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The once beautiful Eudunda Railway Station in South Australia. The line opened to here in 1878. It is now terribly vandalised. What a pity and a shame on the government. Love the gables and air vents.
Image by denisbin
Eudunda –German Settlers Town.
The Government extended the Kapunda railway to Eudunda in 1878. This provided a great boost to the newly settled town which had been surveyed in 1872. Eudunda was selected as a town site on the eastern side of the Mt Loft Ranges at 415 metres above sea level, with annual rainfall of 450 mm. To the east of Eudunda the rainfall drops sharply and at 250mm Goyder’s Line is crossed, which depicts the limit of reliable cereal cropping land. Eudunda is often one of the coldest places in SA during the winter months.
The town was established in 1872 a few years prior to the arrival of the railway and it was located near a permanent spring. A town water supply was always essential in the 19th century. Thus the name Eudunda is of aboriginal derivation, Ngadjuri meaning “sheltered water or spring.” This water supply was crucial for the sheep and cattle overlanders coming down from Morgan. In 1872 A & G Neumann erected a flour mill, and in 1874 Mr Appelt opened his general store, having also been appointed Postmaster. The earliest settlers were second generation Lutheran Germans moving on from the Barossa Valley. With the opening of the railway to the Adelaide in 1878 the district thrived. To complement their flour mill Laucke’s established a chaff mill in Kapunda Street and the Eudunda Bakery has been in operation for over 100 years. Eudunda foundries provided employment for many town dwellers, especially the Lutz Farm Machinery Foundry which operated 1892-1905 until it was taken over as Jansen’s Foundry (operated 1905-1951). This foundry survived until recently and was last being run by a Canadian company trading as Emco-Wheaton in the 1980s. It still employed 30 men in the 1980s. A new engineering firm established in Eudunda in 1985 called Buschutz Engineering. The company now employs 20 staff producing hay conditioners, water tanks, silos, fertilizer spreaders and under vine feeders. Edwin Davey the successful flour miller from Angaston later had a second flour mill built in Eudunda to complement his mills in Salisbury, Port Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. This second flour mill later became Laucke’s mill. It opened in 1879 and still stands in Kapunda Road.
But before the industry got under way the hotels opened! The first was the Eudunda Hotel which opened in 1873 (what we see today is the 1886 building) and the Royal Hotel which was built as a grand two storey structure in 1878. The first banking service operated from Appelt’s Store in 1877 with the first National Bank (a house type building) being erected in 1888. When it opened, all advertisements for its services were in German. Another indication of the strong German origins of the town was the establishment of the Eudunda Club in 1888 as a club for German workingmen, especially employees of the local foundry. The Club, like German schools etc was closed by Act of parliament in 1917 but it re-opened in 1919. It is still operating in Bruce Street. The Club built the Centenary Hall in 1900 which became the town Institute building when the Town Council took it over.
Police were stationed in Eudunda from 1877 but the first police station was not built until 1883. The town had an early fire station, and like most SA towns the hospital was not opened until the 1920s. It opened in 1922. The first government school opened for classes in 1878 in a large brick and stone Gothic style building. During World War One it became a Higher Primary School offering classes for year 8 and year 9 students. A new building was provided for the town in 1946 and opened as Eudunda Area School (which had been established in 1943) as around half a dozen outlying schools had been closed during the Second World War. From that time children were bussed into Eudunda Area School. At some stage the old 1878 school buildings were demolished. The Lutheran churches provided some early school classes but Emmaus Lutheran Church did not open a formal school until 1904 in Eudunda. The school was closed by state legislation in 1917 during World War One, but it re-opened in 1925 and still operates today with over 200 enrolments. Lutheran church services were mainly conducted in German until the 1920s. The last German language church services in the district were held at Point Pass Lutheran Church in 1939. The outbreak of World War Two finally stopped the German language services.
The history of the churches in Eudunda show the strong Lutheran heritage. Emmaus congregation formed a Lutheran Church in 1871 as the town began. They built a fine church in 1884 at a cost of £1,100. Another Lutheran congregation formed in 1885 and built a second Lutheran Church, St Paul’s in 1893. St Paul’s finally closed in 1979 and a new church for the combined congregations was erected in 1980 called St John’s. The Anglican Church was set up in 1889 when they purchased a former Lutheran Church. It is called St Hilda’s. The Methodist Church was opened in 1885. There is also a Catholic Church in Eudunda.
Commercially the big success of Eudunda was the establishment of Eudunda Farmers’ Cooperative in 1896. It was founded by Thomas Roberts who died at his North Adelaide home in 1922. Roberts used to purchase cut Mallee wood from farmers during the great droughts and depression of the 1890s, especially from the Murray Flats to the east of Eudunda. He formed a cooperative so that farmers could buy their groceries and grain seeds etc in bulk at reduced prices. The society was formed in 1896 with 100 member families based on the railway wood yards at Sutherlands, Bower and Mount Mary etc. Among the many successful businesses in Eudunda was Wiesner and Company timber and hardware merchants. Their impressive warehouse and store still remains in the town. The Wiesner family started a blacksmith and foundry business in Eudunda in 1884 which eventually employed 50 people. In 1905 they sold that business and opened the iron mongers and furniture store in large two storey premises to which they added. It became the largest hardware and furniture store outside of Adelaide. It sold everything from pianos, china, glassware and silver cutlery to iron, nails tools and timber and sewing machines. Johannes Wiesner and his son Adolph ran the business until it was sold in 1951 but they had downsized it in 1945 when they sold they sold part of the warehouse to the Masonic Lodge. Interestingly Adolph married an English girl Mary Cranston and he became a Methodist and his grandson became a Methodist Minister.
When the government extended the railway form Kapunda to Eudunda in 1878 they wanted to push it further across the Murray Flats to Morgan. Why, one might ask? Well, they wanted to tap into the lucrative river trade that came down from New South Wales. Wool was still shipped down the Darling and Murray, and supplies shipped up the river to many NSW properties. By having a railway to Morgan and extensive wharves there, the SA government could transport the wool to Port Adelaide for transhipping to Europe. The rise of Morgan, of course, was to mean the demise of the major shipping ports lower down the Murray such as Milang, Goolwa and Murray Bridge. Because this trade was so important economically the train line crossed the flat through Mount Mary to Morgan in 1878. During the 1890s a quarter of ALL wool exported from SA came from other colonies, mainly NSW but some also came from Queensland and Victoria. Once the South Australian Railways were making a profit (their first profits were in 1907) they also extended the railway from Eudunda to Robertstown in 1914. Passenger services to Robertstown ceased in 1962.