Sängerfeste in Australia

The first general German Song festival in South Australia, with the participation by the Adelaide Gymnastics Club, was held on the 27th and 28th December, 1874, in Herr P Fischer’s garden in Tanunda. It is not known whether there were any dedicated German singing festivals elsewhere in Australia prior to this.  

The Adelaide singers departure for Tanunda was planned for Sunday the 27th at 6am from the Hotel Europe, which was then the practice venue for the Adelaider Liedertafel (and apparently for the Adelaide Liederkranz as well). Both choirs were at that time singing under the musical direction of Herr Carl Püttmann. A great effort on the part of the singers and gymnasts is evident, as they would have taken almost 9 hours just to travel from Adelaide to Tanunda (a distance of about 45Km on today's roads).

In modern times, the Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 travelled to Melbourne on 2nd May 1970, the occasion of its brother choir Liedertafel Arion's 110th anniversary concert. This occasion was declared the first ever "Festival of German Song" (Sängerfest) by the Australischer Sängerbund (German Choral Association of Australia) and Die Brücke (the umbrella organisation of German speaking clubs and organisations in Australia). From this humble beginning with three choirs in attendance, a Sängerfest has been held somewhere in Australia every two to three years.

The chronology of events is as follows:

1. 1970: 2nd May - 3 choirs - Melbourne. Liedertafel Arion 110th jubilee. Venue: Camberwell Civic Centre

2. 1972: 13th May - 6 choirs - Melbourne. Hosted by Liedertafel Arion. Venue: Camberwell Civic Centre

3. 1975: 10th June - 9 choirs - Melbourne. Hosted by Liedertafel Arion. Venue: Camberwell Civic Centre (it can be seen that the cause of German singing in Australia owes a debt to this choir).

4. 1978: 3rd June - 10 choirs - Adelaide. Hosted by Adelaider Liedertafel 1858. Venue: Adelaide Festival Centre.

5. 1980: 1st May - 10 choirs - Melbourne. Hosted by Liedertafel Arion. Venue: Club Tivoli (home of Arion  - their and the club's 120th jubilee).

6. 1981: 13th June - 10 choirs - Sydney. Hosted by Caecilian Choir Croydon (their 25th jubilee). Venue: Sydney Town Hall.

7. 1985: 8th June - 11 choirs - Melbourne. Hosted by Liedertafel Arion. Venue: Camberwell Civic Centre

8. 1988: 11th June - 18 choirs - Canberra. Hosted by the Harmonie Choir.

9. 1991: 7th June - 19 choirs - Tanunda (SA). Hosted by the Tanunda Liedertafel. Venue: Tanunda township,  Barossa Valley (SA)

10. 1995: June - 15 choirs - Sydney. Hosted by  the Concordia Choir, Stanmore (their 20th jubilee). The ALT1858, which was on a tour of Germany at the time, did not attend in an official capacity. However, the choir sent 5 representatives: Karl Ascher, Wolfgang Ludtke, Pieter van de Water, Hugo Gutwein and Ludwig Merget. The latter was the then-president of the Australischer Sängerbund.

11. 1998: 6th June - 15 choirs - Brisbane. Hosted by the Brisbane Liedertafel 1882 (115th jubilee of the Deutscher Turnverein). Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southbank.

The events listed below have details listed on this website. Click the links to read them.

12. 2002: 7th June - 20 choirs - Mt Barker (SA). Hosted by the Hahndorf Liedertafel. Venue: Inbarendi Hall, Mt Barker

13. 2005: 17th September - 11 choirs - Perth. Hosted by the Heimat Chor, Rhein-Donau Club. Venue: Perth Concert Hall

14. 2008: 4th October - 13 choirs - Adelaide. Hosted by the Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 (150th jubilee).

15. 2011: 2nd October - 16 choirs - Tanunda (SA). Hosted by Tanunda Liedertafel (150th Jubilee). Venue: Tanunda Arts Centre (Brenton Langbein Theatre).

16. 2014: 4th October - 18 choirs - Canberra (ACT). Hosted by the Austrian Choir Canberra.


This page was last updated Friday, 24 July 2015