LOCATION:     71 Main Street, Hahndorf

The Pioneer Memorial Gardens located at the corner of Main Street and Johns Lane was opened in January, 1939 to celebrate the centenary of settlement of Hahndorf.  The Gardens commemorate the persons involved in the settlement of Hahndorf and the Founding Families of the Village.

Some of these settlers died during the first year, others later moved on to other parts of South Australia or the Commonwealth, where descendants are still living.  One or two families seem to have died out.  A considerable number of the current residents of Handorf can trace their antecedents back to the original settling families.

There have been a number of alterations and additions over the years to the Pioneer Memorial Gardens.  However, a major reorganisation of the site was completed at the end of March 2014 with the 'opening ceremony' held on 15 April 2014.

Opening of Pioneer Memorial Gardens

Opening of Pioneer Memorial Gardens and Unveiling Memorial to Captain Hahn - January 25th, 1939

(Extract from Hahndorf Centenary Celebrations Pamphlet issued by the Hahndorf Centenary Committee)

Pioneer Memorial Gardens  2001The plot of ground donated by Mr G. G. Jaensch, of Tailem Bend, to the Mount Barker District Council for the use of the people in and around Hahndorf has been laid out as a Pioneer Memorial Gardens and Children's Playground, by Mr Day, the Government Town Planner.  The plan calls for a memorial garden with a clock.  The names of the 52 original settlers are to be inscribed on two marble slabs to be fixed to the gate-pillars.

Standing back from the gateway in the midst of the gardens surrounded by flower-beds, the plan has a memorial to Captain Hahn.

Around the central square there will be a number of shrubs and trees (52 on the plan) , which may be planted in memory of pioneer families who arrived later than the first 52 families , and also in memory of others, whose services to the township should be remembered.  These trees and shrubs may be marked with a name plate.

In the Children's Playground portion, swings, ladders, see-saws, etc are to be erected .  These various apparatus may also be donated by some as family memorials or memorials of deserving townsmen.

"Memorial Unveiled at Hahndorf  -  Centenary Celebrations Begun Yesterday"

(Article From 'The Advertiser' -  Thursday 26 January 1939)

To mark the centenary of the founding of Hahndorf a programme of celebrations, which will extend over four days, was begun at the town yesterday afternoon, when the Pioneer Memorial Gardens were opened and a memorial to Captain Hahn, standing within the garden was unveiled.  There was an attendance of from 400 to 500 people, comprising residents and former residents of the district. 

In welcoming the visitors to Hahndorf, the chairman of the centenary celebrations committee (Mr. C. G. E. Nitschke) said that the idea of the memorial gardens originated about two years ago when the gift of the land was made by Mr. G. G. Jaensch, of Tailem Bend. 

In opening the Pioneer Memorial Gardens, Mr. Shannon MP. paid a tribute to Captain D. M. Hahn whose untiring efforts resulted in the foundation of the settlement, and to the 52 pioneers who accompanied him to Hahndorf 100 years ago.  He said that German and British people had so many qualities of character to common that it should be easy for them to live together, and to unite to form a bulwark to fight the madness of war.  Evidence of that fact was given during the last war when so many German settlers fought side by side with the Britishers in the war to end all wars.   Mr. Shannon urged the youth of Hahndorf to be like their forefathers and be proud of the land from which they gained their livelihood.  He hoped that they would show the same pioneering spirit and fortitude that the pioneers had shown. 

Laid out on the ground given by Mr. Jaensch, the plans of the garden drawn by the Town Planner (Mr. H. C. Day) provide for a central square of shrubs and trees.  These may be planted in memory of pioneer families who arrived later than the first 52 families, and also in memory of those whose services to the township should be commemorated.  A portion of the ground will be used as a children's playground. 

Opening of Pioneer Memorial Gardens - 1939

The entrance to the gardens is marked by an archway with double gates, and single gates on either side of the stone pillar supports.  A clock, presented by Mr. C. G. E. Nitschke, has been placed in the arch.  The names of the 52 families of pioneers has been inscribed on marble slabs let into the fronts of the pillars. 

In introducing Mr. Homburg. M.L.C., who later unveiled the memorial to Captain Hahn, Pastor Blaess outlined the events that had led to the founding of the town.  He said that on January 25, 1839, Captain Dirk M. Hahn commander of the Zebra, which was anchored in the bay on December 29 and landed its passengers at Port Adelaide on January 2, 1839, made an agreement at the foot of Mount Barker with Messrs. Dutton, Finniss, and Metcalfe, whereby the latter leased to the immigrants from the Zebra 150 acres to form a settlement, which was later named Hahndorf.

Mr. Homburg said that it was a tribute to Hahn's shrewdness that the settlement had been founded, and there could be no greater monument to him, nor to the pioneers that came with him, than the progress that had been made in the 100 years.  Such was true of every other German village in South Australia.  All were clean and tidy, and the residents were all contented and energetic.  He said he appreciated the action of the Royal Geographical Society, and the assistance given by Dr. A. Grenfell Price, the Returned Soldiers' League, and the South Australian German Historical Society, in having the name of Hahndorf restored to the town.

A photograph of Captain Hahn, obtained by the South Australian German Historical Society from Captain Hahn's grandson living in Trinidad, was presented to the Centenary Celebrations Committee by the president of the society (Mr. H. Krawinkel).

Other speakers were the Postmaster General (Mr. Cameron), the chairman of the Mount Barker District Council (Mr. A. Mills), and Mr. G. G. Jaensch.   A recitation in honor of the pioneer was given by Miss Lorna Nitschke.

The anniversary of Captain Hahn's birthday will be on Saturday.

Pedestal Mounted Plaque

A pedestal mounted plaque was installed in-line with the main gate opening as part of the original layout of the Pioneer Memorial Gardens in 1939. 

This plaque reads as follows: 

To the memory of CAPTAIN D.M. HAHN 
of the 'ZEBRA'  whose untiring efforts 
and whose agreement with 
Jan. 25th 1839 led to the founding of HAHNDORF


[ Note:   The name METCALFE on the plaque and in the 'Advertiser' newspaper article above is incorrect and should in fact be Duncan MacFARLANE who was the actual third member of 'The First Special Survey' partnership with William Hampden DUTTON and John FINNIS.  Statements made by my late uncle, Harold J Finnis (grandson of Capt John Finnis) who was an invited guest at the opening of the Pioneer Memorial Gardens in 1939, implied that the above error was known at the time but it was too late to correct prior to the opening.  Apparently it was intended to be corrected at a later date but this was never done - (AM Finnis) ]

List of Founding Families

A list of the first founding families names are inscribed on marble slabs let into the front of the pillars each side of the gateway to the Pioneer Memorial Gardens.  There are 54 families which formed the first settlement; 35 families from the Zebra, 15 from the Prince George (18 November 1838) and 2 from the Bengalee (16 November 1838), and subsequently another 2 from the Catharina (January 1839). 

The names of the 52 of these first families which are on the gateway to the Pioneer Memorial Gardens are as follows (first names have been added as stated in 'Hahndorf And Its Academy', by Dr F.J.H. Blaess):


Main Street 
SCHUBERT Christian,  LIEBELT Johann Christoph, 
THIELE Johann Friedrich,  THIELE Samuel, 
WITTWER Friedrich Wilhelm,  JAENSCH Erdmann, 
RILBRICHT Gottfried,  ZILM Christian, 
JAENSCH Christian,  LUBASCH Gottfried, 
NEUMANN Gottfried,  SCHULZ Johann Christoph, 
STEIKE Samuel,  BOEHM Johann Georg, 
KUCHEL Samuel,  LIEBELT Johann Gottfried, 
JANETZKI Johann Georg,  NITSCHKE Gottfried, 
LINKE Gottlob,  JAESCHKE Georg, 
THIELE Christian,  BARTSCH Samuel, 
 ZILM Gottlob,  PAECH Friedrich, 
 BARTEL Christian,  SCHIRMER Johann Christian.


Names of Pioneer Families Not Included on Gateway (Catharina)

JAESCHKE George,  LANGE Gottlob

North Lane 
WUNDKE Johann Gottfried,  BARTEL Gottlob, 
BERNDT (BEHREND) Gottfried,  NITSCHKE Friedrich Wilhelm, 
PFEIFFER Johann Georg,  NITSCHKE Johann Gottlob, 
DOHNT Gottfried,  HOFFMANN Johann Gottfried, 
SCHUMANN Christian,  LIEBELT Johann Christian, 
PAECH Johann Georg,  HARTMANN Johann Georg, 
SUESS Johann Friedrich. 
South Lane 
SCHMIDT Gottlob,  KUCHEL Gottlieb, 
KUCHEL Johann Friedrich,  DOHNKE Gottfried, 
PFEIFFER Johann Christian,  KLUGE Johann Christian, 
PAECH Johann Christian,   ZIMMERMANN Johann Friedrich, 
PHILIP Andreas,   KALLESKE Johann G., 
HELWIG Friedrich.

Full details of all 54 families are stated in Hahndorf Founding Families Place of Residence.

Bust of Captain Hahn

A pedestal mounted bust of Captain Hahn was installed in-line and between the main gate opening and the above plaque in 1982.

The inscription on the front of the pedestal reads:

Captain Dirk Meinertz Hahn 1804 - 1860
Memorial to commemorate the naming of Hahndorf
Bust donated by Hahndorf Burgermeister Otto Sames and his wife Anna
Unveiled by the Lieutenant Governor Sir Condor Laucke K.C.M.G. 15th Aug. 1982

Clock and Time Capsule

Over the years, the analogue clock that was installed in the archway fell into disrepair and had frozen at 7.20.The Old Cottage which stood on the site of the Pioneer Memorial Gardens

In April 2002, after many months  of local fund raising and a restoration grant through the Premier's Community Fund and as part of a Hahndorf Community Association 'Tidy Town Project for 2002', a new clock was purchased and installed.  The new clock is fully automated and adjusts itself for daylight saving.

At the same time, a Time Capsule containing numerous drawings and essays produced by local school children, was placed inside the main gate arch.  The Time Capsule is scheduled to be opened on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Hahndorf settlement in January 2039.

Pioneer Women's Memorial

Phil Houston (HCA), Grant and Carol Paech (Beerenberg).A monument and plaque to honour the endurance and pioneering spirit of the women and girls of Hahndorf's early Germanic settlers is located on the left-hand side of the main entrance arch to the Pioneer Memorial Gardens.  This  monument was installed in early  2011 by the Hahndorf Community Association and the District Council of Mount Barker being funded by these organisations plus  a very generous grant from the Beerenberg Foundation.  The design of the monument was carried out by DesignHaus with the plaque wording by the Hahndorf Community Association.

The plaque tells a story of the significant contribution that the women and older girls made in those pioneering days.
The wording is as follows:

In 1938 when the colony of South Australia was only two years old, Lutheran refugees from Prussia arrived here and established a farm village which they named Hahndorf.  To earn wages many of the men (and sometimes whole families) left the village to work for wealthy landowners clearing the bush and building fences.  Many women were therefore left to labour alone on their small farms, raising animals and vegetable gardens, and making butter and cheese.

Conditions in the colony were difficult, animal transport was scarce and food was generally poor in quality and expensive since almost everything had to be imported.  So the German women of Hahndorf found a ready market in Adelaide for their fresh vegetables and dairy produce.  But they had to carry it themselves in baskets on their backs or suspended from yokes across their shoulders all the way to Adelaide!

The women and older girls would leave Hahndorf at midnight and follow a 35km winding track through dense bush to arrive at Beaumont at 4 o'clock in the morning.  Here they rested by a creek and often sang Lutheran hymns before walking on to Adelaide.  On the homeward trek they carried their money along with household goods such as sugar, tea, coffee, needles and sewing thread and tobacco for their menfolk.  They also carried stout sticks to ward off thieves!

This memorial honours the German women of Hahndorf whose courage and perseverance helped South Australia prosper in the early days.

Upgrade of Pioneer Memorial Gardens

In early 2012, a major upgrade of the Pioneer Memorial Gardens was commenced by the Mount Barker District Council.  This included a complete renewal of the childrens play-ground to upgrade it to current safety standards, the installation of a large rotunda, the replacement of the brick toilet block with an automatic toilet unit, and a major upgrade of the complete garden areas and pathways.

Certain unavoidable delays occurred with the program.  However by June 2013, the new children's playground area and the rotunda had been installed, and new fencing, certain paving and all required site services had been completed.  The remaining work involving the new toilets and a lovely grassed oval area surrounded by re-planted gardens was substantially completed by the end of March 2014.

New Rotunda & Old Toilets - December 2013 New Playground & New Rotunda - December 2013 New Playground - December 2013
New Toilets under construction - December 2013 New Toilets under construction - December 2013
Old Toilet Demolished, Site Cleared and Paving Commenced - February 2014 Paving Completed, Fencing and New Planting Commenced - March 2014 New Planting - March 2014
New Lawn Area - March 2014 Opening Ceremony by Mayor Ann Fergusson

The design concept was developed by John Buchan (a local Resident and retired TAFE Horticultural and landscape design lecturer).  The development of the garden saw the rebirth of the area from a somewhat simplistic layout to a creation more akin to the original period of landscape design of the late 18th and early 19th centuries; allowing for the integration of the playground area with the passive recreation area and a direct linkage to the main street boulevard.  The redevelopment provides for a new safe playground for children of all ages and the construction of the rotunda provides year-round shelter for users of the park and serves as a valuable performance space.  The garden has been designed as being typical of a layout and manner of planting at the time when the pioneers first arrived – being of Gardenesque style.  The space is contemplative in nature and functions as a village green.

Greg Parker, General Manager Council Services, District Council of Mount Barker welcomed attendees to the official opening of the redeveloped Pioneer Memorial Gardens which was held on the afternoon of 15 April 2014 with invited guests.  Mayor Ann Fergusson cut the ribbon and declared the upgrade to the Pioneer Memorial Gardens open.

This project would not have been possible without the strong and positive collaboration between the Hahndorf Community Association and the Mount Barker Council.  This has resulted in a wonderful new amenity for Hahndorf residents and visitors alike to enjoy while still retaining the important historical aspects of the site.

Naming of Rotunda

A decision was made by the Mount Barker Council in September 2014 to officially name the rotunda in the Pioneer Memorial Gardens the LWE Kramm Memorial Rotunda in honour of the founder of the Town's Band.   Laurie Kramm was instrumental in helping establish the Hahndorf Town Band in the 1920's.

The band's original rotunda was constructed in 1935 on land gifted by Martha Jaensch at Pine Avenue.  However, in 1971 the land was resumed by the Highways Department due to the construction of the South Eastern Freeway.  In 1974, the band moved to its current location in Balhannah Road.

Early Ownership of Site

Information from The Hahndorf Allotments Database.

Old Lot No. New Lot No. Street No. Street Name
  SH 10 71 Main Street
Sub-Lot Year Sold New Owner Occupation Owner's Home Personal
1a 1849 Joseph Remfrey mining captain Kanmantoo Land grant.
  1853 Christian Jaensch farmer Hahndorf GRO title. LTO title 1859.
  1877 James Gates farmer Callington Brother-in-law of C Jaensch.
  1893 Gottlob Jaensch farmer & butcher Salem-on-Bremer Brother-in-law of J Gates. Died 1898.
  1898 Wilhelm Jaensch &
Gottfried Neumann
Murray Bridge
Murray Bridge
Executor. Son of G Jaensch.
Executor. Son-in-law of G Jaensch.
  1899 Wilhelm Jaensch farmer Murray Bridge Died 1936.
  1937 George Jaensch farmer Tailem Bend Son of W Jaensch.
  1937 Mt Barker District Council      


  • 1850 - J Remfrey divided SH 10 into three sub-lots: 

    • Sub-lot 1: Pioneer Gardens;  71 Main St; Haebichs Lane; Hunt Road; Johns Lane.

    • Sub-lot 2:  73-75 Main Street; Haebichs Lane; Hunt Road; Johns Lane.

    • Sub-lot 3:  Haebichs Lane; Hunt Road; Johns Lane. 

  • Further heavy sub-division of the original three sub-lots:

    • Sub-lot 1, Sub-lot 2, Sub-lot 3 categorised as Sub-lot 1a etc, Sub-lot 2a etc, Sub-lot 3a etc. 

    • Sub-lot 1a - 521/119 current title.  Site of the Pioneer Gardens. 

    • Sub-lot 1b - 2405/625 Metric title.  On the same title with No 73 Main St.