Hahndorf – Little Germany in the Adelaide Hills

As far is its European history is concerned, Australia began life as a British penal colony, and so the first non-aboriginal people to settle here were the dregs of British society. When you consider what those `dregs’ have achieved in just over 200 years, then they must have been industrious people indeed.

Australia wasn’t just a penal settlement, as many people fled persecution, usually due their beliefs, in Europe; so the Great Southern Land was a great place to start a new life as there were few prejudices here at that time.

South Australia was fortunate as it was settled as a penal colony, so it was an ideal place for free settlers to inhabit.

That state attracted many Germans, and so the South Australian town of Hahndorf was settled by German-speaking Lutherans from Eastern Europe, making it Australia’s oldest original non-English migrant settlement.

And it is that diverse culture, with its prim European tradition and customs, which sets Hahndorf apart as a very Germanic town indeed.

Those early settlers liked to build from timber and brick, whereas much of Adelaide was built from bluestone, and today many of those gorgeous buildings still remain intact, and have been restored to their former glory.

Hahndorf is just 25 minutes drive from the centre of Adelaide, but it is so serene it seems to be a million miles away from the bustling city.

Perched in the Adelaide Hills, its attractive main street is framed by a canopy of leafy trees; its many shops and restaurants testify to the fact that Hahndorf has been discovered by artisans and providores who share a longing to create quality goods out of local produce.

The town is famous for its home made cheeses, chocolates, pickles and jams, and for having several excellent wineries and breweries right on its doorstep.

This tradition of making quality food and wines harks back to those first settlers whose productivity made Hahndorf the food bowl of Adelaide.

When you visit Hahndorf and see for yourself just how pretty it is; you can understand why one of Australia’s favourite landscape artists, Sir Hans Heysen, made Hahndorf his home. This artist, who is acknowledged as being the first to paint the Australian bush as it actually was, found much of his inspiration in the local area, and you can appreciate his work when you visit his Hahndorf studio, The Cedars.

That early German influence is celebrated at the German Heritage Museum; and with the German fare which is offered at a number of the local hotels.

Although it has a tremendous tradition, Hahndorf is not a town that is lost in the past.

Modern Australian cuisine is also readily available at many of the town’s excellent restaurants, which number over 30, and there is plenty of contemporary accommodation available so that you might stay a few days to soak up the atmosphere of this pretty little place.

1 comment to Hahndorf – Little Germany in the Adelaide Hills

  • judy of Morley

    We have been to this Wonderfull Little Village,We were fortunate,to be able to go around Xmas Time,were(it is Advertised ALL of the Village)has Xmas Light’s We found all wasn’t BUT the one’s that were ,were just Wonderfull,and well well worth the visit,at that Time of the Year,and at other Time’s as well.

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