BAROSSA GERMANIC: A Style from Somewhere Historic

Sidetable and chairs from the Zilm family furniture collection - photo by National Museum of Australia

The Barossa Germanic furniture craft explained the historical settlement blueprints of the Barossa Valley and also gives more than a few chapters on diverse types of craft practice, such as the bush traditions of farmer-craftsmen, the job of the immigrant cabinetmakers.

A Barossa Valley wardrobe, Australian cedar, with strong Germanic influences, circa 1870 – photo by Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques and Collectables

However, Barossa German is the German language mainly spoken in the Barossa Valley region of South Australia. Colin Thiele, the famous South Australian writer, whose grandparents were German immigrants, called the Barossa Germanic the strangely inherited and hybrid language developed from a century of linguistic isolation.

This very language got its name from Barossa Valley, a place a lot of German people inhabited in the 19th century. As a matter of fact, some of the words from Barossa German have found their ways into the South Australian English now.

The History of Barossa Germanic

The earliest brandish of the German settlement in Australia started in the year 1838. However, it was in the 1840s when the Lutheran settlers who hailed all the way from Prussia got to the place that the German language was first spoken in the Barossa Valley.

Due to World War I, the use of the Barossa Germanic language in Australia refused. Between 1914 and 1925, a lot of Germans were incarcerated, while immigration managed solely by the German people was formally proscribed. On the other hand, during the war, the German language was enthusiastically censored by the Australian government. For instance, a lot of place names having German origins were replaced. The Lutheran schools were shut and re-opened as state schools giving learning instructions in the English language.

German settlers outside a store – photo by The University of Adelaide

There was confirmation that Barossa Germanic was the first language of several people in South Australia till the late 20th century. For instance, Colin Thiele maintained that he had spoken nothing except German until he attended the school.

Since there were no official German translators at that time, the German settlers studied English but maintained their own dialect. Quite a lot of the earliest German settlers to the Barossa Valley in South Australia were from the Brandenburg where the Barossa Germans dialect claimed to have developed from.

Today in Australia, German is known to be the eighth most extensively used language at home and more than 70,000 Australians are still using the language making the relationship between Australia and Germany to be very strong.

However, as far s a New World Wine County is concerned, Barossa Germanic has a very long-standing history and renowned heritage. This very name has been synonymous with winemaking virtually since the day European settlers first arrived in what was then known as the camp or colony of South Australia as far back as 1836.

Barossa Germanic Classification

Germanic Barossa, South Australia, furniture – photo by Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques and Collectables

Barossa German was classified as a Central German dialect owing to the fact that nearly all the German immigrants to the Barossa hailed from Silesia and Prussia. Hence, when compared to analogous dialects of the Germans in the Diaspora community all over the world, Barossa Germanic is comparatively close to the Standard German.

Barossa German has actually incorporated some elements of South Australian English, according to Peter Mickan.

The Vocabulary and Culture of Barossa German

Words that were adopted by South Australian English were the best-known and notable instances of Barossa German vocabulary. Butcher is one of such local words with German origins. This is the name given to a 200 ml beer glass believed to have been got from the German becher, which means a mug or cup.

Barossa Germanic Furniture

Forgetting the fine details of history is not difficult: the passions, interests, and fashions of what was once so memorable; letters from someone you love, furniture and toys you have owned, or even local businesses that come and go. At times we ignore and overlook those things surrounding us in everyday life, including precious things.

Can you ever imagine the history associated with Barossa Germanic furniture and belongings of the community of Barossa Valley of the German settlers dating back to 1842?

Germanic pine side table c 1880, Barossa Valley, with leaf design top, single drawer, tapered legs – photo by Carter’s Price Guide to Antiques and Collectables

Germanic Barossa furniture pieces are quite exceptional in Australia and they are an excellent way of decorating your apartment. Barossa Germanic furniture is all about passion, kudos to people who were blessed with the gift of being grateful for the wonderful assortment of German furniture.

Barossa Germanic furniture collection is available in side tables, stool, and wooden armchairs used by a 19th-century immigrant German family in South Australia. In the 1890s, these chairs and stool were hand-crafted and built from Australian red gum and other eucalypts. In addition, the assortment comprised of a side table with an enhancing design painted around the central draft or checkerboard, considered to have been bought or acquired by a family in the early 20th century.

Some of the Barossa Germanic furniture collections can still be found at the National Museum of Australia till today.


Without doubt of mind, Barossa Valley remains the acknowledged heartland of Barossa Germanic and central-European folk art in Australia. It is a location where exceptional vernacular expressions have succeeded for more than five generations.