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Germans

The first significant numbers of Germans arrived in the colony of South Australia in 1838. They were 'Old Lutherans' who were escaping religious persecution in their homeland. The Germans established settlements such as Klemzig (on the River Torrens, now an Adelaide suburb), Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills and Bethany in the Barossa Valley. Many of the settlements were self-contained but generally the Germans were welcomed into South Australian society.

Anti-German sentiment developed upon the outbreak of World War One in 1914. Internment was introduced and some Germans changed or anglicised their names. The Nomenclature Act of 1917 changed 69 German place names in South Australia. For example, Petersburg became Peterborough, Hahndorf became Ambleside, Lobethal became Tweedvale, Bethanien became Bethany, Klemzig became Gaza and Blumberg became Birdwood. Some were changed back in 1935 and 1986 and others remain. Anti-German sentiment was felt again in World War Two but not as vehemently. All German immigration to Australia ceased at this time.

Today German immigrants and their descendents make up a significant proportion of the South Australian population. Their influence has been widely felt, particularly in areas such as the Barossa Valley which has developed a regional cuisine based on German foods and where the wine industry owes much to the knowledge and hard-work of German immigrants.

Adelaide Liedertafel Ladies' & Gentlemans' Social
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Adelaider Liedertafel
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Christliches Gesang-buch : [title page]
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German emigration to South Australia
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German house, Paechtown
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German house, Paechtown
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Klemzic, a village of German settlers
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Notes and queries: German place names
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Report on enemy place names
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Righting a wrong: old names return
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Schuetzenfest, Hahndorf
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Schuetzenfest, Hahndorf
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