Yesterday, Tuesday, was a slow start. Our accommodation is really very pleasant. Anyone travelling to the Barossa would do well to try to book “Little Para Cottage” on 5 Para Road, Tanunda. Wendy, the proprietor, works at the Faith Lutheran College – and there was a bottle of Mengler View Shiraz waiting for us when we arrived (it’s produced by the kids at the college, would you believe!). The price is right, although it will not suit larger families, as there are only a double bed and a single bed in the bedroom (one of), so we added a fold out bed for Mia. The kitchen lounge room is very comfortable. There’s no open fire, but the faux-log fire electric heater gives the right impression without the mess (or, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the smell). It is quiet and private and we enjoyed the morning just pottering around. While Cathy and the kids had bacon and eggs for breakfast (cook your own, not provided), I had fried blud/ricewurst on toast. I couldn’t convince any other member of my family to taste it. It was not exactly like we used to make it on the farm in Pinnaroo, but close enough to evoke childhood memories.
I smoked my pipe on the veranda (reading an hilariously funny book “The Va Dinci Cod”, which I bought for $3 at a Lion’s Club second hand book store in Adelaide with Fraser), but it was dreadfully cold (God knows how cold it must have been in Melbourne) and drizzly. The showers would be on and off all day, interspersed with sunshine, and that gave the Barossa an extra special “feel” and gleen. We then set off to walk up and down the main street of Tanunda – the kids wanted to shop. Whenever we saw a church coming up I said to the kids “Guess what kind!” and they answered in chorus “Lutheran!”. There are no less than FOUR Lutheran churches in this little town, which shows not just that there were a lot of Lutherans in the area, but also their history of bickering. One of the churches, “Tabor” in the main street, was originally a “Free Evangelical Lutheran Church”. As the sign says on the outside, it was frequented by Germans who were not part of the original “Old Lutheran” sect that my fore-fathers were and who had no truck with some of the more strict ways of the majority sect.
[Tabor Lutheran Church in Tanunda, one of the four Lutheran Churches in this town. This one was a “Free” Lutheran Church, that is, they did not subscribe to the funny ideas of Kavel and Fritsche’s “Old Lutherans”. Not “our mob”!”]
We went into the Museum in the main street that has a very good display on the history of the early settlers, including a couple of rooms done up as Lutheran Churches (given that most Lutheran Churches in the area are shut, this gave a good view of how it would have looked).
We had lunch at the Tanunda Bakery and Wursthaus, where I bought a slice of Jagerbraten, a kind of metwurst made by stuffing a porkbelly with sausage and then roasting it. Yummy! After lunch, we hopped in the car and drove north to Eudunda and then to Point Pass, where all the sons of Great, Great, Great Grandpa Johann Gottlieb moved from their original settlement in Flaxman’s Valley. It is a good distance, about 50km, and we did most of the journey along the gravel road that leads north from Stockwell to St Kitts and then to Eudunda. As this road travels along a central ridge of hills it afforded us a splendid view of the surrounding countryside. We drove through Eudunda and up on to Point Pass, arriving at the splendidly crowned Immanuel Lutheran Church with its copper steeple (which shines bright in the sunshine). Behind this church, in which my Grandfather played one of only three surviving Klempke pipe organs (another was in my old parish at Frankston) while my dad would work the hand operated bellows, is the cemetery. If my children had any lingering doubts concerning the size of their family, the names on a great number of tombstones put that firmly to rest. We first located the grave where I buried my Grandfather about 16 years ago. He is buried with his first wife, my grandmother who died in 1953 and whom I never knew, and with his second wife, who was my “grandma”. She died just as I was leaving for Constantinople in 2007 and so I had never been able to visit her grave before. We said an “Our Father” together and prayed for their repose. The children had known step-Great Grandma, and so this had some meaning for them also. Directly behind their grave is the grave of Grandpa’s parents, and further back in the cemetery is the grave of his grandparents – my Great, Great grandfather was born in Silesia in 1845 and came out with his father, Johann Gottfried Schütz in 1855.
Unfortunately, the church was locked and none of the neighbours had a key, so we got back into our car and drove out to find my father’s original home (within view of the cemetery itself). We drove past the original Immanuel College building – now a bed and breakfast.
I had spent some time with my father on the phone and with Google maps to find the exact locations of his house, and the houses of my grandfather’s twin brother nearby. First we drove up a rather weatherworn track to get to their old shearing shed, a thatched log arrangement now tumbling down, but still standing. [Actually since writing this, I discovered that I had the information wrong: the thatched building belonged to my grandfather’s twin brother; my grandfather’s shed was the tin one on the other side of the road. Anyway, the thatched building looked more historic!]
Heading back towards the homestead, we took pictures from the hill looking down at the house, and lamented that we couldn’t go in and have a look.
But I heard the sound of chainsaw nearby and saw a man and his young son chopping up a tree that had fallen over a fence. Taking a guess, I drove down to them, and pulled up and introduced myself: “Hi! I’m David Schütz and I would guess that you must be Bruce Schütz?” Sure enough, it was my second cousin, who lives in a third house on the property, with his sixth son Gary. He happily gave us permission to go up to my father’s old home, which he now owns again and is currently renovating as a home for his son who is getting married in the near future. He told us that the house was open and invited us to let ourselves in to have a look.
This was unexpected! I had never even been on the property before, and now I could see where Dad, and his father, and his father before him had once lived. They are treating it for salt-damp before repainting the interior, and have put a new roof on and repainted the exterior. Many of the old farm buildings which my great-grandfather and grandfather built are still standing – although Bruce pointed out that some of the sheds have been badly damaged by storms and will need to come down.
After spending an hour or so on the property (Bruce and Gary came up to show us around a bit more), we drove home through Eudunda, seeing where my father went to school, and then home via Kapunda and Nuriootpa. A good meal of pasta, and again we were in bed early.