Anti-German Sentiments in “Little Germany” during the Great War.

Anti-German Sentiments in “Little Germany” during the Great War.
Eudunda, like Loxton and Tanunda were tagged “Little Germany” during the Great War, because of their large German communities and the influence of the Lutheran Church.
Early History of Eudunda.
Eudunda –German Settlers Town.

The Government extended the Kapunda railway to Eudunda in 1878. This provided a great boost to the newly settled town which had been surveyed in 1872. Eudunda was selected as a town site on the eastern side of the Mt Loft Ranges at 415 meters above sea level, with annual rainfall of 450 mm. To the east of Eudunda the rainfall drops sharply and at 250mm Goyder’s Line is crossed, which depicts the limit of reliable cereal cropping land. Eudunda is often one of the coldest places in SA during the winter months. The town was established in 1872 a few years prior to the arrival of the railway and it was located near a permanent spring. A town water supply was always essential in the 19th century. Thus the name Eudunda is of aboriginal derivation, Ngadjuri meaning “sheltered water or spring.” This water supply was crucial for the sheep and cattle overlanders coming down from Morgan. In 1872 A & G Neumann erected a flour mill, and in 1874 Mr. Appelt opened his general store, having also been appointed Postmaster. The earliest settlers were second generation Lutheran Germans moving on from the Barossa Valley. With the opening of the railway to the Adelaide in 1878 the district thrived. To complement their flour mill Laucke’s established a chaff mill in Kapunda Street and the Eudunda Bakery has been in operation for over 100 years. Eudunda foundries provided employment for many town dwellers, especially the Lutz Farm Machinery Foundry which operated 1892-1905 until it was taken over as Jansen’s Foundry (operated 1905-1951). This foundry survived until recently and was last being run by a Canadian company trading as Emco-Wheaton in the 1980s. It still employed 30 men in the 1980s. A new engineering firm established in Eudunda in 1985 called Buschutz Engineering. The company now employs 20 staff producing hay conditioners, water tanks, silos, fertilizer spreaders and under vine feeders. Edwin Davey the successful flour miller from Angaston later had a second flour mill built in Eudunda to complement his mills in Salisbury, Port Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. This second flour mill later became Laucke’s mill. It opened in 1879 and still stands in Kapunda Road. But before the industry got under way the hotels opened! The first was the Eudunda Hotel which opened in 1873 (what we see today is the 1886 building) and the Royal Hotel which was built as a grand two storey structure in 1878. The first banking service operated from Appelt’s Store in 1877 with the first National Bank (a house type building) being erected in 1888. When it opened, all advertisements for its services were in German. Another indication of the strong German origins of the town was the establishment of the Eudunda Club in 1888 as a club for German workingmen, especially employees of the local foundry. The Club, like German schools etc was closed by Act of parliament in 1917 but it re-opened in 1919. It is still operating in Bruce Street. The Club built the Centenary Hall in 1900 which became the town Institute building when the Town Council took it over.

Police were stationed in Eudunda from 1877 but the first police station was not built until 1883. The town had an early fire station, and like most SA towns the hospital was not opened until the 1920s. It opened in 1922. The first government school opened for classes in 1878 in a large brick and stone Gothic style building. During World War One it became a Higher Primary School offering classes for year 8 and year 9 students. A new building was provided for the town in 1946 and opened as Eudunda Area School (which had been established in 1943) as around half a dozen outlying schools had been closed during the Second World War. From that time children were bussed into Eudunda Area School. At some stage the old 1878 school buildings were demolished. The Lutheran churches provided some early school classes but Emmaus Lutheran Church did not open a formal school until 1904 in Eudunda. The school was closed by state legislation in 1917 during World War One, but it re-opened in 1925 and still operates today with over 200 enrolments. Lutheran church services were mainly conducted in German until the 1920s. The last German language church services in the district were held at Point Pass Lutheran Church in 1939. The outbreak of World War Two finally stopped the German language services.
The histories of the churches in Eudunda show the strong Lutheran heritage. Emmaus congregation formed a Lutheran Church in 1871 as the town began. They built a fine church in 1884 at a cost of £1,100. Another Lutheran congregation formed in 1885 and built a second Lutheran Church, St Paul’s in 1893. St Paul’s finally closed in 1979 and a new church for the combined congregations was erected in 1980 called St John’s. The Anglican Church was set up in 1889 when they purchased a former Lutheran Church. It is called St Hilda’s. The Methodist Church was opened in 1885. There is also a Catholic Church in Eudunda.
Among the many successful businesses in Eudunda was a Wiesner and Company timber and hardware merchant. Their impressive warehouse and store still remains in the town. The Wiesner family started a blacksmith and foundry business in Eudunda in 1884 which eventually employed 50 people. In 1905 they sold that business and opened the iron mongers and furniture store in large two storey premises to which they added. It became the largest hardware and furniture store outside of Adelaide. It sold everything from pianos, china, glassware and silver cutlery to iron, nails, tools and timber and sewing machines. Johannes Wiesner and his son Adolph ran the business until it was sold in 1951 but they had downsized it in 1945 when they sold they sold part of the warehouse to the Masonic Lodge. Interestingly Adolph married an English girl Mary Cranston and he became a Methodist and his grandson became a Methodist Minister.
When the government extended the railway form Kapunda to Eudunda in 1878 they wanted to push it further across the Murray Flats to Morgan. Why, one might ask? Well, they wanted to tap into the lucrative river trade that came down from New South Wales. Wool was shipped down the Darling and Murray and supplies shipped up the river to many NSW properties. By having a railway to Morgan and extensive wharves there, the SA government could transport the wool to Port Adelaide for transshipping to Europe. The rise of Morgan, of course, was to mean the demise of the major shipping ports lower down the Murray such as Milang, Goolwa and Murray Bridge. Because this trade was so important economically the train line crossed the flat through Mount Mary to Morgan in 1878. During the 1890s a quarter of ALL wool exported from SA came from other colonies, mainly NSW but some also came from Queensland and Victoria. Once the South Australian Railways were making a profit (their first profits were in 1907) they also extended the railway from Eudunda to Robertstown in 1914. Passenger services to Robertstown ceased in 1962. The Morgan railway was the most profitable in the state.
There are five main stories, which shed light on the anti-German sentiment within Eudunda.

1 Radio Tansmitter.1915
Locals living in Eudunda recall that at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, some 8 kilometres from Eudunda, was the scene of military paranoia during the Great War. There were stories told, regarding a radio transmitter positioned in the church steeple, that messages were being transmitted to Germany. Furthermore, the 4th Military District army actually sent a small group of army personnel to raid the church, much to the amusement of the locals.

Photo courtesy from Mr M Reseigh.Eudunda. Photo of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Point Pass.

2 Pastor Nickel Affair.
Theodor August Friedrich Wilhelm Nickel, Lutheran clergyman, was born on 21 July 1865 at Gustrow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, second son and youngest child of Dr Theodor Nickel, pastor and teacher, and his wife Mathilde. Educated at Gustrow, in 1884 he began training at Concordia Seminary, St Louis, Missouri, U.S.A., an institution of the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio. He graduated in 1888 and was ordained into the Lutheran ministry on 7 October, his first pastorate being in Wisconsin. On 19 October 1890, at Berlin, Wisconsin, Nickel married Lydia, and he became an American citizen. In 1901 he accepted a call to Eudunda, South Australia, a parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Australia. He was president of South Australian synod in 1902-13 and of the Australia-wide synod in 1903-23.
Pastor Nickel was one of the first Lutheran Pastors to declare the loyalty of Lutherans to the British Empire. When the Great War broke out between Germany and the Great War Pastor Theodore Nickel, head of the Lutheran congregation at Eudunda ,sent a telegram to the Governor –General ,Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson ,to assure the Australian government and people of the loyalty of the German-Australian community .Nickel was not only speaking on behalf of his own parishioners but for “all the members of our church:: as the elected president of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Australia .
The cable stated:
“Although we deeply deplore that Great Britain has been involved in the European conflict and has been compelled to declare war against Germany,the land of our fathers ,we are well aware of our duty as British subjects and shall always be willing to defend the honour of our beloved King and of our dear country with good and chattels ,and body and life”.      20/08/1914 Der Lutherische Kirchenbote fur Australien [Hochkirch South Australia]. 41.No.17 [20 August 1914].p.133
The quote is important as it shows the pledge of loyalty demonstrates that whose side German-Australians were on and that they would and did fight for the new country
In 1915 Nickel was interned for one month and suffered considerable indignity. It was stated that he was arrested on trumped-up charges during WWI, and he was only released after the strenuous efforts of his local member of parliament. Patrick MacMahon Glynn. As it turned out he was one of the lucky Germans for others, including the Australian-born Attorney-General of South Australia, Hermann Robert Homburg (who resigned his position), was less fortunate. Nickel became pastor of Tarrington (Hochkirch), Victoria, in 1917.
Nickel served the Lutheran Free Church in Germany from 1923; he ministered at Wittingen and Hamburg and became president of the Lutheran Free Church of Saxony and Other States next year. He retired in 1930 and moved to Gustrow, but returned to Australia in 1935, and settled at Albury, N. S. Wales., to be near his family. He continued to preach throughout World War II.
Nickel died at Albury on 25 November 1953 and was buried at Trinity Lutheran cemetery.

3 The Blockade.
Major M W Logan from the 4th Military District and men from the citizens forces arrived in Eudunda 3/2/1915.They raided businesses , houses and set up a road block at either end of the Main street ,to check on German-Australians living in Eudunda. They interrogated all who came and left the town. Scores of naturalized Germans and Australian –born residents were stopped.Nothing unusual was found. What are interesting in this event were the motivations of the Army. The raid was conducted because information of disloyalty had been received. The real intent of the raid and blockade was to serve as a warning to residents that the authorities’ were determined to suppress any disloyal feeling and statements.
The raid was also to speak to one particular resident –who was allegedly acting disloyal.
The army and Major Logan also ventured out to the outer regions of Eudunda.

4 Eudunda Co-operative Store. C

Background: The co-operative was established on the principles of the Rochdale Society in 1896, commencing as a group of traders in firewood, and meeting in a hotel parlour which was rent-free. Like the Tanunda Club, it aims were to advance mutual welfare within the German-Australian community.

The reasons for its establishment lie in the economic conditions of the 1890s. Farmers used mallee roots as a means of getting ready cash. As the 1890s depression deepened, the storekeepers who were acting as middlemen, refused to pay in cash, insisting instead that the value of the wood be taken in goods. As a result Thomas Roberts suggested they trade directly on the Adelaide market and when this suggestion was agreed to a committee was established and a city representative appointed. While this venture was successful, farmers wanted more from the organisation and so the co-operative was established. The first meeting was held in December 1895 at the Eudunda Hotel. The owner of the hotel, Mr E.A. Mann, was to become part of the Society's board of management. The constitution and rules were adopted in January 1896. Activities commenced immediately with wood selling, and in December 1986 purchased their first store. Other stores followed in the next few years, often in response to local demands. The growth of the Society has continued over the years to the present time.
By March 1915, anti-German sentiment could be found throughout the State, There were accusations made by locals in Eudunda that the Eudunda Farmers Co-operative store was a “Hun” establishment.
When, on 5 August 1914, Joseph Cook, the Prime Minister, told Australians that war was declared between Britain and Germany. At first, this declaration brought few fears to those whose forbears were of German extraction.
However by March 1915, the tide had turned against the German-Australian community. Rumours of sedition and anti-German sentiments were on an upward spiral.Anti-German hysteria created by the war saw the club closed by the War Precautions regulations’.
Like the Tanunda Club the Eudunda Club did not open until late 1919.
5 Eudunda Club.
Eudunda Club in South Australia. Founded as German Workingman’s Club in 1888 as a very Lutheran town. The Eudunda Club, a club with a German background, a club that was known as “The Eudunda Unterhaltungs Club” a name that implies recreation and mutual welfare. At the outset, the Eudunda Club ,were mainly employees from Weisner &Helbig who operated foundry adjacent to the Club
The building of the “Century Hall” is a good example of the Teutonic willingness to assimilate into the community rather than selling out to the enemy.
From 1915 onwards , anti-German hysteria were rife in Eudunda ,and this forced the Club to close down.
.The Club, like German schools etc was closed by Act of parliament in 1917 but it re-opened in 1919.
Like to thank Mr Marcus Reseigh for proving the photographs and information to this article.