Carlsruhe, South Australia

Carlsruhe

The first German Lutheran families arrived in the area in 1856. They too would make a lasting contribution to South Australia's history and heritage. Among them was Carl Ahrens after whom the settlement was named. Church services were held in private homes or wherever else they could before there were enough people and money to build a proper church. This became possible in 1864 when St Johnís Lutheran Church was built.

Among some of the early births were Maria Sophie Friedricke Matthias on 26 August 1856, Anna Lydia Ey on 27 January 1867, Heinrich Frederick Carl Kahl on 17 May 1868, Anna Victoria Osier on 3 October 1868, William John Charles Kahl on 19 July 1869, Heinrich Carl Eckermann on 16 December 1872 and his future wife Maria Johanna Milde born on 4 July 1873. They were later married at Carlsruhe on 9 February 1891.

Another important facility needed was a school. At first they were held in any room available, then in the chapel and later the church. Both the church and school were highly valued by these settlers who had paid for most of the building and running costs.

From 1868-1874 Hugo Becker was the teacher at Carlsruhe. Being part of the Waterloo District Council the Council granted £2.7.6 for prizes at the Carlsruhe school in October 1871 and again in 1872. The School and its students were regularly examined by the Council and its own School Board members.

In March 1873 Becker was unable to admit more students and suggested they should enrol at the Waterloo school. This did not find favour with the local parents. In June 1873 the Board suggested that Becker should relocate to Waterloo. Becker was unwilling to do so as Ďhe held his present position under certain conditions which he could not break without offending the whole of his countrymen in the neighbourhood who formed at least 7/8 of the population of the districtí.

The Carlsruhe school would be kept open with or without a licence. Very few children would follow him to Waterloo, so that he would lose thereby. Another important reason for not going was that at Waterloo there was no residence attached to the schoolhouse. In July 1873 the District Council even approved repairs to the road between Waterloo and Carlsruhe.

In October 1873 both the School and its students were examined. As many as 73 students were present. Examiners were the Rev Julius RM Ey, W Sanders and T Griffin. JMR Ey was born at Clausthal, Hanover on 29 March 1837. He arrived at Port Adelaide in 1855. For 13 years he taught at Klemzig, Mount Torrens, Hahndorf, Blumberg and Carlsruhe. He was ordained in 1868 as a Lutheran Minister.

In June 1874 Hugo Becker stated that it had been resolved to enlarge the schoolhouse to 20x20 feet after the harvest as parents were still busy at present bringing it in. In February 1875 Becker resigned on account of insufficiency of room for school purposes. A month later Rudolph Miethke applied for a licence to teach. The School Council Meeting, presided by Rev. Ey, considered the appointment of teachers, especially religious teaching. Wishes of parents also very important.

Finally in 1876 the Carlsruhe school was built On 21 June 1887 Queen Victoriaís Jubilee was celebrated at the new Carlsruhe School. The Church Brass Band under leadership of F Pluckhahn was also in attendance. Their music was appreciated far and wide as was shown in February 1898 when Carlsruhe Brass Band provided the entertainment at the Martindale races.

The school had been nicely decorated with English and German flags. Rev. G Homann addressed the children hoping that they would pray for the Queen. Otto Gustav Hermann Huebner, appointed in 1878, delivered a speech in English mentioning that the Lutherans had ample reasons to be thankful to God that under the rule of their beloved Queen they enjoyed religious freedom and were allowed to build churches and schools without interference from the State.

Huebner was born in Rundle Street, Adelaide on 23 March 1854 the sixth child of Johann Gottlieb and Amalia Theresa. Although he was born in Australia he was raised in a Lutheran German environment where his native language was as much German as it was English. On 31 July 1879, he married Emilie Geyer, born at Gruenberg on 31 July 1859, at the Tanunda Lutheran Church.

In September 1901, after 23 years at Carlsruhe, Otto Huebner was presented with a handsome watch and chain by JW Giersch on behalf of the congregation as a token of the esteem in which he was held. He would be leaving for Hahndorf, where he remained for another 13 years. About 100 people were present. Mr Beck of Dutton would replace him.

On 5 October 1892 Rev. E Homann and his wife celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. A large number of the Lutheran congregation assembled at the parsonage and Church Wardens C Schmidt and W Kahl presented the happy couple with a beautiful silver fruit stand.

Another important event held at Carlsruhe was on 6 February 1899 was the Lutheran Teachersí Conference. Huebner was re-elected president and B Hoff from Monarto secretary. Among the papers read and discussed were; Biblical History by A Lutz from Springton, Lutherís views on Education by A Brauer from Hahndorf and English Spelling by F Wotzke from Rhine Villa.

On 3 September 1899 a Welcome Evening was held for Rev J Homann who had returned from America after nine years of theological studies. He was born on 14 September 1875, at the Lutheran Parsonage Flinders Street Adelaide, the son of Paster and Mrs E Homann. In 1887 he moved with his parents to Carlsruhe. After completing his studies in America he returned to Carlsruhe where he was ordained. He was stationed at different times at Appila, Broken Hill, Quorn, Pekina, Blyth, Hoyleton, Auburn, Peters Hill, Tothills Creek, Saddleworth and Mannanarie. In 1901 he replaced his father at Carlsruhe where he remained until May 1922.

In February 1904 Harvest thanksgiving service was held in St Johnís Church when Pastor J Homann officiated. New carpets and artificial flowers were used for the first time. The Church was once again beautifully decorated.

In March 1910 the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Australia assembled at Carlsruhe for its annual meeting. Among those present were the Revs J Homann of Carlsruhe, H Harms of Blumberg, E Schulz of Appila, B Schwarz of Denial Bay, J Georg of Rosenthal and DW Georg of Australia Plains as well as several from interstate. Teachers were represented by T Nickel of Eudunda, CF Beck of Waterloo, C Brauer of Lobethal, B Hoff of Monarto, E Koch of Bower and C Kuchel of Peterís Hill.

It was reported that the district comprised 81 congregations, 25 pastors, 7689 souls, 1622 voting members, 5140 communicants, 40 schools attended by 2048 students under the charge of 40 teachers. During the past year £2292 had been raised by voluntary contributions for church purposes. This was exclusive of all money collected for payment of salaries and the building and upkeep of churches and schools.

During the First World War, anti-German sentiment became very prominent in Australia, and laws were passed to close the German schools. Otto Huebner did his best to fight this, but to no avail. In 1918 Carlsruhe was changed to Kunden as a result of the resentment and hostility towards all things German because of the Great War

There is also a Carlsruhe in Victoria in the Shire of Macedon Ranges between Woodend and Kyneton. Its claim to fame is that Robert O'Hara Burke was an Inspector of Police there before his attempt to cross Australia.
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Carlsruhe Cemetery

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