Jack Bobridge Track - Sign 3 Altona

Altona CSR Landcare Reserve – Williamstown & Lyndoch Landcare Group Inc

The Williamstown and Lyndoch Landcare Group was formed in 1989 by local residents concerned about preserving and rehabilitating creeklines and roadsides in the Williamstown and Lyndoch area. One of the group’s early aims was to form a green corridor between the Sandy Creek and Kaiserstuhl Conservation Parks.

In 1995 the group purchased an old mining site and set about reforming the landscape into gentle slopes and encouraging natural regeneration through weed control and revegetating where necessary. [i]

The Altona CSR Landcare Reserve spans 13 hectares (30 acres) and a heritage agreement has been negotiated for the whole reserve.[ii]

Please note that the Reserve prohibits the use of bikes within its boundaries. [iii]

Birdlife in the Altona Reserve

The following four birds can all be spotted at the Altona CSR Landcare Reserve and are classified as either uncommon or vulnerable in and around South Australia.

The Restless Flycatcher – Sometimes mistaken for a Willy Wagtail, this bird has a white chin and lacks the white eyebrows. It has a swift zigzag flight and often hovers close to the ground.

The Hooded Robin – The male of this species is pied and the female greyish with white patches on the wing. They sit motionless for long periods before flying down to the ground for food.

Black Chinned Honeyeater – One of the larger honeyeaters, this bird has a distinctive black head with white nape and blue over the eyes. There are approximately 10 birds that are presumed permanent residents at the Reserve.

Diamond Firetail –Most of these birds have been spotted in the ‘non-creekline’ woodland in the far south. This bird can be identified, when flying, by the brilliant red on its tail and for its distinctive black breast band and the small diamond spots on the flanks. It is considered vulnerable in South Australia. [iv] 183


Peramangk Aboriginal People

The Aboriginal people known as the Peramangk were the indigenous inhabitants of the land that included the Barossa Valley. Their land ranged from the Mount Lofty Summit region, to the eastern ranges near the Murray Plains, and south from Myponga, north towards Gawler and then east along the South Para River to the township of Truro.

A splinter group of the Peramangk nation were known as the 'Merrimayanna', and lived in a semi-permanent campsite in the eastern Barossa Region.

The 'Merrimayanna' were known as skilled artists who painted vivid motifs in red, yellow and white ochre. They utilised the many rock shelters in the eastern ranges to depict probable Dreamtime stories, ceremonies and hunting scenes. 

"The Peramangk occupied an area which was well endowed with resources, food, water, firewood, and raw materials such as stone; timber and resins for tool manufacture; bark for huts, shields and canoes; pigments for painting; furred animals for warm rugs, etc. During winter, they constructed warm, dry huts of branches, bark grass and leaves, often built around the hollow side of old red gums.”[v]

With the advancement of agricultural development, which displaced many Aboriginals, and the spread of infectious diseases introduced by the Europeans, the population of Aboriginal people declined dramatically. Very little documentation of the Peramangk people exists beyond the 1850s and it is thought those who remained integrated into other clans within South Australia.

The Peramangk language appears to belong to the Yura-Thura group of languages. There are several words recorded in a variety of sources, the following, poonawatta (the Indigenous name for Lyndoch Valley) meaning, poona: good/healthy/fertile; - watta (worta): a person’s land or country. [vi] [vii] 

peramangk peopleperamangk rock paintingThe Nomenclature Act 1916

Prior to World War I, many Australian places had German names. Because of the ongoing war against Germany and subsequent anti-German sentiment, many place names with German origins were changed. This was done in August 1916 through petitions and Acts of Parliament. 

The saddle shaped mountain to the east of here was originally named Kaiserstuhl (the king’s seat). The name change to Mount Kitchener was gazetted in January 1918, as one of 69 names of “foreign enemy origin” that were changed to British or SA native names.

Other places nearby that were changed were Krondorf to Kabminye, Bethanien to Bethany and Langmeil to Bilyara.

Some names were later changed back. For example in 1975 Kabminye became Krondorf and Bilyara reverted to Langmeil.

Whilst Mt Kitchener remains the official name, the 600 metre hill is almost universally referred to as Kaiserstuhl by local residents. [viii]

Story - BLUMBERG. Petersburg. Rosenthal. Grunthal. Bethanian. -The Advertiser, Nathan Davies, October 11, 2013

“A long list of town names lost to our state forever. The names were changed under the sinister-sounding act of Parliament known as the Nomenclature Committees Report On Enemy Place Names, drawn up due to anti-German sentiment that reached a fever pitch during the First World War. And while the State parties through October and celebrates all things German, an Adelaide historian has called for some recognition for the towns that lost their names.

South Australian-German history expert Dr Ian Harmstorf would like to see dual recognition for the towns, with their original German names displayed on signs beneath their English names, along with a short explanation of why the changes were made.

Dr Harmstorf said similar signs existed in places like Wales, where the Welsh name for the town was always featured even if it was now known by an English name.

A total of 69 South Australian towns and hundreds had their names changed during World War I to cleanse them of their "German-ness" in a time that also saw many families change their names. Hundreds of South Australian Germans, many with family histories stretching back for generations in the state, were interned in prison camps. The German prison camp on Torrens Island at Port Adelaide had a reputation as being the harshest of its kind in Australia. Even families with members fighting for Australia in Europe were treated with suspicion. The fact that the humble jam berliner was changed to the kitchener bun shows the lengths people were prepared to go to erase the German influence in South Australia.

"There was a real fear that the Germans would rise up and establish a state within a state," Dr Harmstorf said.

"The Germans were hardworking and successful, and people were jealous of that, and they honestly thought that there would be an army of Germans attacking from the Barossa Valley."

Well known locations which lost their names during the war included Hahndorf (changed to Ambleside and restored in 1935), Lobethal (changed to Tweedvale until 1935) and the Adelaide suburb of Klemzig (changed to Gaza, also restored in 1935). In total 20 or the 69 place names were restored, with 49 losing their original names forever.”

map“Judging by this map, which we reproduce from the Adelaide ‘Mail’, there is plenty of work for a Government Christener in South Australia. The plan shows a wide area of South Australia in which German named places abound - in fact, the whole of the district is so full of Hun nomenclature that it must be difficult for residents to feel certain whether they are dwelling in Australia or Germany.

The amount of mortification is reached at Kaiserstuhl – the Emperor’s seat – which is situated a short distance from Tanunda. Instant cancellation of the name is demanded. Then there is New Hamburg, the Rhine River, Heidelberg, and countless other Hun-named places. That these names should still stand nearly two years after we have been at war with Germany is an indication either of the influence of Germans in South Australia or of extraordinary tolerance on the part of British residents.” – Mirror of Australia (Sydney, NSW : 1915 – 1917), Saturday 17th June 1916, page 3.[ix]


[ii] Williamstown & Lyndoch Landcare Group Inc. Information Pamphlet

[iii] Joerg Weise – Williamstown & Lyndoch Landcare Group

[iv] Williamstown & Lyndoch Landcare Group Inc. Information Pamphlet

[v] Excerpts from Torrens Valley Historical Journal Number 32

[vi] http://barkerwiki.org.au/Peramangk_Aboriginal_People - compiled by Tony Finnis from information provided by Robin Coles, Reg Butler and Lyndal Davidge plus the sources stated. Photographs of rock paintings by Robin Coles.

[vii] Teichelmann, CG & Schurmann, C.W. Outlines of a grammar.....of the language of South Australia....around Adelaide, (1840), by authors. - Hemming & Cook,Crossing the River (1992)

[viii]Nomenclature Act, 1917 State Records of South Australia, GRG 24/6, File 437/1935. 

Leadbeater, Maureen M. "German Place Names, South Australia - World War I".

[ix] The Mirror of Australia (Sydney, NSW : 1915 - 1917), Saturday 17 June 1916, page 3