Adelaide Hills - Towns, People, and Things We Ought to Know

Source:  SA History Newspaper Articles

The reader is advised that these "Chronicle" articles were first published in 1932-1937 primarily as light reading / entertainment and cannot in any way be considered to be scholarly. You are advised to independently check the veracity of the content, as no sources have been cited.

Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are advised that this text may contain names and images of deceased people.  Readers should also be aware that certain words, terms or descriptions may be culturally insensitive and would almost certainly be considered inappropriate today, but may have reflected the author’s/creator’s attitude or that of the period in which they were written.

#40  - Mount Barker (part 1 of 2)

#41  -  Mount Barker (part 2 of 2)

#57  -  Meadows (part 1 of 2)

#58  -  Meadows (part 2 of 2)

#59  -  Echunga (part 1 of 2)

#60  -  Echunga (part 2 of 2)

#61  -  Aldgate, Stirling, Crafers and Mt Lofty

#62  -  Aldgate, Stirling, Mylor, Scotts Creek

#63  -  Hahndorf  (Ambleside)

#64  -  Balhannah

#65  -  Woodside

#66  -  Lobethal (Tweedvale)

Towns, People, and Things We Ought To Know  -   No 66 Lobethal (Tweedvale)

By Our Special Representative, No. LXVI  -  Extract From Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954) dated 12 October 1933

Tweedvale, Formerly Called Lobethal - Striking Story of a Progressive Hills Centre

Tweedvale is one of the wonder towns of South Australia.  You will know why when you have read its story.  It is a monument of industry, and was  founded by a Lutheran minister — Pastor Fritzsche — in 1842.  It started in poverty; today it is one of the most prosperous centres of the State. 

To me the name "Tweedvale" will always be a meaningless abnomination — just as sensible as "Beerville," or "Tallowtown," or such, similarly descriptive nomenclature.  It would be as logical to change the name of Hindmarsh to "Beerville" because somebody makes beer there as it was to substitute Tweedville for Lobethal because they make tweed in the beautiful little valley among the Adelaide hills.  I much prefer the former name of Lobethal.  Some day, I hope, we as a community will have sufficient sense to restore these old names, which have a real significance.

Lobethal means "The Valley of Praise" — praise for the delivery of a persecuted people from a despotic Government bent on preventing them from, worshipping their God as their consciences told that they should do.  Is there anything wrong with that?  It was Pastor Fritzsche, who founded and named Lobethal.  And thereby hangs a tale.

This pastor Fritzsche was a noted Lutheran leader in Germany in the thirties of last century.  When the Prussian Government of the day endeavored to foist a state religion on the people, ordering them to adopt certain forms of worship whether they believed in them or not, and threatening them with dire penalties if they resisted, Pastor Fritzsche was one of the chief opponents of the idea of worship made to order.  He fought the Government's policy with such effect that a price was put upon his head.  He went about the country eluding the police as a criminal might have done, and it was like a criminal that he was hounded from place to place.

Eventually he escaped to the free city of Hamburg, and from there made his way to England.  He applied to George Fife Angas for assistance.  Angas had already incurred heavy liabilities in emigrating the first batch of German refugees to South Australia, and to fighting the battle of the newly created colony, and was unable to help.

But a Mrs. Richardson, who lived in Newcastle, and was a keen sympathiser with the persecuted Germans, lent Fritzsche £270, which later she converted to a gift.

Founding Of Lobethal

With this money Fritzsche returned to Germany.  He collected 270 followers.  In July, 1841, the party left Hamburg in the Skiold, bound for South Australia.  On their arrival they were distributed amongst the former German immigrants until such time as they could form a community of their own.  This they did in 1842, selecting sections 5124-5 in the Sources of the Onkaparinga Special Survey.  A record in the Lands Department shows these sections were acquired in the name of Johann Friedrich Krummnow for £196.

Eight years later, apparently, questions arose about the proper ownership of this communal property, for we find, in 1850, a deed of disclaimer lodged by J. F. Krummow and J. F. Muller of any interest in the sections, and declaring that the £196 paid for their purchase was the property of several other parties, whose names were attached to the deed.

The appended official history of these early land dealings is not without interest:—

  • Lobethal 1842 — Land grant of sections 5124/5, Sources of the Onkaparinga Special Sur vey, for £196 to Johann Friedrich Krummnow. 
  • 1849 — Conveyed from J. F. Krumnow (farmer), of Lobethal, to Ferdinand Muller (Farmer) for £196. 
  • 1850 — Conveyance from Johann F. Mul ler (school master) by direction of Alexander Brown (butcher) to William Anderson of Lot VI., village at Lobethal, together with public house known as "German Arms." 
  • 1850 — Conveyance from J. F. Muller to Johann Deinegott Wemert (storekeeper) of Lot III. 
  • 1850 — Conveyance from J. F. Muller to Wilhelmine Constantine Felsch (widow),  Lots XV, and XVIII. 
  • 1850 — Conveyance from J. F. Muller to Johann Gottfried Bormann (shoemaker), Lot IV.  1850— Conveyance from J. F. Muller to Eleanor Kathner (widow), Lot II.
  • 1850— Conveyance from J. F. Muller to   Johann Wilhelm Gutsche (tailor), lots IX, and XVI.
  • 1850 — Deed of Disclaimer by J. F. Krummnow and J. F. Muller of interest in Sections 5124/5 and that £196 paid for purchase of the sections was the property of the several other parties whose names were attached to the deed (not registered).
  • 1834 — Conveyance from F. Muller to the trustees of the Lutheran Church of Lot (XXa), village of Lobethal (Ferdinand Carl Strempel, Johann Gottfried Emanuel Klar, Heinrich Thomas, trustees), £90.
  • 1855 — Subdivision of Sections 5124/5 into township of Lobethal (unsigned).
  • 1856 — Subdivision of Lot 3, Lobethal, by John Welnert (miller and storekeeper).
  • 1861 — Plan of Lobethal examined and found correct by Conrad W. Wornum (licensed surveyor).
  • 1882 — Subdivisions of Lots 78, 80 by J. H. Elsenberg (proprietor). Surveyed by H. W. Hargrave.
  • 1917 — Name "Lobethal" altered to "Tweedvale" under the Nomenclature Act.

So you see, Lobethal was first a district, then a village, and then a town.  But that is getting ahead of the story.

As soon as the new settlers reached their blocks, they held a thanksgiving service, and Pastor Fritzsche bestowed on the valley the designation "Valley of Praise,' which was part of the Biblical quotation used at the service.  And the Valley of Praise it remained, as a perpetual reminder of the escape of these settlers from the tyranny of their own Government, until the South Australian Parliament substituted the present name of Tweedvale.

First Lutheran College

No sooner were these migrants on the site than they set about founding those industries on which the prosperity of Tweedvale has been built — beer brewing, brandy distillation, hop growing, bat making, and weaving.  And most of these industries are still going.  Many of our best cricket bats come from Tweedvale.  The goods of the Onkaparinga Woollen Mills are famous all over Australia.  I shall tell you some stories about these later.

The little Lutheran Church, erected by Pastor Fritzsche, is still used.  It is the oldest church in South Australia still in use.  Most interesting of all was the founding of the first Lutheran College in the Southern Hemisphere — the forerunner of the two big colleges of Concordia and Immanuel, which we know today — in a one-roomed wooden hut.  This college, which was one in fact as well as name, since it taught most of the higher branches of education, was surely the most remarkable scholastic institution there ever was.  It was literally a "walking college."  Pastor Fritzsche, with his big, scattered pastorate, had no time to meet his classes every day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., as our schools do to day.  He had to get from place to place over the rough tracks of the period.  So his classes had to meet him, and trudge with him through the bush while he imparted instruction, declining their nouns and conjugating their verbs as they picked their course through the scrub.  Is not that story indicative of a natural thirst for education?

Pastor Fritzsche died at Lobethal in 1863.  He is buried in the local cemetery.  A picture of the commemorative tablet over his grave is given on this page.  The original "college" still stands.  A shed has been built over it to protect it from the weather.  If you want to see it you will find it in the grounds of the present parsonage.

The story of Pastor Fritzsche intrigued me.  I asked for a photo.  There was none, in existence.  There never was.  The pastor was a very keen opponent of vanity, and he classed photographs under that heading.  All I could learn about him was that he was a little man with a clear, high forehead, and an abundant faith in his mission and his Master.  His small stipend was paid in part cash and the balance so many bushels of wheat.  There were times when the family was on the starvation line.  But the pastor's faith never faltered.  Here is an illustration.  On one occasion there was nothing in the house to eat.  "What shall I do?" asked the wife.  "Spread the cloth," answered the minister.  "But that would be useless," said the   woman.  "Spread the cloth," repeated the pastor.  "God will provide."  So the cloth was spread, and Fritzsche knelt and asked a blessing, and that nourishment should be sent to them.  As he rose there was a knock at the door.  A Mrs. Mensel had arrived with a basket containing bread, butter and bacon.

I give you that anecdote as it was given to me.

A Lutheran Schism

Today there are two Lutheran Synods in Australia.  Prior to 1846 there was only one.  The story of how a schism developed, leading one section to break away from the other, is worth, the telling.  It appears that among the German settlers who arrived in 1839 was a tailor named Krummnow — the Krummnow mentioned in the land transactions I quoted earlier.  He was rather an extraordinary man, some say a fanatic, possessed great hypnotic power, and was capable of swaying the outlook of others by his strong character.  It is on record that he was "a sower of all kinds of mischief."  Be that as it may, Pastor Kavel, the recognised head of the Lutherans in South Australia, and himself a man of strong character, came under the influence of the hypnotic tailor, and was led into paths which undermined his own influence amongst his people.

In 1845 a new batch of German, colonists arrived.  They brought with them "a doctrine of gross Chiliasm, contrary to the Augsburg Confession."  This, briefly, was belief in the millennium — that prior to the resurrection Christ would set up His Kingdom on earth for a thousand years.  This was the rock on which the Synod crashed.

Kavel was induced to support the new doctrine.  In the Synod of 1846 at Bethany, Kavel attacked some of the teachings of the Lutheran Church.  A hot quarrel ensued.  It grew so bitter that the parties, although it was against the principles of their belief, went to law.  One section said Kavel had no longer any right to preach in the Lutheran Church at Hahndorf.  The other said he had.  The Supreme Court ruled against Kavel, and he was forced to quit the Lutheran manse.  Pastor Fritzsche succeeded him in that charge.  The quarrel was never patched up.  That is why there are two synods in South Australia today.

Pioneering The Town

 At Tweedvale the other day I talked about early Lobethal, before it became Tweedvale, with Councillor J. G. Schapel and Messrs. E. P. Kumnick, C. A. Klose, Pastor T. Lutze, and Dr. J. C. Jungfer.  One thing I learned was that two hours after Pastor Fritzsche had secured the section on which Lobethal was founded, the South Australian Company applied for the block.  It was then the migrants held their service of praise, and bestowed the name of Lobethal on the town.

By the way, the pioneers of Lobethal did not go there direct after reaching South Australia.  For some time they were settled among their compatriots at Hahndorf, while they looked about for a suitable site for a settlement.  One day, while one of them, a shepherd named Mueller, was pasturing his flock, he happened on the valley, reported it to the community, and they applied for the section.

“How came it," I asked, "that this land was taken up in the name of Krumnow?'"

"Because Krumnow was a British subject, having been naturalised in England. The Government would not grant land to foreigners.  That is why the Germans at Hahndorf had to go to agents, who charged them £7 an acre for land which they could have got at £1 had they been British."

Pioneering was no fun.  Those who had mud or shingle huts in the earliest days of the settlement were accounted lucky.  Most of the pioneers had to be content with the shelter of hollow trees.  One has no idea of the poverty of the little community nor the grim struggle for existence which took place in the early days.

Three women owned the only needle in Lobethal.  They lost it.  They spent the best part of a day on their hands and knees searching among the dust of the earthen floor.  Then they found it.  If they hadn't they would have had to tramp to Adelaide for another.

The farms, of course, were tilled by hand, after having been cleared laboriously.  The wheat had to be carried on the backs of the settlers to Windmill Hill to be gristed, and then carried home again.  There was only one sieve for the whole community.  The women weeded the wheatfields by hand.  They worked barefooted, and used to spend hours every night picking the prickles out of each others feet.

Others, employed as servant girls, had to go into the bush barefooted to collect stones with which they built sheds for their employers.  And it was bush those days.  I was told of two sisters who were employed in service by a settler at Mount Crawford.  One day they decided to walk home.  Before they could get there night came on.  They saw a light in the distance, and were afraid to continue, for the hills were full of unsavory characters.  So, although the night was cold, they slept beneath a tree in only the clothes they wore.  When dawn broke they discovered the light had come from their own home, a few hundred yards distant.  That story was told me by Mr. Kumnick.  The girls concerned were his sisters.

South Australia's Oldest Church

Tweedvale,  I think, owns the oldest church in South Australia.  By that I mean a building in which services have been held continuously from the time of its erection (1843-5) to the present day — just ninety years.  It cost £130.  That price would not have been possible but for the vast amount of free work put into it by the congregation.  The women made the bricks at a pit at the bottom of the hill on which it stands, and carried them to the builders on their backs.

I went through that church. It is full of interest.  The only changes made in it since it went up in the midst of virgin bush are that iron has replaced the original thatch roof, and a modern floor has taken the place of the flag stones which used to echo to the steps of the pioneers.  The original baptismal font is still in use, as sound as on the day its maker carved it out of a solid lump of Australian red gum.  I was invited to move it.  It couldn't be done.  It Is more enduring than life itself. Its maker has passed away this many a day, but the old font has centuries of history before it yet.  The ceiling joists, too, bear the marks of the woodman's adze, and the seats are lasting as time itself.  The present pastor is the Rev. T. Lutze.

Behind the church is the Lutheran Cemetery, where Pastor Fritzsche sleeps.  Close by is a small plot out of which grow two immense pines, whose branches intertwine overhead.  They are symbolic of the romance which lies buried there, a romance of nearly sixty years ago.

Maria Louise Heinecke and Carl F. E. Pfieffer were then a young couple engaged to be married.  Maria took ill and one day in March 1877, she died.  Carl was inconsolable.  Less than a month after his sweetheart he died, too.  So they buried him in the same grave as Maria, and they planted the two pine trees on the grave.  Now the arms of the trees are interlaced as though proclaiming to the world that the couple who lie beneath, although parted in life were married in death!

Industrial Side Of Tweedvale

I told you Tweedvale was a wonder town.  Now I will tell you why.  It is because, buried in the heart of the hills, it is, and always has been, a busy industrial centre.  It is this which distinguishes it from most of its agricultural neighbors.  There is a reason for this.  Most of the settlers who came out in the Skiold were tradesmen.  Circumstances made them agriculturists in the new land, but at the same time they plied their crafts, what time they could.  Many of those crafts, laboriously pursued at home, were the nuclei of big industries today.  

The Onkaparinga Woollen Mills is a case in point.  It is Tweedvale's biggest factory.  Here is its genesis.  One day in the sixties, Mr. Kumnick, father of the present bat manufacturer, had occasion to visit Hahndorf.  While there he heard that a man named Krumm intended starting making cloth in a mud hut with a thatched roof.  Kumnick approached Krumm with the suggestion that Tweedvale would be a good place in which to establish the plant.  It so happened that Krumm owed £80 for machinery which he did not know how to pay.  Kumnick offered to relieve him of his anxiety if he would go to Lobethal.  So Krumm went.  Kleinschmidt's brewery was on the point of closing.  The premises were secured and converted for cloth manufacture.  The first plant was driven by horse works, a flea-bitten mare supplying the power.  An engineer named Hummer made the first frame of 30 spools.  The mill was opened by the three K's — Kleinschmidt. Kumnick, and Krumm.  Today it is a company, and it's products go all over the Commonwealth and beyond.

Something About Bats

Can you imagine bats made at Tweedvale going to the United States, Canada, or even to New Zealand?  I couldn't.  But that doesn't alter the fact that they do.  The United States!  If that isn't carrying the war into the enemy's camp nothing is.  Tweedvale does it.  That alone entitles it to be called a wonder town.

There is a lot of romance in a cricket bat — if you know where to look for it. It is in the handle.  How many cricketers who make a century know just what part the handle plays in the game?  How many pieces of cane go to the making of the handle?  I'll warrant that is a sum Don Bradman couldn't do.  Cane is used in the bat handle to give it flexibility.  The cane is reinforced by a strip of rubber running almost the length of the handle.  There are nine to sixteen pieces of cane in a bat handle, and those made at Tweedvale are glued together under great pressure with Mount Barker glue.  The blades are dry polished with the shank bone of a bullock.  Bats bearing the Tweedvale mark go all over Australia.  I could tell you a lot more about these weapons of the cricket field if I had the space, but I haven't.

Some Earlier Industries

In the early days of Tweedvale a miller named Lange came from Hahndorf and started a mill opposite the present institute. The ruins are still to be seen.  Wheat went up to 20/- per bushel, and things boomed.  This brought Weinert and Bevilqua on the scene as rival millers.  Then wheat dropped to 2/6.  The new mill closed, but Lange's kept going, being successively owned by Hannaford August Lange (son of the preceding Lange), and Scarman & King.  It ceased operations about 55 years ago.

Some time in the fifties an impetus was given to hop growing by the establishment of a brewery by F. W. Kleinschmldt.  This was the building in which the woollen mills started later.

F. A. Kumnick established a distillery at the beginning of the fifties.  He made brandy and liquors: it became a big industry.  Another distillery was started about a mile from Tweedvale by one Jeurs.  He chiefly distilled for the settlers, and kept their wine for them in casks.  A serious outbreak of phylloxera settled the wine industry.

A tannery and glue - boiling works was started by Henry Schmidt and H. L. Vosz.  This was the same Vosz who later established the big Rundle street business now known as Clarkson's.  Vosz built a house on a hill overlooking Tweedvale.  The local residents christened it 'Magpie Castle.'  The ruins are still there.

Basket manufacturing was one of the earliest industries.  These were made from willow, and went all over the State.  The first willows were secured from Smilie, at Nairne, and the settlers had to wait a year for them to grow.

Seventy years ago organs were built at Lobethal.  Fifty years ago a dehydrating plant was handling fruit and vegetables.

Mine In Main Road

How many people who motor over the main street on their way to Mannum know they cross the main tunnel of one of South Australia's earliest mines?  This is located near the Rising Sun Hotel.  I cannot tell you the name.  Perhaps it never had one.  But I inspected the shaft in the yard of a resident whose house is built over the opening.  The shaft is 100 ft. deep and the tunnel 50 ft. long.  The owners mined it for silver, but found it contained gold, silver, copper, and bismuth.  Metallurgy those days was not sufficiently advanced to enable the metals to be separated.

The hills about Tweedvale are full of various metals.  Old professor Menge, South Australia's first geologist, who loved to poke about the gullies, once declared. 'Lobethal has a great treasure, but you're not fit to lift it yet.'

Tweedvale's most prominent daughter is Madame Clara Serena.  The South Australian song bird was a Miss Kleinschmidit before she went abroad to make a name as a vocalist.

Where Tweedvale Started

The history of Tweedvale as a town began on the flat at the southern end where the creeks are.  But there were no creeks then.  These were artificially formed by the settlers running a plough furrow along the level at the bottom of the hill.  Flood waters did the rest.

The first store was established there by Weinert.  The same building is in use today.  Outside the Lutheran Church is a bell hung in a tree.  It has hung there for nearly ninety years.  In the early days it had another purpose besides summoning the congregation to worship.  It used to be the custom in Adelaide to fire a gun at noon to give the residents the time.  A man used to be stationed at Lobethal to listen for the report.  When he heard it he passed on the time by ringing the bell.


·         The Woollen Mills at Tweedvale.

·         Tablet over the grave of Pastor Fritzsche, founder of Tweedvale. It reads:—   "Here rests in the Lord with his family, Gotthard Daniel Frit(z)sche; born 20th June, 1797; died 26th October, 1863. Evangelical Lutheran Pastor at Lobethal. The memory of the just is blessed. Prov. 10-7."

·         Concordia College at Malvern today. It sprang from the small building shown in the other picture.

·         The first Lutheran College in the Southern Hemisphere.