History of Hahndorf 1953

This History of Hahndorf was written by Mrs. T. Wittwer in 1953 at the instigation of the Hahndorf Branch of the Country Women's Association (C.W.A.).

The ladies of Hahndorf formed them­selves into a Branch of the C.W.A. in August 1948.  First President was Mrs, J. Hicks; Mrs. Willison, President since 1951; Mrs. T. Jackson the first Hon. Secretary and founder of the Branch.  When she left the district Mrs. K. Faehrmann took over the secretaryship until 1952.  Mrs. H. Faehrmann is the present Secretary and Mrs. T. Wittwer, Handicraft Secretary.  -  Hahndorf, 1953


The Arrival of the Zebra

It was on December 29th 1838, that the sailing ship ’’Zebra” under the command of Captain Hahn, brought to Australia 197 Lutheran immigrants, who on account of religious persecu­tion in their own country had come out to the new British colony, South Australia , seeking a land in which they could live and  worship in freedom.  They had left Tschicherzig on June 8th after the departure of the people who came out by the "Prince George" and the "Bengalee", also on two river boats.  They arrived at Hamburg in time to see these vessels leave, but they had to wait until August 21st before the "Zebra" left Altona, and four months later they beheld the lonely shores of their new country.  On account of low water they could not reach Port Adelaide for some days and so did not actually land until January 2nd 1839.  Captain Hahn, anxious to see the immigrants settle, immediately interviewed the Treasurer of the colony, Mr. Gilles, and endeavoured to persuade him to do something for these Lutherans, but Mr. Gilles refused to help in any way.  Similar requests made to others also failed.  Some days later Mr. F.H, Dutton with a party of friends paid a visit to the "Zebra".  In the course of conversation they mentioned that they were partners in a special survey in the Mt. Barker district.  They were en­thusiastic in their praise of this country.  Captain Hahn immediately appealed to them to grant a portion of this land to his immigrants for a settlement.  Mr. Dutton invited him to go with them on a trip into the hills to make an inspection of this property.  Captain Hahn gladly accepted the invitation.

A Visit to Mt Barker

Early on the morning of January 24th, just three weeks after the Zebra’s arrival, the party set out for its journey into the hills.  There were two carriages, one for the ladies of the party and one for Mr Dutton and the Captain, and twelve men and servants went along on horseback.  By 11 a.m. they had reached Mt Lofty, where they breakfasted, and at 2 p.m. another halt was made on top of a hill for luncheon under the gum trees in the silence of the bush.  After a short rest, the party travelled slowly on again, until about 16 miles from Adelaide the track opened out into a fine valley.  As the company rode down from the hills to the still waters of the Onkaparinga, Captain Hahn thought, "If only I could get my people settled here, I would be able to leave them with an easy heart."  On account of rough travelling the party scattered and it was dark before they finally reached the station where the shepherds of Mr Finnis camped in two huts and where they were to spend the night.

January 25th 1839

Next morning, January 25th Mr. Dutton arranged a kangaroo hunt which brought them near to the Mount.  Captain Hahn scaled the mount for a view of the surrounding country, which impressed him greatly with its possibilities.  After the 11 o’clock breakfast he went for a walk with Mr. Metcalfe*.  They were later joined by Messrs. Dutton and Finnis, who asked his opinion of the land around them, to which Captain Hahn replied that he had been brought up a country lad and that what he now saw so impressed him that if his family were with him and his ship safe in the hands of her owners he would gladly spend the rest of his days in these valleys.  He then once more pleaded with them to let his immigrants have a portion of this land, 50 to a 100 acres, which would not give the best returns unless it was cultivated.  To this plea Metcalfe* replied, “I am not altogether disinclined to let your immigrants come here”, and Mr. Finnis said: “I would be pleased to see them settle here, just to find out what industrious workmen can do with this land.”  Mr. Dutton also agreed.  Captain Hahn asked whether it would be possible for them to assist the settlers with provisions, seed, implements and some cows for at least nine months, as although landing almost free of debt they had no ready cash.

The Agreement Made by Captain Hahn

After much discussion an agreement was drawn up then and there and written in Captain Hahn's notebook as the basis for a legal contract, whereby Messrs. Dutton, Finnis, and Metcalfe* agreed to transfer to the Lutheran immigrants 150 acres rent free for one  year: 38 acres of this land were to be reserved for building allotments and the rest was to be used for agriculture.  Provisions were to be supplied to them for one year; they were to be given six cows, some fowls, ducks, geese, and pigs.  If at the end of the year the venture proved successful, each family was to obtain at a reasonable rent as much land as they could work.  The owners also agreed to build a church for the settlers, if they helped with the labour, and between them promised £40 towards the salary of a pastor and teacher.  A certain Mr Koch was appointed supervisor and treasurer of the undertaking,

The "Trek" Begins

The whole matter was finalized by 1 p.m. and Captain Hahn, accompanied by a servant, immediately set out for Adelaide on horseback arriving at 9 p.m.  When he next day informed his passengers, who were living temporarily in the huts which the Klemzigers had built at Pt. Adelaide, they were overjoyed.  They immediately began preparations for the journey to their new home.  But carters asked £7 per dray load of goods to Mt. Barker and only very few of the Lutherans could afford this high charge, so they started with their belongings - either carrying them or dragging them along in primitive handcarts of their own construction.  Their method was to carry or drag as much as they could manage for a certain distance, then dump it on the ground and return for another load.  Thus tramping backwards and forwards, they at last reached Adelaide.  This was the first stage of their long trek - it was the easiest, but they found it full of difficulties and arrived footsore and weary after journeying over the rough country.

At Adelaide and Glen Osmond

Adelaide in those days was but a collection of huts and tents - even the Governor's residence was only a rude structure composed of slabs and mortar, dabbed together, with a thatched roof.  In this - the embryo of a great city - the Lutherans rested for several days.  They heard tales of treacherous natives, of escaped convicts and bushrangers, they were warned of difficulties and dangers ahead - but nothing could detain them from setting out towards the heights which stood between them and their promised land.  A little north of the present Glen Osmond they made another halt, built temporary huts, and made preparations for the upward climb.  The huts, which they left behind, served as shelter to the 130 Lutherans who arrived at the end of January on the "Catherine" and made their home here and were hosts to the first Lutheran Synod held in Australia, May 23rd 1839.

... Up the Hills

From Glen Osmond the pioneers toiled upward, climbing one of the spurs between Beaumont and Glen Osmond, to the north of the present road.  There was no track then through the Glen, and the settlers had to push, their way through a thicket of scrub, carry­ing and dragging their goods for short stages and then returning for the remainder, up and down, up and down until at last every­ thing was safely on the top of the first hill.  Here they camped for the night.  Looking back, they could see the waters of the gulf reflecting the rays of the setting sun and the beauty of the scene spread beneath them filled  them so with rapture that they burst forth into song, singing Paul Gerhardt's evening hymn, "Now rest beneath night's shadows", the lines

| "The last faint beam is going | The golden stars are glowing | - In yonder dark - blue deep" |

being especially appropriate to the time and the place.

After the night's rest they started again at daybreak over the formidable hills that taxed their strength to the utmost.  Men, women, and children - all did their share carrying their burdens and dragging their carts over the rough, uneven track.  Thus February passed; each day one of incessant tramping forwards and backwards, tracing and retracing their steps until each load reached the camping place.  They worked all day in the hot sun or in the rain; at night they slept in the open, but each day brought them nearer to their goal.  For food they had only what herbs grew around them, but by dint of sheer perseverance they at last won through to their new home.

Hahndorf at Last

The land for settlement was on a plain, luxuriant with kangaroo grass and surrounded by thickly timbered hills, while near the centre was the native "bukatilla" - swimming pool.  It was near this swimming pool, a little north of the Hahndorf Post office - that these first Lutherans held a thanksgiving service as their first act in their new home, not even waiting to unload their belongings. before they fell on their knees to give thanks to God for leading them safely 'to this land of religious liberty'.  This was early in March, 1839, when the first settlers arrived.  When they had selected the 38 acres for dwelling reserve, they began to con­struct their huts with packing cases, covered with limbs and branches.  Trees were felled and log huts built with grass or bark thatched roofs.  Other families completed their long trek and arrived to join the first comers, until by the end of May, the whole company was assembled in what they, in honour and loving remembrance of Captain Hahn, named Hahndorf.

Roll of the Pioneers

According to a list, which Pastor Brauer had completed after years of painstaking work, there were fifty-two families which settled at Hahndorf early in 1839.  Thirty-eight of these families had arrived with Captain Hahn on the Zebra, fourteen with the earlier ships, the "Prince George" and the "Bengalee".  Their names are as follows:

Along the Main Street:   Christian Schubert, Johann Christoph Liebelt, Johann Friedrich Thiele, Samuel Thiele, Friedrich Wilhelm Wittwer, Erdmann Jaensch, Gottfried Rilbricht, Christian Zilm, Christian Jaensch, Gottfried Lubasch, Gottfried Neumann, Johann Christoph Schulz, Samuel Steike, Johann Georg Boehm, Samuel Kuchel, Johann Gottfried Liebelt, Johann Georg Janetzki, Gottfried Nitschke, Gottlob Linke, Georg Jaeschke, Christian Thiele, Samuel Bartsch,
Gottlob Zilm, Friedrich Paech, Christian Bartel, Johann Christian Schirmer.

Along the Northern Lane:   Johann Gottfried Wundke, Gottlob Bartel, Gottfried Behrend, Friedrich Wilhelm Nitschke, Johann Georg Pfeiffer, Johann Gottlob Nitschke, Gottfried Dohnt, Gottfried Hoffmann, Christian Schumann, Johann Christian Liebelt, Johann Georg Paech, Johann Georg Hartmann, Johann Friedrick Suess.

Along the Southern Lane:   Gottlob Schmidt, Gottlieb Kuchel, Gottfried Dohnke, Samuel Braettig, Gottlob Fliegert, C. Pfeiffer, Johann Christian Kluge, Johann Friedrick Paech, Johann Friedrick Zimmermann, Andreas Philip, Johann G. Kalleske, Friedrich Helwig,

Many of these first settlers later left their original holdings and settled in other parts of the Commonwealth, where their descendants still live; although it appears that some of the families have died out.

Debts and Struggles

The 150 acres were apportioned among these 52 settlers, and according to the agreement made with Captain Hahn the land was to be rent free for twelve months and provisions were to be supplied until the settlers were able to provide for themselves.  Just how long this agreement was observed is hard to say.  From letters written by the pioneers it appears that the landowners hesitated to carry out the conditions of the contract made because the settlers were unable to do much work on account of sickness prevailing amongst them, due to a great extent to the lack of proper accommodation and nourishing food.

More Land Purchased

In a document of April 9th 1840, the Hahndorfers resolved to purchase the 150 acres allotted to them by the contract made by Captain Hahn and in addition to purchase more land from the Government.  Erdmann Jaensch and Christian Jaensch were author­ised to make this deal on the condition that they be given 18 months to pay Messrs. Dutton, Finnis, and MacFarlane, and a further 18 months to pay for the Government land.  Since Government land could not be procured on credit and the pioneers had not sufficient money to pay cash, the money for the pur­chase had to be borrowed and credit arranged for the necessary provisions.  In an indenture of May 18th 1840, it  is stated that sections 4002, 4003, 4004, were brought of Messrs - W.H. Dutton, Duncan Macfarlane, and J. Finnis for £2118.  Another account states that they bought 240 acres, which included the 150 acres of the original agreement, at £7 per acre, for £1680 and a little  later bought more land from the Government at £1 per acre.  On the money taken as a loan they had to pay 10% interest besides which a number of them still had to pay off their ship-debts, that is, money loaned to pay for their passage.


In those days seed-wheat cost £1 per bushel; a pair of bullocks, £40; a cow, £18; and until they could grow their own vegetables the settlers had to fall back on boiled grasses and roots to supply their need of greens.  For meat, kangaroo and possum caught in the scrub sufficed.  Some even tried lizards and found them palatable.  This food had to do - there was nothing else.  But they battled on.  The ground was cleared and dug over with fork and spade; the barley and wheat were hand-sown and the ground harrowed with a forked branch, fitted with wooden teeth.  Vegetables were grown and together with the butter and eggs produced by the settlers found a ready market in Adelaide.  All produce had to be carried to the city on foot and this task usually fell to the lot of the women and older girls.  Their long walk with heavy-laden baskets was made none the easier by the fear of bush-rangers and natives.  Reaping was done with the sickle, 15/- per acre being the wage paid, and all the implements were curious contraptions manufactured on the spot.  These settlers proved themselves splendid colonists, the women helping the men and becoming expert at tilling the land and shearing.  Men and women found work on the neighboring sheep-stations and thus earned more money with which to pay off their debts.  By long hours, low wages, hard work and hard living these pioneers won through.  Within the first two years the most pressing debts had been paid and another 240 acres taken up from the Government at £1 per acre.

Piety and Loyalty

One of the most prominent characteristics of these early settlers was their piety.  Not only had their first act on arrival been one of thanksgiving to God, but they continued to hold regular services, either in tho open under the shade of old gum trees or in rainy weather in the old shepherd's hut which stood not far from the present St. Michael's Lutheran Church.  In 1840.a church was built, a plain mud wall building with thatched roof.  Pastor Kavel would come from Klemzig every six weeks and remain for a fortnight.  Mr. F. Kavel, a brother of Pastor Kavel, was appointed to instruct the children and in 1840 an allotment
was purchased on the main street and a school built.  One of the early colonists paid them the following tribute: - "They rise early and work late, are moderate and contented as to food and accommodation and cheerful and pleasant in their intercourse with their neighbours ......  At the end of the week they like to assemble in their own village for Divine worship and sing the songs of Zion in a strange land."  They had found what their home-country had denied them - liberty of conscience and freedom of worship.  These boons they appreciated and used; the Bibles and hymn-books, the devotional and confessional books they had brought with them were read, and on a Sunday afternoon, after the morning service had been attended, the head of the family would gather his house­hold around him and read to them from a sermon book.  Their piety was coupled with loyalty; in gratitude to the country which had granted them a home and freedom of worship we find them assembled with the Lutheran settlers from Klemzig and Glen Osmond after holding the first Lutheran Synod (Glen Osmond, May 23rd 1839) before Government House taking the oath of loyalty to Queen Victoria.

An Early Letter

An interesting testimony to the rapid progress made by the pioneers is given in a letter, dated Nov. 17th 1841, written to Captain Hahn by Mr. Hermann Koch, one of the "Zebra" passengers.  After detailing the difficulties with which the early settlers had to contend and how these difficulties had been overcome, he
gives an account of most of the families who had made the voyage from Hamburg in the "Zebra" and proceeds:  "The village of Hahndorf has already 500 head of cattle, besides 8 draught oxen and 8 small horses, plenty of pigs, geese, fowls  ......  In addition, the Germans besides the sections already named, have two other sections in the vicinity, bought off the Government at the original price and several isolated acres purchased from individuals.  Thus they have six sections upon which 62 families reside."

The Hahndorf Lutheran Church

In a letter dated March 26th 1840 Pastor Kavel wrote to Pastor Fritzsche at Hamburg urging him to emigrate to South Australia and gives amongst other reasons the fact that here they were enjoying full religious liberty free from any Government interference.  Pastor Fritzsche arrived in 1841 with a fourth
group of Lutherans of whom some stayed at Bethany and others came to Hahndorf.  Some of them remained here but the great majority of Pastor Fritzsche’s people formed the Lobethal settlement in 1842.  Due to differences in doctrine and practice a rift occurred in the Lutheran Church and it was divided - some members adhering to Pastor Kavel and some to Pastor Fritsche.  In Septem­ber 1856 the Supreme Court decided that the Church property belonged to Pastor Fritzsche’s congregation.  Hereupon Pastor Kavel’s adherents built a red brick church at the upper end of the town­ship.

St. Michael's Evangelical Lutheran Church

The congregation resolved to replace the old mud Church which was in a bad state of repair with a new stone building.  The foundation stone was laid on September 29th 1858, and since this was St. Michael’s day the congregation adopted the name: St. Michael’s Lutheran Church.  The building was dedicated on July 3rd 1859.  It had been built at a cost of £1,200.

Pastor Adolph Strempel was installed as Pastor of the Hahndorf congregation in 1855 and he faithfully served St. Michael’s con­gregation until in 1901 ill health compelled him to retire from active ministry.  He lived in Hahndorf until his death in 1908.  Pastor A. Brauer accepted the call in 1902 and ministered to the congregation until towards the end of 1921 he accepted a call to St. John’s Lutheran Church Melbourne.  Pastor J. Homann was called in March 1922 and served faithfully until ill health forced him to resign in 1926.  He died on August 28th 1929.  Pastor F. Blaess, missionary at Ambur India was then called.  He was installed on Palm Sunday April 10th 1927 and served his congregation faithfully and well until he accepted a call to serve as a teacher at Concordia College in 1943.  Pastor Backen was installed in 1943.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church

Pastor Kavel faithfully ministered to his congregation in the new red brick church until advancing age forced him to hand over his pastorate to a younger man.  Pastor Staudenmeyer from Lights Pass served the congregation until the services of Pastor Kappler were obtained.  He was installed in 1860 and ministered to the congregation until 1864.  In 1848 another group of Lutherans arrived in the care of Pastor Kappler and some of them settled in Hahndorf and formed another congregation.  In 1858 Pastor Fiedler was installed and during his pastorate, Pastor Kavel’s congregation and his united to form one congregation.  When Pastor Fiedler left in 1874 he advised his people to join with Pastor Strempel and for some years there was only one Lutheran congregation in Hahndorf.  However some families severed their connection with St. Michael’s and formed a separate con­gregation, St. Paul’s.  They were served by visiting pastors, until in 1881 Pastor L. Kuss was inducted as first resident minister.  He was in 1885 succeeded by Pastor F. Braun, who retired in 1937 after faithfully serving his congregation for 52 years.  In 1890 the present St. Paul's Church was erected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Lutheran Church in Hahndorf.  Pastor W.E. Petering was installed on April 3rd 1938 and ministered until January 1950.  Pastor C. Pfitzner accepted the call and was inducted in May 1950.


Singing in harmony the songs and hymns of praise and thanksgiving has been encouraged in all the churches and some have given a lifetime service as choirmasters and organists.  Mrs. Ey (Miss Bor) has just resigned after being connected with St. Michael’s choir for nearly 60 years, 31 years as conductor.  Mrs. Aug. Wittwer served St. Paul’s as organist for 56 years.  Mr. F. Wotzke was a faithful organist in St. Michael’s congregation for many years.

St. Paul's Church of England

In 1884 Archdeacon W.J. Russel initiated Church of England services at Hahndorf in the Hahndorf College classroom.  Before this students from the Hahndorf College were driven to Blakiston for services.  A movement for the building of a Church was soon started; the foundation stone was laid on April 27th 1885, and the church dedicated by the Bishop of Adelaide on February 2nd 1886.  Ministers in charge have usually resided at Mt. Barker; they were -  Rev. J.W. Owen, 1885-86; Archdeacon Samwell, 1886-88; Rev. R.R. Taylor, 1888; Rev. G. Bowycar, 1889-91; Rev. A.D'Arcy Irvine, 1891-92; Rev. J. Lumsden, 1892-95; Rev, J. Warren, 1895-1906; Rev. E.A. Radcliff, 1906-1911, Rev. J. Welsh, 1911-1918; Rev. A.H, Reynolds 1918-1924: Rev. R.W.S. Adams, 1925-1935;
Rev. J.A. Rowell, 1935-1940; Rev. R.R. Harley, 1940-1943; Rev. H. Woolnough is the Rector ministering to the congregation since 1943.


Soon after the pioneers had settled in their new home, they established a community school and appointed F. Kavel, a brother of Pastor Kavel, as teacher.  A block along the main road was purchased and a school-building erected.  The second teacher at this school was Mr. Seelaender.  Then Mr. W.T. Boehm had charge of this school until in 1857 he opened a private institution of higher learning, known as the Hahndorf Academy, later as the Hahndorf College.  From 1857 - 1862 R. Ey taught in the church-school.  He was succeeded by Mr. Strenz, and Mr. Von der Heide.  Then, from 1871-1896, Mr. J.F.W. Ey, a most gifted scholar, was in charge.  After a period of 5 years, during which Pastor A. Brauer, Mr, J.F.W. Paech and others conducted the school, Mr. 0. Huebner was appointed and remained in charge from 1901 - 1913.  He was succeeded by Mr. H. Kempe, 1913-1917, and when he left to take charge of a public school Mr. F. Wotzke was appointed.  In 1917 this school with most other Lutheran schools in S.A. was closed by Act of Parliament.  When the act of Parliament re Lutheran schools was repealed, Lutherans again took the opportunity to give their children a sound Christian education combined with the secu­lar one.  St. Michaels had built a school hall with this purpose in mind and in 1945 a call was sent to Mr. 0.B. Lange, who accept­ed and a Lutheran Christian day school was re-established in Hahndorf.

Public School

A public school was opened in Hahndorf about 1876 by Mr. W. Strempel, a brother of Pastor Strempel.  For a number of years the school was held in a private house on the main street with an attendance of 60 - 70 children.  Since this school was a Government institution, the teacher was not permitted to give religious instruction.  In 1879 the present public school buildings were erected.  Mr. Strempel continued as teacher until 1899 (April).  Other teachers have been:  Mr. Paul Schubert (1899-1908); W. Stone (1908); O.A, Witt (1908-1911); R. Morgar (1911); 0.A. Witt (1911-1913); H.A; Kingsley (1914-1933); H.A. Schwartz (1933-1943); N. Lowe (1944); J. O'Neil (1945-1952); and H.G. Hosking (1953).

The Hahndorf College

This college, established in 1867 as the Hahndorf Aoademy, had as its object "a sound and good English and German education, in order to enable its pupils to enter the learned professions or to prepare them for commercial life".  Day-scholars were charged £2/2/- per quarter, and boarders from £10/10/- to £13/13/- per quarter.  The staff consisted of T.W, Boehm, proprietor and head­ master; Rev. A. Strempel, Latin and Greek master; D. Nicolci, commercial subjects; G. Bircher, drawing and French master; and G. Reimann, music master.  The College had a good reputation and a considerable number of men prominent in law or medicine or commerce received part of their training at this college.  The success of the undertaking induced Mr. Boehm to enlarge the premises and the main college building was built in 1872.

College and Seminary

A Teacher's Seminary was opened on August 6th 1876.  In 1877 Synod agreed to purchase the college from Mr. Boehm.  The price was £700 of which £600 remained on mortgage.  Mr. Boehm was retained as teacher and an assistant Mr. Rauch appointed.  Pastor Strempel was appointed Director and moved into the college building and was in charge of the boarding establishment.  The College attracted many pupils and by 1879 the attendance had increased to forty. In 1883 Synod's inability to meet the debt incurred by the necessity for further building additions and other expenses forced them reluctantly to resell.  Mr. Boehm bought back the college at the original price of £700.  In 1886 Mr, Boehm sold the college to Mr. Byard, who continued it  as an institute of higher learning until shortly before the war, when the establishment of district high schools left him with only two or three pupils.  In 1920 Mr. Byard sold the college property to Mr. H. Hirthe.  For some years a private hospital was conducted in the college building and some of its rooms served as offices for the
District Council and now is fitted out as flats.

Post Office

The Post Office was established in 1864 but available records do not indicate the name of the first Postmaster.  The following is a list of Postmasters and Postmistresses from 1866 onwards:

  • 1866 to 1870  -  G. Leon
  • 1871 to 1883  -  A. Von Doussa
  • 1884 to 1889  -  Miss S.R. Offe
  • 1890 to 1906  -  Miss C.B. Windscheid
  • 1907 to 1915  -  Miss E. Wilson
  • From 23rd Jan., 1915  -  Miss R.T. Cameron
  • From 27th April, 1915  -  Mr. M.E. Allen
  • From 1st November, 1916  -  Mrs. A.R. Everitt
  • From 1st July, 1930  -  Mr. L.W. Sando
  • From 6th November, 1930  -  Mr. H.H. Tilby
  • From 1st September, 1942  -  Mrs. A.E. Tilby
  • From 1st September, 1953  -  Mr, Reid

Hahndorf Institute

On July 30th 1892 a number of interested men met to form a committee of the proposed new Institute.  They were Messrs. C, Bom H. Pfennig, A. von Doussa, F.H. Sonnermann, F.W. Paech, A. Storch, H. Storch, C, Heymen, D.J, Byard, C. Baumann, G. Jaensch J.C. Rundle.  Mr. C. Bom was elected chairman,
Mr. Rundle Hon. Secretary.  The new Institute was completed in October 1893 at the cost of £565, exclusive of furnishings.  The official opening took place on November 4th 1893, when the minister of Education, the Hon. Dr. J.A. Cockburn declared the Institute open.  In the evening a grand concert was given by the Adelaide Liedertafel.

  • Mr. 0. Bom 1892 - 1893
  • Mr. D.J. Byard 1893 - 1900
  • Dr. Auricht 1900 - 1921
  • H.A. Kingsley 1921 -1932
  • W.A. Reid 1932 - 1938
  • E. Kaesler since 1938

Hon. Secretaries

  • J.C. Rundle 1892 - 1893
  • A. Von Doussa 1893 - 1900
  • M.G. Kaesler since 1919

Former Secretaries

  • Mr. Bennett
  • J.F.W. Paech
  • J,H. Kaesler

The  present committee:
E. Kaesler, B. Kramm, W. van der Molen (treasurer) R. Jaeger, N.L. Paech, H. Paech, Dr. Auricht, Eric Paech, H. Wittwer, M.G. Kaesler (secretary) Mesdames M.G. Kaesler & A. Kuchel.
It is the project of the present committee to build a new enlarged memorial Hall as soon as building materials are available.

Art and Culture

Hahndorf is very proud of the fact that the world famous artist Mr. Hans Heysen resides within the outskirts of the village.  Four years ago in 1949 Mr. Stefan Heysen, son of the above, opened a public Art Gallery in a century old building situated in the Main Street of Hahndorf.  Mr. Walter Wotske is also a promising young artist who held an exhibition of his works in Adelaide in 1950.

A male choir, the Liedertafel conducted by Dr. Auricht and a Ladies Glee Club conducted by Miss Bom (now Mrs. Ey) were the highlights of entertainment and much appreciated by the folk of the older generation.  Teachers in the art of pianoforte playing con­tinue to instil into the minds of children and adults, the love and appreciation of good music as in the days of Mr. Reimann, Mr. Boehm, Miss Bom (Mrs. Ey) and Miss Darby (Mrs. Boyer).   Later teachers, Miss Millie Jaensch (Mrs. Kingsley), Miss Vera Jaensch A.T.C.L. (Mrs. T. Wittwer) and Miss Ruth Backen.

The Hahndorf Town Band has celebrated its Silver Jubilee - 1951.  In 1926 a group of men under the baton of Mr. S. Petersen formed themselves into a band.  Under his leadership they progressed and gave much pleasure to the public.  Upon Mr. Petersen's resignation Mr. Ballard assumed conductorship and they continue to impart music of high quality and martial tone to the various functions in the district.  Unfortunately, records of earlier bands are not available although it is known they existed as photographs can verify.

Recreation Reserve

As a State Contenary undertaking, the people worked hard and loyally to change the old Picnic Ground into the present Recreation Ground and Oval.  The first meeting was held on 31st May 1935 and the following committee elected - Messrs. C.G.E. Nitschke (chair­man), 0. Wotske, Braendler, G.E. Kaesler, M.G. Kaesler, T. Wittwer, C.A. Faehrmann.  November 1936 saw the completion of the Oval and to mark the auspicious opening the Governor was invited to attend and conduct the opening ceremony, after which a procession of floats, decorated vehicles of all manner of designs and vintage filed on to the Oval.  A week of festivities followed - Cost of Oval approximately £2,500, including voluntary labour.  It is con­sidered the best oval in the Hills and all Football Finals are played there.  The Reserve is used for football, cricket, tennis, basketball, rifle  shooting, and is booked out for picnics during the summer months.   The present committee contemplate building a new pavilion at the cost of £700 or £800.  Committee 1951 - Messrs. P.J.A. Braendler (chairman), N.L. Paech (Sec. & Treasurer), F.B. Braendler, O.E. Male, N.E. Snelling, H. Paech, J.F. Mullin, Lance Kaesler, .A.G. Hennigsen.


In the very early days in the first years of the settlement, Mr. J.F.W, Wittwer operated a water mill on Cox’s Creek.  The stones used for grinding flour are still in existence; they are exhibited on St. Michael’s church-grounds having been presented to the Church by Mr. C. Jaensch, who had bought the Cox’s Creek
property.  The old water mill had been ruined by a flood and later destroyed by a fire.  Mr. Wittwer then worked at the windmill built by Mr. F.R. Nixon in  1842 on the range of hills between Hahndorf and Mt. Barker, which have since become known as Windmill Hill.  The windmill was bought by Mr. Patterson in 1844 for £220.  It was a busy mill, farmers brought their wheat from as far as the settlements on the Murray lands.  Old residents can still recall how the men employed at the mill would carry the heavy four-bushel bags of wheat up the ladder to the top of the mill.  In 1853 Mr. Wittwer bought the windmill and continued to operate it until 1864, when it was transferred to Hahndorf by his son, Mr. F.W. Wittwer, who built a new mill at Hahndorf and installed larger machinery.  After his death, his three sons in turn carried on the business until about 30 years ago it ceased operations as a mill, but still con­tinues as a wood, grain, and flour merchant business, in charge of Mr. A.H. Wittwer.

Another old industrial undertaking was the tannery near the Onkaparinga bridge on the Adelaide road, founded by Mr. Heinrich Storch in 1858 and carried on by his sons Hermann and Albert for about 50 years.  Here from 6 - 8  men were constantly employed - the skins being collected from the surrounding district and as far afield as Mt. Pleasant, Salem, and the Murray lands - with horse and trap.  The substantial buildings still standing are a mute witness to the former extensive activity.  Since the work, however, was all done by hand, the business could not maintain itself against the competition of machinery and had to close down as a tannery.  Until recent years the old tannery continued as a bark-mill.  Michaelis, Hallenstein Prop. Ltd. of Melbourne in 1932 purchased the goodwill of Messrs. Storch's business and transferred the bark-mill to the Ambleside Railway Station with a branch business on the Echunga - Meadows road, the Jupiter Creek Bark Mills.

The wattle bark industry has been a reliable source of income in the district.  Seventy years ago bark was stripped for about £2 per ton and delivered in Adelaide at £3 a ton.  Then the bark was stripped straight up and down from the trees as far as a man could reach whilst the trees were standing, ten to thirty feet high and often a foot in width.  A later method was to cut the trees about four feet from the ground and then strip the bark off.  The wattles
stripped now are of much smaller growth and are cut down close to the ground.  The wattle is then tied in bundles to dry before being carted to the mills.  The wattle tops and poles are used as fire ­wood, great quantities of these being delivered to the Mt. Barker Tannery.  The mills in the district handle thousands of tons of bark eaoh season, which is exported to all parts of the Commonwealth and to New Zealand.

The first blacksmith shop in Hahndorf was the one establish­ed by Joerge Haebich soon after his arrival in 1846.  In 1872 Mr. August Haebich took over his father's business and in 1880 built the shop as it still stands today.  The smithy is still carried on by Mr. W, Haebich, but in keeping with the modern trend the front portion of it  has been converted into a motor garage and service station.  Another blacksmith shop was worked by Messrs, Starick and Wiese, and
in 1870 Mr. C. Borchers, who had been apprenticed to Wiese's business built his own shop near the "Union Hotel” and maintained a flourishing business until he sold out in 1900.  About this time Mr. Fred Faehrmann started blacksmithing at the lower end of the town and his business is today being carried on by Mr. C. Faehrmann, who in 1909 built the present shop and in recent years has combined an undertaker's business with his other work.  In the years gone by the blacksmiths had a flourishing trade, especially at the time the hills' railway was built.  Messrs. G, & H. Martin also A.H. Bremer - and in the latter years F. Schubert were engaged in the wheelwright trade.  It was during this time that Hahndorf had a resident police officer for about twelve months.  The police station was in the house built by the Storch family on the Main Street.  This same house for 30 years afforded a home to Mr. von Doussa, M.P.  Portion of it  is now occupied by the Bank of Australasia.

The Reliance Motor Engine Works

In 1905 Messrs. Ewald and Reinhold Kaesler purchased Wiese's establishment and carried on the original lock-smith business as blacksmiths and coachbuilders.  The waggons built by these black­smiths found their way to many parts of the State.  Later on Messrs. Martin and Heinrich Kaesler joined their brothers and worked their business up to the present Reliance Motor Engine Works with an annual turnover of £13,000 to £14,000.  An imported engine gave them a start in engineering.  When one day a Dennis motor truck was brought in for repairs, it  proved to be the beginning of their motor-garage work.  Motor repair work relinquished in 1942.  The development of the clover industry opened up a new avenue of work and income and Kaesler Bros.’ clover thresher is well-known in all centres where subterranean clover is grown and may be found in practically every State of the Commonwealth.  Kaesler Bros.  were formed into a Ltd. Company in August 1936.  After world war II Messrs. Lance and Rex Kaesler (sons of Martin Kaesler) joined the firm.

The development of subterranean clover has revolutionised the work in the district.  Land formerly conserved for fire-wood pur­poses has been cleared for clover and fodder.  Formerly hundreds of cords of wood were cut and delivered to the Railway Station; now hundreds of tons of clover seed are raked and threshed and exported to the other States.  The advent of clover and super has enabled dairymen to extend their dairying business.  The carrying capacity of the land has thereby been increased five and six fold.  On an average a thousand gallons of milk are sent away daily from the Hahndorf district.

Mr. M.C. Bom left his ship at Pt. Adelaide and remained in hiding whilst the ship was still in port.  During this time he fashioned a slate slab for Mr. J.C. Altmann, who had befriended him.  The slab is still to be seen over the door of the cellar at the Altmann home­stead.  By a singular coincidence, the last stone worked by Mr. Bom was a tombstone for his old friend, the same Mr. Altmann, in 1911.  Bom’s Monumental works had in the intervening period increased to such an extent that branches were opened at Strathalbyn with Mr. Schubert as manager, also at Mt. Gambler and in Adelaide, the last known as
Schubert and Bom, now as Schubert & Sons.

Meat Industry

Mr, C. Jaensch one of the pioneers commenced the butchering business, in the early days of the settlement and it was carried on for many years by his sons and daughters.  Mr. G, Jaensch re­linquished the business approximately 35 years ago.  Messrs. H. Chapman, T. Lane, D. Lugg, J. Hicks, W. Fox all carried on the business for a varying number of years.  The present vendors in the meat industry being Mr. Noske and Mr. G. Post.

Saw Mill

In 1934 three Butler brothers settled in Hahndorf with the intention of commencing a saw mill.  They obtained a suitable corner of land and commenced operations and today it is a very flourishing industry - sawing many thousands of feet of timber yearly.  It is now in sole charge of Mr. R. Butler.

Motor Garages

As the motor vehicles increased, the horse drawn vehicles decreased and consequently the blacksmiths and wheelwright gradually gave way to the motor repair shops.  Garages which have attended to the needs of the motoring public have been in charge of Kaesler Bros., Messrs. Klose, Tod, Jackson & Walkom.  Two garages owned by Messrs. Klose & Walkom operating at the present time.

Clothing Factory

1912, Just prior to World War I the National Clothing Factory Adelaide, opened a branch at Hahndorf, where dozens of girls were employed making necessary articles of clothing for the troops as well as civilians.  Mr. A. Dickson was manager in charge until 1925.  The vacant factory was used as a storehouse for Glen Ellen Cannery when it was disastrously burnt down in 1930.

The Glen Ellen Factory a canning industry originated at Darby's about 2 miles from the township.  It has extended its buying and selling undertakings to all parts of the Commonwealth and beyond.  Transferred to Adelaide in 1939.

Barber, Shoe Repairers and Greengrocer

Mr. Les Hill attended to the needs of the men of the village in his capacity as barber for the past 39 years commencing his business in 1912.  Mr. A. H. Miller also conducted a Barber and hairdressing saloon.

Mr, Howard Hill, son of the above, commenced a boot and shoe repairing business in January 1939 and continued until November - 1940 when he joined the Army.  After his discharge in January 1944 he resumed the business and has carried on the good work of attending to the "soles" of the people.

Mr, W. Drute,  Mr. Greve, Mr. A. Minkwitz, & Mr. Heilmann, are all remembered for their ability as boot and shoe repairers.  Makers of wooden clogs were Messrs, Max Henningsen and Mr. Bom.  Mr. Hans Bom was renowned for his ability in making wooden clogs.  He gathered the willow wood from the trees growing in the creek and when he had a good supply of clogs made, he would fill  his oversize carpet bag and journey to the city where, despite the handicap of not being able to speak English, he would sell or barter his clogs for clothes and other necessities.  Mr. M. Henningsen was also a craftsman at this particular trade.  Wooden clogs were worn by old and young in the early days and kept feet dry in wet weather.

Mr. Vic Hill, also a son of Mr. Les Hill commenced business as a Greengrocer in 1944 and his red van was a familiar sight in all the district until he relinquished his business in 1933.

Builders and Contractors

At present two builders endeavour to erect enough homes to house the increasing population of the district.  Mr. John Mullin, following in the footsteps of his
father who was a builder or many years standing, has become one of the leading contractors in the surrounding district, having accepted the contract to build the Trust homes in Mt. Barker.  Mr. Les Schubert is also helping to overcome the housing shortage in Hahndorf.  Former builders include Messrs. C. & G. Nitschke, J. Pain  & Sons.


J. Gommers Senr. & Sons, G. Faehrmann and G. Plain.


Two banks are operating in Hahndorf.  The Savings Bank agency Mr. N. Paech and the Bank of Australasia.


Dr. T. Auricht was the much loved medical practioner for 45 years when he relinquished his practice to Dr. K. Crafter in 1946.  Dr. W. Randell succeeded Dr. Crafter in 1950.  Dr. Roberts taking over the practice in 1952.  Private hospitals tended the needs of patients for many years.  All district patients are received and cared for at the Mt. Barker District Soldier’s Memorial Hospital at the present time.


In 1946 Mr. Don Webb opened a chemist dispensary in a private home until his modern Pharmacy was built in 1949.

.... [ Missing section of text ] .... shoot and is becoming a popular sport among old and new members of the Club.  The valuable Belt of medals contains over 70 Silver and Gold medals inscribed with name and date of winner.


All seasonal sports have their regular followers and fans.  Football, golf, cricket, tennis and basketball all enjoy their popularity.  Mr. C. Faehrmann, a keen sportsman, maintains a private bowling green which is becoming ever more popular with the "not so young”.


Philately is a hobby indulged in by many folk, old and young, also, in this district.  Mrs. Himmler was well known for her interest in stamps and possessed a very fine collection.  Mr. H.B. Kramm is one of the leading philatelists in this State and has a valuable collection of all types of stamps and is an ardent collector.  Mr. G. Bernhardt and Mr. John Pain also rank as ardent collectors of stamps.

Early Settlers

The early settlers were among the first to supply Adelaide with fresh vegetables.  Their descendants still take an active part in supplying the Adelaide markets with vegetable products.  Then the women and girls had to shoulder their baskets and carry their produce to town on foot: now their descendants no longer use even the dray or waggon, but deliver their produce within an hour with modern motor—trucks.  Orchards in the district every year export thousands of cases of apples.

It is almost impossible to mention by name all the individual men and the various undertakings, which have made the small settlement, founded in the bush in 1839 by Lutheran immi­grants, the Hahndorf and district of today.  It is impossible to relate all the changes that have taken place in the course of one hundred years.  There are very few who can recall Sonnemann's bakery in the house built by Mr. Baumann, and in later years occupied by Mrs. J. Schroeder, now owned by Mr. C. Miller, before Mr. Sonnemann built the premises now known as E.G.P. Smith, es­tablished 1858.  The days are long past when Dr. Renner or Dr. Bohnen waited for patients; or Mr. Staudenmeyer maintained a chemist shop in the house between the ruins of the Clothing Factory and the Post Office or Mr. Heuzenroeder dispensed medicine in the late Mrs. Williamson’s house.  Or Bruse and Wegner had a saw-bench on the property where the old college now stands; or Riebe and Lehmkohl had a shop in the place where Mr. Heilmann now repairs boots; or Pastor Strempel dispensed kindly advice with homeopathic medicines before Dr. Auricht established a practice of 45 years standing; or when Sergeant Lubasch, proudly displaying the medal won at the Battle of Waterloo, had a hotel on the site now occupied by Mr. A.H. Miller's store and drove a coach and four with the mail over unmade roads to and from Adelaide.  Who would suspect that the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills at Lobethal had a humble beginning in an old shed on a back street of Hahndorf, opposite Mr. W. Dueball's house, the weaver, Heinrich Ferdinand Kramm, brought with him from Germany a small plant for making woollens. When the plant was held up pending payment of £80 duty, Kramm, who was a poor man could not retrieve it , but his fellow countryman raised the amount by subscription and helped him take the plant to Lobethal.  Who can picture Hahndorf today as a place for native corroborees or imagine hungry natives begging at the door and on baking days watching an opportunity to abscond with stolen cake.  How many travellers, passing through Hahndorf's elm-lined main street, would dream that both hotels crossed the road to their present situations, the one from Miller's store and the other from Bremer's workshop.  The former being known as the "German Arms” Hotel.  During Word War I the hotel was searched for arms and all black powder rifles used for Kingship shooting were confiscated.  Many pass along Pine Avenue without knowing that those stately pines are not as old as Hahndorf’s Rifle Club, founded 1864.  ”Feder—schleissen” is a pastime very few still indulge in, yet the grandparents spent many an enjoyable evening picking feathers and had their fun, though their grandchildren seek other amusements.  In former years Hahndorf manufactured 2,000 gallons of wine annually, acre after acre having been trenched to bring the clay soil to the surface, but the vines have given way to apples and vege­tables.  The traditions of the Hahndorf Band are still being carried on by the present generation, but the old "Liedertafel" has gone .... out of existence with the passing of many of its members.  Captain Hahn's village is growing old with the State; many changes have taken place; some of its homes can tell of 60, 70, 80, 90 years withstanding the wear and tear of time, yet many old places are removed to make way for modern homes.  The pioneers are all gone - a few who were infants and children 85 - 90 years ago are still living - but the spirit of industry, the will to forge ahead, the courage to tackle new enterprises still lives within the many of the descendants.

To mark the hundredth birthday of the town, the residents constructed a Pioneer Memorial Gardens with a memorial gate in honour of the first settlers and a memorial stone in memory of Captain Hahn, on land donated by Mr. George Jaensch a descendant of one of the old pioneers.  The date of the unveiling of the memorials was January 25th 1939 - one hundred years after Captain Hahn made the agreement which led to the establishment of Hahndorf.

It is believed that a Sergeant Lubasch, who held non-commissioned rank during the Prusso-Napoleonic War, was one of the original settlers in the Hahndorf area, and was elected by them to preserve law and order in the Community.  Whether or not he was a member of the Regular police force is not known.  It is also believed that Lubasch was a coach driver in this State in the very early days.

Jam Factory - In 1876 Mr, Hertzog built a jam factory opposite to where Mr. C, Faehrmann had his blacksmith and wheel­ wright shop.  Unfortunately it was burnt down some twenty years later.  Mr. Hertzog presented the horse-drawn hearse to the town and by a coincidence he was the first occupant to be carried to the cemetery in it.  Incidentally he had his tombstone, complete with inscription, bar date, standing in Mr. Bom's marble yard for years and his coffin in his shop and it is said the young lads of the day used to crawl in and try it out in the spirit of fun.  Mr. H. Thiele was the custodian of the hearse until it was sold finally to be converted into a motor driven vehicle.

Hotel Licencees

Licencees of Union Hotel:   Mr. Tom Ide, Mr, Delaney, Mr. Bancots, Mr. Ben Paech (14 yrs.), Mr. Stevens, Mr. Partridge, Mr. R. Stetzleberg (4 yrs.), Mr. Lambert, Mr. Rudolph, Mr. Wallace (25 1/2 yrs)

Licencees of Hotel Ambleside:   Mr. Stoneham, Mr. Heynem, Mr. Wichello, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Fink, Mr. D. Rickaby, Mr. Fellenborg, Mr. Aughey, Mr. Gray, Mr. Nitschke, Mr. Linaham, Mr, Wegener, Mr. Johns, Mr, Palm, Mr. Formby, Mr. Nitschke, Mr. Watson, Mr. F. Langbein, Mr. F. Dawson.

Mrs T. Wittwer  -  Hahndorf  1953


Please add any additional information or comments below.

* Note:  The person named Metcalf in the above is actually incorrect and should in fact be Duncan Macfarlane who was the other member of the Special Survey partnership with William Hampden Dutton and Captain John Finnis.  This mistake appears to have originated from statements made in Capt. Hahn's diary.