Friends of Lutheran Archives


The Friends of Lutheran Archives (FoLA) is a group whose goal is to encourage the collection and preservation of archival material and to promote the work of the Lutheran Archives. Become a Friend of the Lutheran Archives. Email FoLA for information, subscription rates, publications, outings, etc.

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To pay for your membership or make a donation to Friends of Lutheran Archives please click the link to LCA Online:

Upcoming Events

Silver Lies Golden Truths: Broken Hill, a gentle German and two world wars

Speaker: Christine Ellis
Monday 18 April at 7.30pm
Bethlehem House, Sudholz Pl, Adelaide

Author Christine Ellis will talk about her book Silver Lies Golden Truths: Broken Hill, a gentle German and two world wars.

The book tracks the life of her grandfather Reinhold (Jack) Schuster who was a trained soldier in the German Armeekorps but, by circumstance, spent the war years as an underground miner in Broken Hill. In telling Jack’s story, Christine narrates a different history for Broken Hill from that usually told – and unearths significant detail about the establishment of the Lutheran Church there.

The book provides an insight into what life was like for so-called enemy aliens in Australia during World War I and the early part of World War II. It also describes the difficulties of a home mission in a town where, as Pastor Elmore Zweck noted, The hot, dusty work underground sends men to hotels rather than churches.

Voices from the Desert

Speaker: Rob Borgas
Monday 23 May at 7.30pm
Bethlehem House, Sudholz Pl, Adelaide

On its 2015 BOOMERANG concert tour to Germany, the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir made a historic visit to the original missionary training centres of Hermannsburg and Neuendettelsau. This was their first visit in 140 years since the missionaries left Germany.

Pastor Rob Borgas reflects on their contribution to Central Australian music, art, and the work of the Finke River Mission, past and present. Rob is Parish Pastor at the Finke River Mission Parish and Zone Pastor/Counsellor for the Northern Territory Zone.

German Heritage Research Group

Where Schools Flourish the Nation Prospers: German Schooling in SA - History Month Seminar
Saturday 28 May 9.00am – 4.30pm
Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, Adelaide University, North Tce, Adelaide
Registration fee $40 includes lunch and refreshments.

It was Martin Luther who said where schools flourish, the nation prospers, and this philosophy was embraced wherever German and Lutheran communities were found. South Australia, with its significant German population, was no exception. Using archival documents, including pupils' workbooks and teacher roll books, timetables and diaries, this seminar offers brief talks giving a lively glimpse into our forebears' school days. Bookings essential through Lutheran Archives.

Gerstäcker's Travels in Australia

Speaker: Dr Peter Monteath
Monday 27 June at 7.30pm
Bethlehem House, Sudholz Pl, Adelaide

2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth in Hamburg of Friedrich Gerstäcker. A traveller in many parts of the world, Gerstäcker made his way to Australia in 1851, and he spent several months here at a crucial stage of Australian history. He was particularly keen to visit fellow Germans in South Australia, and to this end he staged a remarkable journey down the Murray River, in part in a canoe which he built himself. Gerstäcker was an acute and insightful observer of both the natural world and of Australian society. When he returned to Germany, via a visit to Java, he wrote and published his impressions of Australia, which have now been translated into English. The presentation will discuss Gerstäcker’s travels in Australia as well as his very entertaining literary account of them.

Peter Monteath teaches history at Flinders University. He is the editor of Germans: Travellers, Settlers and Their Descendants in South Australia (2011), and of Friedrich Gerstäcker’s Australia: A German Adventurer in Colonial Australia (2016).

Lutheran Archives and History Month

History Month Display: The most precious treasure: Lutheran Schooling in Australia

From the start, schooling was at the heart of Lutheran church and mission life. In this display, teachers’ texts and pupils’ work in German and English, Kaurna, Dieri and Aranda depict teaching and learning in Lutheran classrooms. Primers, copybooks, songbooks and homework, timetables, roll books and diaries tell a story!
Display open: Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri throughout May, 9.30-4.30
Guided tours of the display: Wed 25 May 10-11 am, 2-3 pm – bookings essential.

Wendish Heritage Society

The Genealogical Library of the Wendish Heritage Society Australia Inc, formerly located at  27 Livingstone Street in Ivanhoe, is now located at St Aidan’s Community Centre, 12 Surrey Street, Box Hill South 3128 (Melway 61 D1). It is open for research each month February to November on the first Sunday from 1.30 pm to 5 pm. Research at other times by special arrangement.                     
The Library contains over 3,000 catalogued items:  church and cemetery records, family histories and surname files, histories of Prussia, Germany and Lusatia, local histories, ships’ passenger lists, naturalizations and other genealogical data.        
For further information, please contact Glenys Wollermann, Secretary, (03) 9891 6652

Recording German speakers in the Barossa and beyond: documenting, maintaining and renewing a heritage language

Dr Peter Mickan
Discipline of Linguistics, University of Adelaide

German speaking immigrants settled the Barossa and regional South Australia in the mid 19th century. German was the community language for social, business, education and cultural purposes. The Lutheran communities built churches, established German schools and colleges, and conducted religious and social activities in German. However, the impact of two world wars and dominance of English resulted in the dramatic retraction of German in the twentieth century. Children were warned not to speak German, schools teaching in German were closed by government decree, German-speaking citizens were incarcerated and German place names were eliminated. Remarkably a few descendants from the nineteenth century immigrants have retained the ability to speak and read German.
We have been talking with and recording the elderly speakers, noting their experiences and their desire to use German again. For this reason the community and our research team have met for German speaking gatherings over Kaffee und Kuchen. The response has been overwhelming. The community is now working to renew German use and to support the teaching of German in schools. In this paper I will tell the beginnings of this remarkable story of German language maintenance, documentation and renewal. The story has particular relevance to FOLA members and to all language minority communities.
For more information contact Dr Peter Mickan, Discipline of Linguistics, University of Adelaide. 08 8313 3405
Peter Mickan PhD, M.Ed Hons, Dip.Ed., BA Hons is Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Linguistics, University of Adelaide. He is an experienced teacher of German and English with international recognition for language education research. He established postgraduate applied linguistics in Adelaide University, where he supervises a large research group documenting applications of language as a resource for making meanings to teaching languages and literacy, to testing, to workplace communication, and to revival linguistics. He is co-editor of Socialisation,Social Practices and Teaching (2006). His book Language Curriculum Design and Socialisation (2012) has been described as a ground-breaking contribution to language education.

Torrens Island History

Peter Monteath from the History Discipline at Flinders University is collaborating with the Migration Museum to prepare an exhibition on the Torrens Island internment camp. The camp was home to several hundred internees, most of them German, in the period 1914-1915. Peter would welcome information from descendants of those interned on the island. If you have any such information – whether in the form of letters, diaries, photographs or even stories passed down by word of mouth through the family – and would be willing to share it, please contact Peter Monteath at:

Friends of Lutheran Archives Journal

Receive your subscription to the journal with your FoLA membership. Many back issues of the FoLA Journal, since 1991, are still available. Check the list and sample the interesting articles. Contact FoLA to obtain more information or to obtain your own copies.


Read or download the following editions here:

Wartburg to Bowden: A Faith Journey

For the Learning Works radio series, this program was recorded in the Lutheran Archives in Adelaide and was broadcast on Good Friday, 25 March 2005 on PBA FM in Salisbury, South Australia. The 30-minute  program was produced and presented by Tony Ryan, Archivist for the Australian College of Educators. It is now available online as an MP3 audiofile and can be downloaded from