This year the Veteran Car Club of South Australia chose the old German settlement of Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, in the picturesque Adelaide Hills for its Annual Weekend Rally. Hahndorf was settled by Lutheran migrants escaping religious persecution in their native Prussia. They arrived aboard the “Zebra” on the 28th December 1838, a mere 2 years after the founding of South Australia. The town is named in honour of their Danish ships’ Captain, Dirk Hahn. It was in this setting that 35 veteran cars and 85 people enjoyed a wonderful weekend.
During WW1 Anti-German prejudice was at its zenith.69 Australian towns and suburbs with German originating names were re-named in 1917; Klemzig became Gaza, Blumberg to Birdwood, Grundthal to Verdun etc. Hahndorf became Ambleside, but reverted back to Hahndorf in 1935 with the enactment of the South Australian Nomenclature Act (1935). Many town names have never reverted back.
The South Australian Attorney General Herbert Homburg was forced to resign after he called for calm and the fair treatment of Australians of German descent. 300-400 people of German origin were interred in Adelaide’s Torrens Island Interment Camp in 1914-15. The camp was closed after cases of brutality censored at the time and all of the inmates were moved to Liverpool Camp in New South Wales.
After the war Australia forcibly repatriated 5,276 people back to Germany, some of whom were natural born Australian, and therefore British subjects. Over 50 schools taught German as a language at the outbreak of the war. It was banned in 1917.
With all of this 29 hahndrof men volunteered and served in Australia's armed forces. 7 paid the ultimate sacrifice for Australia.
The German folk of the Adelaide Hills have had their share of history. Today Hahndorf is a lovely village still with its German feel. On the Friday with the threat of raining holding off, the rally we drove from Adelaide, through the Gorge to Gumeracha, Lobethal to Woodside Oval for lunch. From there through the back roads to Nairne in time for a 2.30 check in at our accommodation and rally headquarters at Hahndorf. Friday night was a sit down dinner with some fine local wines to wash down the local food.
The rally at Woodside Cheese Wrights & Melba's Chocolate. The hand-made cheeses were exquisite.
Saturday saw the rally begin with a hearty breakfast. Then off through the back roads to Woodside for morning tea at Woodside Cheese. The handmade cheeses were quite extraordinary and I tried goats cheese for the first time. Next door was Melba’s Chocolate, over priced but still worth the visit. From there we motored back to Hahndorf to “the Cedars”, the family home and studio of the world renowned artist Sir Hans Heysen. With a free afternoon many ventured into the busy Main Street for all sorts of fare. Personally my wife and I enjoyed a nice stroll and a cappuccino with a homemade German “beesting” cake. Our night was a 3 course sit down dinner with competitions and all sorts of fun. I myself retired with a friend from Victoria and some others staying up until the wee hours sampling quite a few German beers.
Sir Hans Heysen's Residence, "The Cedars". The Adelaide Hills are beautiful, particularly in autumn.
Sunday started with a club member cooked breakfast. Always popular, everyone is together, we all chip in and help. Ready to drive at 10 am we left for the back roads to Balhannah and through to Littlehampton. We visited Platform 1 at the Liebelt house, the oldest remaining German style house and still in the same family. With wonderful homemade scones, jam & cream washed down with a mug of piping hot tea, the cold but fine morning was all but forgotten. With tours of the 165 year old house, museum and finishing up with everybody having model train rides around the farm.
Liebelt Farm & Platform 1 Railway Museum. Same family for 6 generations. Sadly the 2014 rally was over and the planning now begins for 2015!
I never realized that anti-German prejudice in WWI had been so extreme in Austtralia. We had some here. German was widely spoken in the US before WWI, and there were German-language newspapers, but the language became highly unpopular and the newspapers disappeared. I went to high school in Montclair, NJ, an upscale town with good schools. You could take French, Spanish, Latin or Italian but, since 1917, not German. I graduated in 1953! My wife, Joan's, maternal grandfather was in the export business in WWI. His name was Friedrich Steinkamp, and his boss told him to Americanize it or be fired. He changed it to Fred Stone Walden. Joan was stunned to learn this for the first time when her (Joan's) daughter was asking grandma, Joan's mother, some family history questions about 30 years ago.
Our national shame came a generation later, with the forcible internment during WWII of not only Japanese immigrants but also native-born Americans of Japanese descent. There was no comparable roundup of Americans of German descent - but, of course, they were white and the Japanese-Americans weren't. At that time, being non-white wasn't a good idea.
David, thank you for posting the beautiful pictures of your tour. Very green compared to other pictures I have see of Australia. I was wondering in Keith Wilson or Merv Kroll were on that tour?
My Great Grandfather came to the U.S. in the late 1800's. During WWI, for fear of reprisal, some in the family changed their last name to "Van Nordheim" vice "Von Nordheim". Van is considered Dutch and not German. The family settled in Glenvil Nebraska where my Grandfather and other members of the family are buried in a family plot at the local Cemetery. The Japanese had it much worse with forcible internment.
My Parents talked about some Italian prisoners of war world II that were brought to the U.S. and housed in special POW camps. Some of those that were trusted were given a day pass and allowed to shop in town towards the end of the war. They did not cause any problems as they were much better off here and wanted to stay. At the end of the war they were sent back. Many Japanese immigrants and native-born Americans lost their homes and were never repaid for what they lost.
G'Day Les,Merv Kroll was at a veteran club function in Brisbane with his 1914 Twombley and Keith Wilson was home here in Allora mucking about with his Maxwell. Handorf is over a thousand miles from Brisbane and about 999 from Allora don't often go there for the weekend.I have a cuppa with Keith every day or so will tell him you were asking.
David, as always a great read and a learning experience.
G'Day Doug, If you see Keith Wilson & Marie Phillips, tell them I mailed the Maxwell Mag. & carb....he should receive it in approx. 10 day's. I also helped Frank Shelley?? on getting his 1910 1cyl. REO. Wish it was just a hop, skip and jump from here to there....would like to share a cuppa together. It's a small world....just a lot of water between. Hope they find the plane soon.
G'Day Doug and all across the big pond. On the HCCA web site, I have advertised a 1908 Staver for the Widow of a very good friend. Please pass the word around as it is a Beautiful car and the restoration is excellent. I am not receiving anything for advertising/help selling the car....only doing what I would hope someone else would do for my wife if she was faced with the same situation. Also, the 1910 1cyl. REO that Frank has came from the same Widow. This is her last car for sale....I finished selling all the early car parts for her at the Bakersfield swap meet last week. Things were priced to find new homes and they did!.
Just trying to do the right thing for good friends.