor Julius Rechner, president of the Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Synod of South Australia (1874-1900). He encouraged his church branch to open or take over Bethesda mission among the Aboriginal Dieri people in 1866; Bloomfield Mission in Queensland, in 1883; and Hermannsburg Mission, Central Australia, among the Aboriginal Aranda in people in 1894. Rechner and fellow leader Pastor Christian Auricht imported, trained and sent into the desert generations of young missionaries they engulfed in family connections The three-month journey in 1866 by Vogelsang and his companions to Lake Killalpaninna was only the start of their trials. The Aboriginal people were hostile and the mission had to be abandoned after a few months. The Dieri people were more friendly when it resumed in 1868 with the arrival of a teacher W. Koch but he died within a year of typhoid. Vogelsang’s ill first wife died on a trek south in 1875 for medical help. When Vogelsang returned to the mission, his house was burnt down.

Pastor Georg Leidig's 1895 Immanuel boarding school lives on in Novar Gardens modern phase

Within six months of arriving from Germany 1838, Pastor August Kavel’s group of Old Lutherans refugees started a Christian primary school on their Klemzig settlement. Their vision for an “institution of high learning” had to wait 60 years before young pastor Georg Friedrich Leidig opened his Immanuel Preparatory School (later Evangelical Lutheran College) at Point Pass (near Eudunda) in 1895. From Neuendettelsau Mission Seminary in Bavaria, Leidig came to South Australia in 1891, was ordained at Light Pass by Pastor Gustav Rechner, and went to Bethesda Mission on Lake Killalpaninna at Cooper Creek. He became Port Pass pastor in 1892. His boarding school for the scattered rural parish aimed to instruct confirmees, train teachers for Lutheran day schools and offer higher education. It expanded in 1900-14 and educated students to matriculation. Leidig resisted the school’s move, with the new Wartburg seminary, in 1910 to Tanunda (where it escaped closure during World War I) and, after he retired in 1920, the seminary and college shifted to North Adelaide under the name Immanuel. In 1942, the buildings were required by the air force and the school was given 10 days to move out. It coped with cramped, but productive, times in North Walkerville 1942-56. In 1946, the seminary returned to North Adelaide but the search for a larger campus for the college continued until 1950 when land was bought from the Morphett family at Cummins House, Novar Gardens. The college moved into its new home in 1957 and continued as South Australia's only Lutheran boarding school.

Concordia College starts in Murtoa, Victoria, 1890 via T.W. Boehm, founder of Hahndorf Academy

Concordia College, an independent and co-educational school for 1300 students in the Adelaide suburb of Highgate, has its origins from 1890 in the remote country Victorian town of Murtoa ­– with an even earlier South Australian link. W. F. Peters, Murtoa's Lutheran pastor, started a boys' college and training ground for pastors and teachers by buying a private school founded there in 1887 by T.W. Boehm. Boehm, who arrived in South Australia on the Zebra with Captain Hahn in 1839, trained to be a teacher under pastors Gothard Fritsche at Lobethal and Carl Muecke at Bethany and Tanunda. In 1857, Boehm opened a private school in his home. Fundamentalist Lutherans criticised it for using secular textbooks, possibly influenced by Muecke, considered a dangerous liberal by conservatives. Boehm’s school, called the Hahndorf Academy from 1870, was successful until the annual government grant of £70 ended in 1877, forcing him to sell the school  to the Lutheran Church for £700. Boehm stayed on as principal and in 1883 bought back “Hahndorf College” before insolvency hit and he started another school in Murtoa. With Lutheran leaders in South Australia recognising Concordia College as too important to remain in Murtoa, it was moved to Highgate in 1905. Pastor P. B. Zweck was pivotal to Concordia becoming a Christian co-educational secondary college in 1927, under the South Australian district synod of the Lutheran Church of Australia. Additions to the school have included a multipurpose building with a TV studio, music centre and editing suite. The building is called Murtoa.

Carl Strehlow, Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht make special contribution at Hermannsburg mission

Carl Strehlow and Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht made major contributions to care of Aboriginal people and understanding of the cultures, during their time in charge of Hermannsburg Lutheran mission in central Australia, in the early 20th Century. Strehlow came from Bavaria’s Neuendettelsau seminary in 1891 at the request of the Immanuel Synod in South Australia. He served initially at Bethesda Mission at Killalpaninna, helping J.G. Reuther translate the New Testament into Dieri Aboriginal language. In 1894, the synod appointed Strehlow to head its Hermannsburg Aboriginal mission of central Australia. Except for his travels among the Aboriginals as far as Alice Springs, Strehlow left Hermannsburg only four times during 28 years service. He went to South Australia to marry his German fiancée at Point Pass in 1895. They returned to the financially troubled mission, their meagre salary subsidised by the Strehlow family in Germany. Besides protecting them from squatters and policemen, Strehlow acknowledged Aboriginals’ spiritual heritage. Strehlow grew to be a great philologist of Aboriginal languages, an important anthropologist of continental European schools and an authority on Central Australian Aboriginals. His greatest achievement was his work on myths, legends, culture and customs of the Aranda and Loritja, in seven volumes. Stehlow's successor Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht also distinguised himself in his care for Aboriginal welfare, respect for the languages and culture, and creating opportunities for them. Albrecht and his wife helped Albert Namatjira to sell his paintings.

Australian Lutheran College, North Adelaide, follows Fritsche legacy in education, theology

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.

Kavel's pietism has an effect on underground witchcraft beliefs passed down in valley

Witchcraft was a spinoff of the literal pietist belief in the power of good and evil among the first Lutherans who arrived with Pastor August Kavel in 1838. Kavel is said to have led his parishioners, carrying chains, in a midnight ascent of Kaiserstuhl, the largest hill on the edge of the Barossa Valley, to catch the Devil and lock him up. In the 1850s, Pastor Kavel again led his flock to a place outside Tanunda (Langmeil) one night to await the end of the world he had seen in a vision. He and wanted to be received into Heaven surrounded by nature and not the licentiousness he believed existed in Tanunda. Copies of the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses – the witch's bible of spells, charms, curses, herbal cures and witchcraft, and a conversation with the Devil – were brought by Silesian migrants as early as 1842. Although banned by the church, copies stayed in circulation, often hidden in Adelaide Hills or Barossa Valley farmhouses.  Copies were handed from generation to generation are retained by local German families. It was believed the owner of such a witchcraft book would not be able to die unless it was passed to someone for safe keeping. Most instances of witchcraft unearthed among the early German community were confined to farms: hens not laying, cows running dry and mysterious fires. Many people wore red ribbons around their necks – or wear their clothes inside out – so that they couldn't be bewitched. Witchcraft also was used to forecast weather –vitally important service for a farming community.



and a prophecy of mineral wealth that Charles Rasp would enjoy

Johannes Menge blazes the trail for minerals, Barossa Valley, higher education in the colony

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 opens way for the copper boom at Burra that saved South Australia in 1840s

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 in South Australian influx of German geological expertise and miners

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 a multi talented contributor to geological knowledge in 1840s South Australia

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 flaunts wealth from Broken Hill bonanza at Willyama mansion in Medindie

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


to 19th Century business, science, law reform, music in the colony

Pastor Carl Muecke brings enthusiasm for science and education to liberal journalism

Carl Muecke, a liberal who left Germany after the 1848 revolution, brought fervour for education and science. He was a stalwart of South Australia’s German press for 40 years. His Tanunda Deutsche (later Australische Zeitung) differed in giving more space to colonial than Fatherland affairs. He advocated for an agricultural college, a state school system, teachers' colleges, teaching sciences and compulsory attendance in line with the centuries-old German model.


Martin Basedow pushes education, science and liberalism as teacher, publisher and an MP

Martin Basedow matched father-in-law Carl Muecke’s devotion to education, newspapers and liberalism. Basedow taught in the Vierlande region near Hamburg, before sailing on the Pauline in 1848 to South Australia. In 1850, he opened Tanunda's Lutheran school, praised for its order and science teaching. Basedow set up Tanunda Deutsche Zeitung newspaper in 1863 and later the Australische Zeitung, the only South Australian German-language newspaper. He became Tanunda District Council chairman and represented the Barossa in the House of Assembly from 1876. He was briefly state government education minister and sought better conditions for teachers. In 1879, Basedow helped start Roseworthy Agricultural College, which his newspaper had long advocated.


Teacher Ulrich Hubbe brings ideas to Torrens title property system and other law reform

Ulrich Hübbe had a key role in one of the most momentous acts of any South Australian parliament: passing the Real Property Act in 1858.In 1856, with public debate on transferring real property, Hübbe advocated the registration and indefeasibility of title used in Hamburg and other Hanse towns. He advised Robert Torrens and his supporters in passing the parliamentary bill and made important changes to it. He was later spurned by Torrens.


Adolph von Treuer a stalwart of Adelaide business, education and music from 1855

Adolph von Treuer become one of German community’s most prominent citizens through his work in business, education and music. From the 1860s, he became confidential manager for the rest of his life to businessman Robert Barr Smith. He was one of the original members of the South Australian Council of Education and a founding member of the University of Adelaide where he was given a law degree ad eundem gradum. He was a prominent member of Adelaide Liedertafel


Adolph Leschen pioneer of gymnastics/physical education in South Australian schools

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.

Theodor Scherk backs free education and the new School of Mines and Industries in 1899

Theodor Johannes Scherk, son of Dr Heinrich Ferdinand Scherk, professor of astronomy and mathematics and later chancellor of the University of Kiel, migrated to South Australia in 1861. He worked on Freidrich Krichauff’s farm in the Bugle Ranges before being licensed as a schoolmaster, with schools at Lobethal and, later, Tanunda. In 1870, Scherk moved to Adelaide as a bookkeeper and company manager before opening an estate and general agency at Port Adelaide and Pirie Street, Adelaide. He was labour agent for the German and Foreign Immigrants' Reception Committee. Keeping his interest in education, Scherk was a member (from 1881) of the Adelaide School board of advice. He sat on the technical education board that recommended the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (opened 1889). Scherk was on the school’s council for 26 years. In 1886, he won the House of Assembly seat of East Adelaide with many German constituents. He was endorsed by the Trades and Labor Council. A protectionist, he advocated free education and urged increased tax on the unimproved value of land. Unlike many increasingly conservative Germans, Scherk remained a liberal and supported Charles Kingston’s government. He was a council member of the South Australian Federation League, president of the German Club and the Fortschritts Verein (Union and Progress Club), council member of the South Australian Zoological and Acclimatization Society, and a governor of the Botanic Garden. He also was first honorary member of the United Daughters of Australia.


crucial to the foundations of South Australia's music education

Carl Linger's 1859 'The Song of Australia' becomes a candidate for the national anthem

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 Puttmann, music teacher/composer, leads the Adelaide Liedertafel for 20 years from 1866

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.

I.G. (Gotthold) Reimann at the core of founding Adelaide College of Music, conservatorium

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.

Hermann Heinicke top teacher and orchestras conductor – until an assault at 1914 concert

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.

Clara ( Kleinschmidt) Serena's three-octave range thrills opera goers at Covent Garden

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 starts Die Kammermusiker Zurich, adding to his international renown

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.


open way for South Australia to establish some big global brands

Shiraz vines planted by Christian Auricht in 1843 among world's oldest; still producing

Besides developing its own wine culture, Barossa Valley has some of the world's oldest wine grape vines still producing wines such as the Langmeil The Freedom 1843 Shiraz. Langmeil winery near Tanunda (formerly Langmeil) is still on land bought by blacksmith Christian Auricht who arrived in South Australia in 1838 from Silesia to escape religious persecution. It was his family’s fifth move in seven years – from Klastawe to Turowo in 1837; to Hamburg in 1838; to South Australia and Glen Osmond in 1839; to Klemzig in 1840. Finally, to Langmeil for the rest of their lives. All their belongings were carried in a bullock dray. Shiraz vines planted in 1847 by Johann Frederick August Fiedler on Lot 1, Hundred of Moorooroo (Tanunda), also are still producing for Turkey Flat Vineyards. Over 150 years, about 750 expert vignerons, mostly German Lutheran settlers, have built on the European experience to adapt and blend their gained individual knowledge of the Barossa Valley land and climate.


Johann Gramp plants first vines of a future global brand besides Jacob's Creek in 1847

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. 


From Joseph Seppelt's experiment, son Benno grows winery to be Australia's largest

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.





Carl Muecke's chemistry lessons set Benno Seppelt up to build huge family wine company

(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, Australia's 1st wine gold medal winner and billiards champion

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.


Hermann Thumm adds 1500-piece collection of porcelain to Chateau Yaldara attractions

Hermann Thumm brought another extraordinary layer to the Barossa Valley in 1947. Born to German parents in Russia-controlled Georgia before World War I, he escaped the communist regime taking over his family’s ancient estate by swimming across a river under gunfire on the way to Iran. He was interned by the British army in 1941 before moving toSouth Australia in 1947 to found Chateau Yaldara near the Barossa Valley town of Lyndoch. The chateau, named after the local Aboriginal word for “sparkling”, is on the banks of the North Para River at a flax mill from 1867. Thomm was one of Barossa Valley’s first boutique wine makers, experimenting with techniques, style and blends. His other contribution was one of Australia’s largest porcelain collections. Meissen, Sevres, Worchester, Chelsea, and Stinton are featured among the 1,5000 18th and 19th centuries pieces gathered, with wife Inga, from England, France, Germany and around Australia over 35 years. The collection is set in grand ballroom and art gallery of the now Barossa Chateau with a garden of 30,000 roses opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. At its peak in the 1970s/80s, when the valley’s main road passed it, Chateau Yaldara was attracting up to 150,000 visitors a year to its manor house and gardens. After more than 50 years ownership, Thumm sold the winery in 1999 to McGuigan Wines. In 2014, it was bought by 1847, a wine company owned by Zhitai Wang of NSW and and Kuifen Wang of Qingdao, in Shandong, China. The chateau has been used by 1847 Wines to revive the tourism element, attracting many Chinese VIPs 

Wolf Blass whirlwind brings energy, ideas and fun to Barossa Valley wine making from 1961

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.


extended by Maurice Holtze and city's gardener August Peltzer

Richard Schomburgk turns Adelaide Botanic Garden into beautiful showpiece of the colony

Richard Schomburgk, Adelaide Botanic Garden's second curator from 1865, turned a “sterile waste” into one of the colony’s most beautiful spaces.Schomburgk set a programme of building and improvement and, by 1868, the rosery and the experimental garden were open. He visited Ferdinand Jakob Heinrich von Mueller, who had started building his vast knowledge of Australian botany in South Australia, and returned from Melbourne with a valuable collection of plants for gardens.


Richard Schomburgk brings in plants/seeds vital to agri economics of South Australia

Adelaide Botanic Garden curator (1865-91) Richard Schomburgk’s wider importance to South Australia was in introducing and acclimatising plants and seeds of economic importance to the colony. He wrote to colleagues and friends, especially in California, northern Africa and Italy with climates similar to South Australia, seeking seeds of grasses, fodder, cereals and other plants. He experimented by distributing them in the colony. Schomburgk’s efforts to encourage planting of almond groves and flowers for perfume were unsuccessful but three of his new wheat strains became favourites in South Australia. He also introduced a phylloxera-resistant vine and some of his new grasses stood up to severe drought. He persuaded some farmers to grow wattle for tanning. He increased known South Australian species in the Botanic Garden from 5000 to nearly 14,000. Schomburgk frequently gave evidence to select committees on subjects ranging from sanitation, education and main roads to disease in wheat, vegetables and the effect of sparrows.


Holtze and Pelzer add to Schomburgk's legacy of superb gardens within Adelaide city parklands

Richard Schomburgk’s legacy at the Adelaide Botanic Garden –  including the glass palm house imported from Bremen – was built on from 1891 by another German curator, Maurice Holtze, who added lakes with water lilies and lotuses. Around the same time, another German, August Pelzer, had taken over as Adelaide City Gardener. Pelzer dramatically tamed and transformed the city parklands, including removing miles of fencing dividing it, and created garden areas.

Julius Schomburgk raises flora in silver to elite level, with Henry Steiner, Joachim Wendt

Julius, a younger brother of Richard Schomburgk, was among the Germans who raised silver/gold smithing and watch making in Adelaide to an elite level – with floral motifs. A prime example is his work on a candelabrum presented in 1861 by the South Australian community to John Ridley, inventor of the agricultural reaping machine. Schomburgk also sold his pieces through the Rundle Street shops of fellow German silver smiths Henry Steiner and Joachim Wendt.



in August Fieberg, Friedrich Lindrum, Wilhelm Scholz, Bill Wittber

August Fiebig violin maker who gave Kangaroo Island its special Ligurian bees

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.

Wilhelm Scholz the farmer becomes doctor of homoeopathy with his Willows Hospital

Wilhelm Heinrich Scholz arrived in 1845 and settled with his family as a farmer at Light’s Pass, near Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley. But Scholz started using the bone setting and massage skills learnt in the Prussian army. He also trained his son Wilhelm in these treatments. After a successful treatment, benefactor George Fife Angas gave Scholz the funds to set up what became the family-run Willows homoeopathy hospital that continued until 1915.


Engineer Bill Wittber makes Australia's first plane flight and builds its first plane engine

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.

Alfred Traeger's two-way pedal radio enables flying doctor service and outback school of the air

The two-way-radio powered by a pedal-operated generator, invented by Alfred Traeger in 1927, became the central to the success of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and long-distance education in the Australian outback. Traeger studied mechanical and electrical engineering at the South Australian School of Mines and Industries (1912-15) then joined the Metropolitan Tramways Trust and Postmaster-General's Department. By World War I, Traeger was passionate about aircraft and tried to enlist with the Australian Flying Corps. He was turned down because of his German ancestry, even though his grandparents had long been naturalised Australians. In 1920, Trager applied to the US Patent Office for a combined variable-speed clutch and free-wheel device for motorcycles. He worked for Hannan Bros in Adelaide, handling car generator and electrical repairs. Always intrigued by radio, he obtained an amateur operator's licence and built his first pedal transmitter/receiver. He was contacted by flying doctor service founder John Flynn to help give remote outback families radio access to medical treatment. Trager suggested the school of the air, later established by Adelaide’s Adelaide Meithke. Traeger developed a pedal generator to power a Morse code wireless set. He later added a keyboard that enabled unskilled operators to type a message in plain language. In 1939, Traeger's set dispensed with pedals and adopted a vibrator unit. With his brother and father, he founded Traeger Transceivers and started exporting his radios. In 1962, pedal sets went to Nigeria; in 1970, Traeger’s firm provided an educational radio network for Canada. Traeger also designed a turbine-driven car and used solar power to convert salt water to fresh water.


add to industry; Augusta Zadow fights clothing factories' excesses

German communities entrenched in Adelaide City and North Adelaide in the 19th Century

The German Hospital was built in 1851 on Town Acre 433 in Carrington Street, Adelaide, on land donated by Osmond Gilles. Its name was changed to the German and British Hospital but it wasn’t a success and didn't survive. But Adelaide City had an otherwise extensive German presence in the 19th Century with a school, club, shops, churches and bakery in the area between Grenfell Street and Wakefield Street and between Gawler Place and East Terrace. Lutheran churches in Wakefield and Flinders streets and two hotels, the Woodmans Inn (now The Producers) and Tivoli Hotel, still remain. The Woodmans Inn was associated with German horticulturalists from the Adelaide Hills who brought their produce to the East End Market. Heinrich Wilhelm Emcke, who owned the Tivoli Hotel for many years, also ran a large and successful woodyard in Hindmarsh Square. Ludwig Dreyer and his descendants were associated with the Prince Albert Hotel in Wright Street for 124 years until 1976. Another German hotel, the Black Eagle (later the Aurora), was demolished in 1983. Among other German business in the city were bakers W. Menz & Co Wakefield Street and, in Pirie Street, butcher Frederick Just, specialising in white sausage. One of the earliest German communities was in small cottages in lower North Adelaide, around Stanley and Sussex streets. The tradition of outside access to house lofts identified German houses. Saddler Konrad Bechtell and bootmaker Heinrich Langeluddecke were among almost a dozen German shops in O'Connell Street until World War I.


Henry Frost helps Holden prepare for its boom years as car maker in Adelaide

German-born Henry Adolphe Frost played his part in Adelaide’s biggest manufacturing ventures that led to Holden cars. In 1885, Frost joined J.A. Holden & Son. Holden & Frost extended range to include iron and other metalwork. It began producing carriages and coaches. The company was well prepared for the arrival of the new “horseless” coaches. Frost did not see the car era develop. He died in 1909 and Henry Holden bought his shares.


Menz biscuit company grows out of Wakefield St shop run by John and Magdalena from 1850

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.

Observatory House in Flinders St salutes technology fostered by Kohlers, Boettgers

Observatory House in Flinders Street reflects German skills brought to the South Australia. G.C.W. Kohler had Observatory House constructed in 1906. Its tower symbolised the instruments, including spectacles, binoculars and telescopes, the company made. Kohler has bought the scientific instruments making and repair business from Otto Boettger around 1899. In 1877, Boettger set up his scientific equipment business . By 1890, he was selling around Australia


Augusta Zadow teams with Mary Lee to fight scourge of sweatshop conditions in factories

Augusta Zadow, who worked closely with Mary Lee, became South Australia’s first “inspectress under the Factories Act” in 1894, checking on working conditions for women and minors. Zadow became an advocate for women working in Adelaide clothing factories and she was a major force behind forming the Working Women’s Trades Union in 1890. With Lee, she also was a strong supporter of the Women’s Suffrage League.



German town names changed and businesses suffering boycotts

South Australian World War I backlash closes 49 Lutheran schools; wipes 67 German town names

The closing of 49 Lutheran schools in 1917 was part of the fierce backlash against South Australian Germans during World War I and especially after Gallipoli and sinking of the Lusitania. The schools were closed, with the teachers union’s strong support, after the initial moves to ban lessons in the German language, and church services. The schools were closed, with the teachers union’s strong support, after moves to ban German language lessons and church services. German clubs and newspapers were shut down and the 28,000 Lutherans (7% of the population), mostly Australian-born Germans, were harassed. Closures included the Lutheran Aboriginal mission at Killalpaninna. German settlement history was wiped from the map when 67 place names were changed. These included Klemzig (to Gaza), Hahndorf (Ambleside), Hoffnungsthal (Kobandilla), Kronsdorf (Kabminya), Grunberg (Karalta) and German Creek (Benara Creek). These later revert to the German names. Others, such as Petersburg (Peterborough), Bethanien (Bethany), Blumberg (Birdwood), Friedensthal (Black Hill), Grunthal (Verdun), Herrgott Springs (Marree), Jaenschtown (Kerkanya), were lost. In the face of newspaper campaigns against them, the German South Australian community was unable to argue using the German language and culture was not linked to the political goal of imperial Germany. Almost every Lutheran community had pledging loyalty to the British crown. Lutheran churches and their members made regular payments to the German-Australian branch of the South Australian Wounded Soldiers’ Fund.

Harsh regime under Hawkes puts focus on 300 interred at camp on Torrens Island

Soldiers in 1914 rounded up about 300 South Australian “German” or “enemy” citizens. Those arrested included German and Austro-Hungarian citizens, some Australian born: a mix of farmers, intellectuals and Lutheran pastors. In 1915, treatment of the detainees deteriorated under a new commander, Captain G.E. Hawkes, who encouraged the guards to be offensive and violent. After an inquiry. the camp was quietly closed in 1915, and many internees released.


State attorney general Hermann Homburg, son of first non-British judge, resigns after raid

South Australian attorney general Hermann Robert Homburg was among victims of the anti-German feeling. In 1914, Homburg’s Adelaide office was raided by soldiers with fixed bayonets. Homburg’s brother Robert, also a member of parliament for Burra Burra, resigned too. The Homburg brothers’ father, also Robert, had been attorney general in late 19th Century South Australian government ministries and in 1905 was appointed the first non-British supreme court judge.


Stratmann's chocolate shop at Beehive Corner among casualties of anti-German feeling

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.

Adolf John Schulz gives his brilliance to training teachers from 1909 to 1948 in South Australia

Adolf John Schulz Schulz was deeply hurt by World War I anti-German bigotry in South Australia, including closing Lutheran schools. But he bore it with dignity and continued his long service to training the state's teachers. Born in 1883 at Stepney, Adelaide, to German parents, Schulz attended Flinders Street Lutheran Church School before spending a year with his mother, brother and sister at Harburg, near Hamburg, Germany, where he went to a higher primary school. After attending other Adelaide public schools, Schulz became a monitor and pupil teacher at Rose Park Public School. From 1902, he studied part-time at Adelaide University for a bachelor and master of arts and in 1904 entered the university's teacher training college. He won a scholarship to Zurich University for a PhD. On Schulz's way home from Germany in 1909, South Australia's education director Alfred Williams appointed him, at 25, as superintendent of students at the teacher training college. Academically brilliant, Schulz seemed grave in shunning smoking, drinking, dancing, sport and socialising but many students found him kind. Lecturing in psychology, philosophy, education and languages (he was fluent in seven), he taught education (1910-48), German (1920-51) and educational psychology (1922-48). Schulz led one of the earliest diploma of education courses in Australian universities. He emphasised a psychology of the self and others and intelligent personal morality. Schulz was first president of the South Australian Institute of Educational Research. His books included Morality and Moral Education (1929)

Otto Georg Ludwig von Rieben gives Attunga mansion to be Burnside war memorial hospital

The Attunga mansion on Kensington Road, Toorak Gardens, was given to Burnside Council by Otto Georg Ludwig von Rieben in 1944 to be used as a war memorial hospital. The von Riebens, a wealthy family from Mecklenburgh, Germany, became owners of the Nor’West Bend Hotel on Adelaide-Wentworth main road between Nor’West (now Morgan) and Murbko on the River Murray. Otto was born and raised in this area and likely boarded in Adelaide at Whinhan Grammar School for boys. In the 1880s, he joined shipping and customs business William McCulloch and Co. and opened its Broken Hill branch. He became a partner in the Barrier Miner newspaper until 1919 when it was sold to J.E. Davidson, who founded The News in Adelaide and merged the two papers. Von Rieben bought Attunga mansion in 1907 from Benjamin Burford (son of soap/candle maker W.H. Burford) and started its garden. His wife Jane Carew died in 1920 but von Rieben lived at Attunga for 37 years. He contributed generously to Rose Park Improvement Society’s funds for a memorial to Burnside soldiers killed in World War I. When a council committee suggested building a memorial community hospital as part of post-war projects, Von Rieben, then aged 82, offered Attunga to the council free of charge, to be used as a hospital, with the house and gardens on 4.5 acres to be preserved. By 1949, the first stage of converting Attunga into a convalescent hospital was ready. The new adjacent 45-bed Burnside War Memorial Hospital opened in 1956. The mansion has, since 1989, been the Attunga Medical Centre. 


extremes of Aboriginality, native landscape vs. British heritage

Hans Heysen takes Australian landscape image to a new level after study in Paris

Hamburg-born Hans (Wilhelm Ernst Hans Franz) migrated, aged seven, to South Australia with his family in 1884. Showing early artistic flair, he left school at 14 to work with a hardware merchant but studied at nights at James Ashton’s Norwood Art School. Heysen joined the Adelaide Easel Club in 1897 and has his work exhibited regularly in Adelaide for five years. He developed a deep love of the painting the Adelaide Hills, especially in Onkaparinga Valley near the villages of Hahndorf and Grunthal. Patron Robert Barr Smith paid the fees for Heysen's 12 months at the school of design at the Art Gallery under Harry Gill who, in 1899, with brothers in law W.L. Davidson and F.A. Joyner and miner Charles Henry de Rose, offered Heysen £400 to finance his studies in Europe, in return for recouping their outlay by selling what he painted while abroad. Heysen worked hard in Paris academies and later in Italy. Heysen returned to Adelaide in 1903 but didn't break through financially until the first of his successful exhibitions in Melbourne before World War I, when Heysen and his family, along with other German-born citizens, were soon subject to suspicion and insult. A second Melbourne exhibition in 1912 enabled him to buy The Cedars, set in 15ha of Hahndorf countryside. Heysen became a household name for his watercolours  of monumental Australian gum trees and other images of the Flinders Ranges that he visited for the first of many times in 1926. He won the Wynne Prize for landscape painting a record nine times. Heyen’s daughter Nora was also a successful painter.

Adelaide Miethke, a dynamo in education and other causes leads patriotism displays

Among Adelaide “Addie” Miethke’s remarkable contribution to South Australia was leadership of patriotic causes during World War I. As a teacher, like her Prussian father, Miethke rose through the education department ranks but was also president of the Women Teachers’ Progressive League. In 1915, the league raised £250,000 for a soldiers’ soup kitchen. In 1935, heading the Women's Centenary Council, she organised a Pageant of Empire featuring 13,600 schoolchildren.


Ted Strehlow foremost authority on Aboriginal language, culture until the controversial end

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.


extending from Barossa Valley, Hahndorf to Hans Heysen's work

Few Nazi sympathisers among South Australian Germans join Johannes Heinrich Becker group

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.


German Club kept alive traditions and memory of strong presence in city and North Adelaide

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. 

Teutonic flavour still strong but Barossa Valley combines a German-British effort

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.


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