German schools in South Australia
During World War I, Australia experienced strong anti-German sentiment. South Australia had a substantial diaspora of German-speaking people derived from migrants from Germany and Poland during the 19th century. One of the consequences of the sentiment was that many German-sounding placenames were changed. Another consequence was that many Lutheran church schools which taught the children in German were encouraged and eventually forced to close or be taken over by the state.
The Colony of South Australia had been established in 1836. The first groups of German emigrants arrived in 1838, encouraged by the founders of the colony. They were escaping religious persecution in Prussia, and settling to establish a new life where they were free to practice their religion. The situation in Germany changed after 1840 but hard-working German settlers continued to be encouraged to migrate. The first German-language newspaper in South Australia was published from 1847. Many of these settlers took the Oath of Allegiance and became naturalised citizens so that they could buy land. German immigrant farmers and their descendants spread across the expanding colony, and others took up influential positions in Adelaide as well.
In June 1917, 49 schools received notices that they would be taken over by the Minister of Education with effect from 1 July that year. The German teachers were to be replaced by English teachers, if the school could not be closed completely and have the children sent to a nearby school. The action to close the schools was a consequence of the new Education Act 1915 passed by the South Australian Parliament late in 1915. Section 53 of the act required that at least 4 hours of teaching each school day be in English, and required head teachers to submit a monthly statutory declaration that this had been the case over the preceding month. The legislation specifically identified German as not being English.
Some schools had voluntarily closed after the legislation was passed. The 49 schools that received notices to close from 1 July 1917 were at:
|school||number of students|
|Martin Luther, Flinders Street, Adelaide||47|
|Crystal Brook West||10|
|St. John's, Dutton||34|
|St. John's, Eudunda||63|
|St. Paul's, Kilkerran||30|
|St. John's, Kilkerran||20|
|Malvern, Cheltenham St||55|
|Mount Torrens, Springhead||28|
|St. John's, Neale's Flat||13|
|St. Paul's, Neale's Flat||15|
|St. Martini, Springton||35|
|St Kitts, near Truro||19|
|Steinfeld, Hundred of Anna||(not stated).|
- "German Settlers in South Australia". Flinders Ranges Research. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
- "CLOSING GERMAN SCHOOLS". The Express and Telegraph. LIV (16, 152). South Australia. 12 June 1917. p. 3 (SPECIAL WAR EDITION). Retrieved 28 November 2016 – via National Library of Australia. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Education Act 1915 No. 1223". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 28 November 2016 – via Flinders University. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)