Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations      HubGarden      Recipes
1 million Australian readers every month      list your event

The Little Hamlet of Witta

Home > Sunshine Coast > Adventure | Day Trips | Walks
by Elaine (subscribe)
Impromptu adventuring, exploring our backyard and then putting pen to paper, hoping to entice you to try one, if not all, of our escapades, is my true reward!
Published September 20th 2016
Exploring is for the Anytime Adventurer
The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Breathtaking Views of the Mary Valley - Image: Elaine de Wet


Who has ever heard of Witta? We certainly hadn't, but soon discovered this little hamlet in the Sunshine Coast Region of Queensland, somewhere between Maleny and Kenilworth. In the 2011 census, Witta had a population of 1 230 people - that's how small it is - we didn't even see a traffic light!

We thought that instead of braving the crowds of the Brisbane Oktoberfest, we would attend the Wittafest 2016 to enjoy everything 'German' that Witta has to offer.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
What or Who is Teutoburg - Image: Elaine de Wet


In the 1880's this little hamlet was initially known as Teutoburgh, as the first settlers were German - it is believed that the name of Teutoburgh is a reference to the Teutoburg Wald (Forest) in Germany, which was the location of a famous battle. These initial settlers arrived from the Logan District near Brisbane where a substantial German population had been established in Alberton, Waterford and Bethania. Land was made available for lease to 'selectors' who paid a monthly rent to the government and promised to satisfy certain stringent conditions:

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Five Hard Years - Image: Elaine de Wet



All selections taken up in the district were selected at 2/6 per acre;
The annual rental had to be paid before the 31 March, if the rent was not paid the farmers would lose their right to the land;
The selector had to reside on the land continuously for a term of five years, if they had a six month's absence the 'selection' and all improvements reverted back to 'Her Majesty' (with the huge distances these farmers had to travel to sell their produce, a six month's absence was not an impossibility);
An expenditure of ten shillings per acre in substantial and permanent improvements had to be made over the five years; and
The selector also had to provide proof of the lease conditions being met and pay for a Deed of Grant within six months of the lease expiring.


The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Imagine farming in such stunning surrounds - Image: Elaine de Wet


These first settlers had a tough life - having to provide sustainable farming for their families, so farmed diversely with cattle, pigs and even vineyards - the wine from the latter being used as an anaesthetic for dental problems - now to convince my dentist that a wine should be the pre-cursor to any dental work!

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Wine for dental work, works for me - Image: Elaine de Wet


At the right time of the year, the farmers collected their whey-fed pigs together and herded them in one group to the train in Landsborough - this was a three day exercise. A German wagon carrying a pierced sack of corn left a tempting trail for the pigs to follow. The pigs spent the first night near Witta, the second night was on a property in Maleny and on the third and final day, they were herded down the Range to Landsborough, where they were loaded onto a train bound for Brisbane. This might sound like a fun excursion, but one has to remember that the farmers had to get back to their farms every day for milking and other daily chores.

The hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Witta's General Store - The only store in town - Image: Elaine de Wet


Witta offers visitors the opportunity to stroll the few streets that make up the hamlet or perhaps pop in to the General Store, which, is the only store in town, but a very good starting point to start one's exploration of the little town. Though the General Store is a modern-day building, it replaced the original older store on the same site. The original Witta School is now a community facility with shady picnic areas and tables.

The people of Witta have two secrets that they are very proud of:

Just across the road from the General Store is what the locals boast are the best views of the head of the Mary Valley that give rise to the Mary River (I can definitely confirm this, the views are absolutely breathtaking) and the second secret is historical - the old Witta Cemetery.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
One has to agree with the locals, their Views are Spectacular - Image: Elaine de Wet


A stroll around Witta Cemetery provides an insightful look at the early settlers - with the names of the first German families who settled in Witta. Pictures and symbols accompany many of the inscriptions on the tombstones, which apparently indicate the interests of the deceased for example musical notes, a piano, horse rider, fisherman or sailing ships. Then there are very unusual epitaphs like 'it's not the first game that counts, it's the last one.'

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Witta Cemetery Gates - Image: www.commons.wikimedia.org


Back to the present-day Witta - as I said before our aim was to attend the Wittafest 2016. Needless to say, Witta is so little, we actually drove straight through it, before we realised we had gone too far. A 'U-ey' was in order and back to the General Store we went, to ask directions.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Blackall Range Growers' Market - Image: Elaine de Wet


The first park we arrived at where there were stalls and people milling around - yes, of course we presumed this was IT - but actually soon discovered was the Blackall Range Growers' Market, held every third Saturday of the month, rain, hail or shine. This Growers' Market showcases the best in small producers on the Blackall Range with seasonal fruit and vegetables, various fresh meats, herbs and plants. Well worth a visit if you're ever in the area.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Entertainment at the Blackall Range Growers' Market - Image: Elaine de Wet


And just across the road we found what we were actually looking for - the Wittafest 2016.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Teeny Weeny Signage for Wittafest 2016 - Image: Elaine de Wet


Wittafest is a free, family event that aims to bring people together to share their stories of Witta, enjoy the live music, play traditional games or partake in guided walks i.e. the Cemetery; and to enjoy German beer, Bratwurst (sausage) and Sauerkraut. Proceeds from this year's event were for the Witta Rec Club. The Fest focused on the early 1900's with stories of various settler families, the dairy boom and World War One when Teutoburg changed its name to Witta.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Vintage Cars on Display - Image: Elaine de Wet


We had a good wonder around, and as it was lunchtime, managed to secure ourselves a Bratwurst Roll (with or without Sauerkraut) and sat down in the midday sun to enjoy the happenings around us. Though a small event, one must remember that Witta is only a tiny hamlet, there were quite a few people participating in the various games or just sitting back, enjoying the sun and listening to the music. We chatted to a few of the people, who had all come in to Witta to experience first-hand what this little town has to offer.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Beautifully-crafted Bench in Commemoration of the Teutoburg Pioneers from the 1800's - Image: Elaine de Wet


On leaving the Wittafest, we came upon the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, the tiniest, quaintest little Church - established in 1892 - though the present delightful little Church is dated 1910 and is still very much in use for church services, weddings etc. In the stunning gardens to the side of the Church is a beautifully-crafted bench in commemoration of the Teutoburg Pioneers from the 1800's.

The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Dated 1910 - Image: Elaine de Wet


The Hamlet of Witta, German descendants, between Maleny and Kenilworth, historical value, breathtaking views of the Mary Valley, Witta Cemetery, Blackall Range Growers' Market, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church circa 1910, quaint little hamlet
Inside the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church - Image: Elaine de Wet


All in all, it was a delightful day spent exploring the little hamlet of Witta - if ever you're on route to Kenilworth, don't just pass by Witta, stop and enjoy the charm of this little town.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  67
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? To experience first-hand a little Hamlet in the Sunshine Coast Region
When: Exploring is for the any-time Adventurer
Where: Witta, Queensland
Cost: Free to explore
Your Comment
Mary Valley looks beautiful, nice article
by RC (score: 3|1215) 205 days ago
Hi Elaine. Love your photos, especially the Mary Valley, such depth. Witta sounds like a great place to visit.
by Rachel Timmins (score: 1|62) 335 days ago
Articles from other cities
Top Events
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists
Questions