Bethany cottages, church, reserve and cemetery

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The historic village of Bethany.

Bethany was the first settlement organised as a village in the Barossa. It was settled in 1842 by 28 families with their Lutheran minister, Pastor Fritzsche. They had come from Prussia to escape religious persecution and to have freedom to worship in their own way. This means that they were refugees.
The villagers built their houses in a row along the road and their farms were long strips of land linking their houses to the creek so that they all had a water supply.
This is the earliest picture of the Bethany village. It was painted by artist George French Angas in 1844 - 1845. Art Gallery of South Australia
The church was very important to the people of Bethany, and so was the school.

The soil in Bethany is very fertile and people were able to grow vegetables and fruit with water from the creek.
People built houses with bread ovens and smokehouses, and they could live from the produce of their little farms.
But life was hard in the very early settlement and many children and others died of diseases.
There was a village hersdman, who collected the cattle in the morning and took them up into the hills to graze. When he returned to the village at sundown, he would sound his horn for people to take their cattle. Every evening the bell rang in the church, calling the villagers to come and pray.

Proeve, Heinrich F. W.A dwelling-place at Bethany : the story of a village church.
Adelaide : Openbook, 96 pages. 1996
This book explains why the first congregation of German-speaking Lutherans left Prussia and came to live
at Bethany. It describes the sea voyage to South Australia and lists the names of the Prussian people in the
first settlement. It gives an account of early life in Bethany, including meetings with Aboriginal people
dwelling place bethany.jpg


Bethany - the first settlement in the Barossa Valley is a page of a website entitled German Australia, compiled by D. Nutting in 2001. It can be viewed in English or German.

Here is a link to more photos and descriptions of Bethany.

Copies of the pamphlet "A Historical Walk of Bethany" are available, when in print, at Bethany Wines.

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