Image Bethany in the Barossa Hills, 1847

TLF ID R3037

This is a hand-coloured lithographic print showing Bethany, a village established by German immigrants, at the foot of the Barossa Hills in South Australia in the 1840s. The lithograph was listed as Plate 60 in the book 'South Australia illustrated', published in 1847. It measures 29.7 cm x 34 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset portrays a village, located 74 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, established by 28 German Lutheran families, comprising 34 children and 83 adults - they named the area around the Barossa Hills Neuschlesien (New Silesia) after their homeland in Prussia and called their settlement Bethanian, a German version of the Biblical town of Bethlehem.
  • It depicts German religious refugees from Prussia who had been persecuted for their religious beliefs by the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm III - German migration to South Australia began when a director of the South Australian Company, George Fife Angas, met Pastor August Kavel in London and persuaded him that South Australia was a suitable place for Lutheran refugees to settle.
  • It shows refugees who had arrived in the South Australia on the 'Skjold' on 28 October 1841 - this voyage was one the worst migrant voyages to Australia; four people died before the ship left Hamburg and 45 died on the voyage.
  • It depicts a line of buildings sited according to the German communal principle of Reihendorf or Waldhufendorf - the houses and accompanying farm buildings ran along the village street and the land owned by each family stretched behind in narrow strips as far back as the Tanunda Creek; until recently, the communal organisation of Bethany could still be traced in some of the fences that ran back in straight lines to the creek; this layout was misunderstood by early non-German observers; for example, in 1843 Daniel George Brock stated: 'The huts are of a miserable order and straggle over a long continuous space'.
  • It shows several buildings larger than the rest, one of which may have been the church - the Lutheran refugees were accompanied from Hamburg by their pastor, Gotthard Fritzsche; early church services were held under a tree or in one of the huts; by 1845, Bethany had its own church and belfry.
  • It depicts several children by a large log, obviously not at school - a school was established in Bethany by Pastor Fritzsche in 1842 and the children were taught in two groups: the older ones in the morning, and the younger ones in the afternoon; apart from the usual basic subjects, there was also an emphasis on Bible stories and on hymns; the original school served the town until 1917 when it was closed because of the ill-feeling towards anything or anyone German during the First World War.
  • It shows the country where the Ngayawung people were well-established prior to European occupation - the Ngayawung people hunted kangaroos, wallabies, possums, lizards and fish and collected grass seeds, which they ground and baked as damper; they made possum skin cloaks and rugs for use in the winter months.
Year level

5; 6; 7; 8; 9

Learning area
  • History

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: James William Giles
  • Description: Author
  • Person: George French Angas
  • Description: Author
  • Person: Thomas McLean
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: National Library of Australia
  • Organization: National Library of Australia
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
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Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements