History of the Adelaider Liedertafel
1863
1863

Late_1800's
Late 1800's
1928
1928
2008
2008

Detailed History - English

Die Geschichte der
 Adelaider Liedertafel 1858

Conductors, Presidents and Life Members

Minutes of Meetings from the early days

ALT Archive

The Song of Australia

Sängerfeste in Australia

Obituaries

Summary (for a detailed history, click here) Want a potted history for publication? Click here.

The ALT can trace its roots back to the early 1840's, since antecedent choirs which eventually formed the ALT were established from about 1838 (only 2 years after European settlement). The history of the ALT on this page and other pages herein is based on research by Emil Metz, who sang with the choir for many years from the early 1900's.

An Adelaider Liedertafel was formed in 1850/51 under the conductorship of Carl Linger, the composer of Song of Australia. Rehearsals were held in Wiener-Fischer's cafe in Rundle Street until 1855. At that point the ALT merged with a male choir that had been rehearsing in Hotel Europe, also under Carl Linger. Parallel to this development a "Deutscher Liedertafel" was founded at the Hotel Hamburg in 1848/49.

In 1858 the Adelaider Liedertafel and the Deutscher Liedertafel merged to form what is now the Adelaider Liedertafel 1858, with Carl Linger as its first conductor. At the foundation general Meeting on 1st September 1858, JW Schierenbeck was elected President and Carl Linger confirmed as conductor - a post he held until his death in 1862. In 2008 the very first minute books of the choir's early years were rediscovered, translated and placed on these pages. At the time of his death Carl Linger was held in high regard by the citizens of Adelaide, and in 1936 a fundraising effort resulted in a memorial being  erected on his grave at the West Terrace cemetery. An annual Australia Day ceremony was conducted at the site in his honour until it was cancelled for unknown reasons (probably economic) in 2012.

In 1860 a banner was donated to the choir by Mr JFM Armbrüster, which is still in the choir's proud possession. During World War I, in keeping with the anti-German hysteria of the time the banner, together with many other items of memorabilia, was hidden by choir members and supporters. The banner was replaced with a new one after World War I, and the original was not found and restored to the choir until many years later.

In 1904, choir membership was 143 and there was a waiting list. A high point occurred on the 17th September, 1908, with the choir's 50th anniversary concert held in the Exhibition grounds behind what is now the State Library. Dignitaries included the Governor of South Australia, The Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Adelaide and the Imperial German Consul. There were six guest choirs and a full orchestra. Click here to view a copy of the concert's programme - or inspect the real thing in the Mortlock Library. The programme speaks of the great pride that the German immigrants and their descendants had in Australia, and the Governor of SA spoke of the immense value that German immigration had been to the young colony. Alas, all these noble sentiments were to count for nothing only five years later with the outbreak of World War I. Many members of the choir were interned, and widespread anti-German sentiment precluded further public performances for eight long years.

Again, at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, many members were interned and although singing continued, concerts ceased. Friends in Tanunda hid sheet music and written records, but much was lost. In 1945, shortly after the cessation of hostilities, Hermann Homburg rebuilt the ALT. At the first post-war practice 8 members met at his home to sing. Emil Metz conducted.

In 1956 the choir reconstructed, and officially affiliated itself with the SA German Association. A meeting of singers elected Erich Molkenthien as President and Valentin Heck as Conductor.

In 1978 the choir was presented, in its role as the oldest German choir in Australia, with the Zelter Plaque from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of its contribution to German song.

The following years have seen many concerts given by the ALT, including extensive tours interstate and overseas. The choir travelled to Germany in 1983, 1987 and 1995.

A short history for publication - copy the following and paste into your document. DO NOT ALTER/EDIT ANY FACTS.

The ALT can trace its roots back to the early 1840's, since antecedent choirs which eventually formed the ALT were established from about 1838 (only 2 years after European settlement).

An Adelaider Liedertafel was formed in 1850/51 under the conductorship of Carl Linger, the composer of Song of Australia. Rehearsals were held in Wiener-Fischer's cafe in Rundle Street until 1855. At that point the ALT merged with a male choir that had been rehearsing in the Hotel Europe, also under Carl Linger. Parallel to this development a "Deutscher Liedertafel" was founded at the Hotel Hamburg in 1848/49. In 1858 the Adelaider Liedertafel and the Deutscher Liedertafel merged to form what is now the Adelaider Liedertafel 1858. At the foundation general Meeting on 1st September 1858, JW Schierenbeck was elected President and Carl Linger confirmed as conductor - a post he held until his death in 1862.

In 1904, choir membership was 143 and there was a waiting list. A high point occurred on the 17th September, 1908, with the choir's 50th anniversary concert held in the Exhibition grounds behind what is now the State Library. Dignitaries included the Governor of South Australia, The Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Adelaide and the Imperial German Consul. There were six guest choirs and a full orchestra.

In 1860 a banner was donated to the choir by Mr JFM Armbrüster, which is still in the choir's proud possession. During World War I, in keeping with the anti-German hysteria of the time the banner, together with many other items of memorabilia, was hidden by choir members and supporters. The banner was replaced with a new one after World War I, and the original was not found and restored to the choir until many years later.The years between 1914 and 1945 were difficult for the choir, but it managed to keep rehearsals going and a committee maintained continuity. In 1945, shortly after the cessation of hostilities, Hermann Homburg rebuilt the ALT. At the first post-war practice 8 members met at his home to sing. Emil Metz conducted. In 1956 the choir reconstructed, and officially affiliated itself with the SA German Association. A meeting of singers elected Erich Molkenthien as President and Wilhelm Söns as Conductor.

In 1978 the choir was presented, in its role as the oldest German choir in Australia, with the Zelter Plaque from the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of its contribution to German song. The following years have seen many concerts given by the ALT, including extensive tours interstate and overseas. The choir travelled to Germany in 1983, 1987 and 1995.

This page was last updated Monday, 09 May 2016
HOME