Combined Probus Eudunda and Friends of the Gallery
The Probus Club of Eudunda had a special February meeting as it was combined with the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery ‘Friends of the Gallery’ morning tea.
Our guest speaker was Michael Wohltmann a retired school teacher, historian and author of “A Future Unlived” ‘A forgotten chapter in South Australia’s History’.
During research for his book he found there were 90 internment camps in Australia and Asia Pacific, during World War I, with two on Torrens Island in South Australia.
During the ‘Great War’ some 6,890 people were interned with German/Austrian heritage, 4,500 being Australian residents, many were model citizens before the war. They were often interned because of some loyalty with their fore-fathers and some were still corresponding with distant relatives in Europe. The Barossa Valley, Eudunda and Loxton were some towns with a predominately German heritage.
One revelation Michael’s research brought to the gathering was a report in the Kapunda Herald on the 12th February 1915 states that the ‘Citizens Forces’, (reserve units of the Australian Army) conducting a blockade in Eudunda.
This was because of certain indefinite information given to military authorities. It was stated that no evidence was found where action could be taken. It was reported that the raid was determined not because residence were suspected of being disloyal but as a warning to other towns with a German heritage.
The Lutheran Pastors had a big influence on their local regions and were sometimes targeted, as in one local incident where the Rev. Theodor Nickel of Eudunda was arrested for possessing a firearm. He had declared this but it was of the opinion that he didn’t have to hand this in as he was a naturalized Australian. He was held in detention at Fort Largs (SA) but was released after a month. Of the thousands who were interned around Australia, not one had actually ever been charged.
Many German descendants joined the services to fight for Australia and its allies. This is evident locally with many names recognized on the local Honour Rolls. Michael gave a fascinating talk including details of the internment camp on Torrens Island.
More information and purchases of Michael’ book can be found at http://torrensislandinternmentcamp.com.au
A lovely morning tea was put on by the ladies and a highlight of the morning was when Eudunda’s Citizen of the Year Pam Dutschke continued the tradition of having the honour of cutting the Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery Birthday Cake. It was overheard from one of our “city” visitors what a marvelous spread of food and cakes that the ladies had put on.
Probus Contact webpage: http://eudunda.net/portal/clubs/probus-eudunda-districts/
Heritage Gallery website: http://eudundaheritage.com/
This post is a “big catchup” as at the time the ‘editor’ was too busy to post it, but it’s an important story, so better late than never.