Located just 28 km south east of Adelaide, the historic town of Hahndorf is a popular tourist town nestled in the Adelaide Hills. The original inhabitants of the region were the Peramangk people, who named the area Bukartilla, in reference to a swimming hole created by local creeks draining into the Onkaparinga River.
Hahndorf 1894. B8817 State Library of South Australia
Zoned as a state heritage area in 1988 and recognised as Australia's oldest surviving German settlement, the history of the town dates back to December 1838 when 187 settlers arrived aboard the Zebra. Named after Dirk Meinhertz Hahn, the Danish captain of the Zebra, the town was settled by 38 families of Lutheran migrants from the Zebra and 14 families who moved from Klemzig. The names of these families are inscribed on the gates of the Pioneer Memorial gardens, which is also home to a bust of Captain Hahn.
The population grew to 250 people by the mid-1840s, the residents working on their allotments of land and constructing German-Style farm houses. Businesses were established and Hahndorf became an important supplier of fruit and vegetables.
German style fachwerk buildings in Main Street. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Today, Hahndorf is a popular town for local and overseas visitors. Entering Main Street, is like stepping into a picture book village with one hundred year old elm trees lining the main street and many specialist shops and businesses residing in original or restored German style buildings with fachwerk timber framing.
A walk down Main Street reveals a selection of food to impress the most dedicated foodies. In addition to the expected German food, Australian and European food is available. Country style cooking and great coffee, together with cakes, ice cream and sweet shops cater for every taste.
Since 1971, the Old Mill has been an iconic restaurant in Hahndorf. F. W. Wittwer built the first steam-powered flourmill on the site in 1851. It was rebuilt in 1854-55 after the first building burnt down. The building was later used as a chaff and fodder store, before being converted to the current restaurant by John Gordon. Serving breakfast from 8-10am daily and dining options including the largest buffet in the Adelaide Hills, the Old Mill is also available for functions and accommodation.
Farm Shed, one of the many places to eat in Hahndorf. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Hahndorf is home to over 30 dining options including The Haus Café, the German Arms Hotel, serving traditional German and Australian Cuisine and the German Cake shop. Udder Delights, is the perfect place for tasting and purchasing artisan cheeses. You can also enjoy high tea or even cheese making classes by arrangement.
The Candlemaker Shop in Main Street. Photo: hazel Cochrane
Main Street has a variety of unique shops; The Hahndorf Candle maker is a family owned business specialising in handmade fragrant candles and imported handcrafted German Folk Art pieces. The Clocks and Collectibles store is perfect for those needing some time management. Cuckoo clocks, artistic clocks, wall clocks and novelty clocks sit alongside German and Australian souvenirs and gifts.
Gallery Gifts, established 30 years ago, moved to Main Street in Hahndorf and has established itself as a specialist retailer of china and crystal collectibles. It's easy to find, look for the panda at the front of the store.
Clocks and Collectibles. One of the many specialty shops in Main Street. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Several craftspeople manufacture and display their wares for sale in the galleries and shops in Hahndorf. The Hahndorf Academy building has been used as a school, a seminary, a hospital and now a gallery, since it was built 150 years ago. Rescued from impending demolition by Mr. Wotzke, the Hahndorf Academy building has four galleries displaying art by local and interstate artists and reproductions of Hans Heysen paintings, as well as ceramics, handbags, jewellery, glassware and sketches.
The Bukartilla and Tineriba Gallery, South Australia's longest established gallery dealing specifically in Aboriginal Art from Australia and New Guinea, was established in 1980. Located at 77 Main Street and open on the weekends, the Gallery stocks a range of traditional and contemporary art.
A picturesque park in Main Street, with a large grassed area, playground and toilet facilities, the Alec Johnston Park is the ideal place for a bit of relaxation. Named after Alec Johnston, a local dairyman who donated time and money to the town of Hahndorf.
The friendly staff at the Visitor Information Centre located in Main Street provide free information about Hahndorf and the surrounding areas. In the same building, the Museum provides an insight into the early days in Hahndorf.
A walk in Main Street will provide a glimpse of Hahndorf's history and a charming town to discover your new favourite eatery, find that unique gift, or take just a leisurely stroll down the Main Street.
I remember Hahndorf from the mid 1940's..like the photos..especially the 1901 photo..I wonder if there is a dedicated Hahndorf bus service from the city to this town...say 3 times per day,7 days per week.Always see so many overseas tourists there these days..what a very busy place it has become.Very few towns in S.Aust. have such rich appeal.Others that I can think of are ,Strathalbyn.Moonta and Burra.