Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Hahndorf SA


Postcode: 5245

Hahndorf is a small town about 30 minutes drive out of Adelaide, South Australia along the Princes Highway. The town was settled by Lutheran migrants largely from in and around a small village then named “Kay” in Prussia. The town is named after Danish Captain Dirk Meinhertz Hahn.

On 12 August 1838, the ship Zebra captained by the Captain Dirk Hahn departed from Altona, Hamburg for its voyage to Port Misery, South Australia, arriving on 28 December 1838.

On board was a crew of 16 and 188 passengers, including their belongings. In addition was 100 barrels of pork, 100 barrels of flour, 65 barrels of fresh water, 17 hogsheads of beer and vinegar, 14 barrels of herrings, 2 boxes of boots and 40924 bricks. His ship, a three masted ship named Zebra, was built in 1818 and weighed 350 tonnes.

Two passengers died before the journey begun while some of the passengers were on board several weeks prior to departure, with a further two perishing before reaching open sea. For the time, a relatively low number of 12 passengers died during the journey at sea. This brought the number of passengers down from 199 leaving Germany to 188 arriving in Adelaide, with the last corpse being buried at sea while approaching Kangaroo Island. Due to a low tide, the passengers were stuck onboard until 2 January 1839.

German influence is very apparent in Hahndorf and is seen physically in the traditional fachwerk architecture of the original surviving buildings. There are also many resturaunts in the town serving German cuisine. Due to the First World War in Europe, in 1917 the Federal Government changed many German place names. The name Hahndorf was changed to Ambleside, and this remained until 1935, when it reverted to Hahndorf. There are still references to the name Ambleside in and around the town today.