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30 June 1917 German schools closed

 30 June 1917   German schools closed

The 30 June 1917 saw the closure of all German schools in South Australia. These schools were mainly run by the Lutheran Church. In some cases the South Australian government then leased the buildings and took over the education of the children, while in others, such as the Hahndorf Lutheran School, the children were moved into the local public school. This action was the culmination of agitation, which began soon after the commencement of World War I, on the part of some people against anything German.

In August 1916 a resolution was passed in the House of Assembly that names of towns and districts in South Australia which indicated a foreign enemy origin should be altered. A Nomenclature Committee was appointed to suggest new names. Thus, in spite of the disruption and confusion caused by the changes, and despite the fact that many German immigrants had helped to develop South Australia from the beginning of settlement, all German names were changed. The most notable were Blumberg to Birdwood (after a British General), Germantown Hill to Vimy Ridge (scene of a battle in France), Grunthal to Verdun and Klemzig to Gaza (other battles), and Hahndorf to Ambleside. Lobethal became Tweedvale, because of the woollen mills there. Hergott Springs became Marree and Petersburg was anglicised to Peterborough. In 1935 only some of these towns reverted to their original German names.

Reg Butler, Lean Times and Lively Days Hahndorf Primary School 1879-1979, Investigator Press, 1979, pp. 93-95.
R.G.L. Praite, German Place Names in South Australia,  1973.

Tags: German schools, German settlers World War One