The Hahndorf Academy has a rich and intriguing past...



Traugott Wilhelm Boehm opened the Hahndorf Academy as a school to provide "a sound and good English and German Education."




Became a Boarding School.




Second storey added. 

Hahndorf Academy in 1871

Hahndorf Academy in 1871




Corner Tower added.




The school was sold to the Lutheran church for £700, and it became a Lutheran college and seminary. 




Sold to D.J. Byard, who changed its name to Hahndorf College. More than 700 students passed through the Hahndorf Academy/College. 




Hahndorf College closes, marking the end of its long standing role as an educational institution. 



1917 - 1937

Operated as a Hospital and Nursing Home. During these years, 999 patients were cared for and 580 babies were born in its rooms.



1938 - 1959 

Housed council offices, local military headquarters during World War II, a betting shop and a dentist who was in the habit of disposing extracted teeth through a hole in the floor.  Subsequently, it served as a private dwelling, as housing flats, and as a recreation centre.

Hahndorf Academy c1950

Hahndorf Academy c1950



Building declared unsafe by Mount Barker Council, property offered for sale by public auction. Karlis Lidums bought the building to keep it unchanged until such time as the proposed 'Hahndorf Academy Museum Trust' could be formed and had sufficient finance to take over the building.

Academy derelict c1965.

Academy derelict c1965.



'The Hahndorf Academy Museum Trust' founded 'to restore to the building to such a shape that it will be able to take its place worthily among the historic monuments of South Australia, and to make it a museum of local German and English antiquities and early South Australian history.' 



1961 - 1963

Storm and other damage occurred. Roof repairs were required and the damaged balcony and verandah had to be removed.  The building had degenerated into a dilapidated wreck.

Academy in mid 1960's after storm damage.

Academy in mid 1960's after storm damage.


1966 - 1967

 Demolition Order resulted in sale to Mr & Mrs Walter Wotzke who restored the building. 'The Hahndorf Academy Galleries and German Folk Museum' opened for business on 8th October 1967 by paying tribute to Sir Hans Heysen on his 90th Birthday with an exhibition of his work, with some 2000 visitors in attendance. 

Hahndorf Academy July 1967 during restoration.

Hahndorf Academy July 1967 during restoration.



Purchased by the Hahndorf Academy Foundation Incorporated, and subsequently by the District Council of Mount Barker in 1998.




The Hahndorf Academy continues life under 'The Hahndorf Academy Foundation Inc.' and is one of the largest regional art galleries in South Australia.  It contains a German Migration Museum and a large retail outlet, and is one of Hahndorf's main cultural tourist attractions.