Edward Allan Wittwer - Dedicated Son of Hahndorf

Extracted from ‘The Advertiser’ newspaper, dated 3 July, 2004

Educator, Historian

Born: 4 November 1942, Mount Barker   -    Died: 4 March 2004, Balhannah

Through both parents being direct descendants of some of Hahndorf’s founding families, Allan Wittwer, not surprisingly, became committed to preserving the history and sense of community of his local area. He captured the rapid changes in Hahndorf’s unique existence through his love of photography and publications that reflected upon the lives of Hahndorf’s pioneers.

Allan attended the Hahndorf Primary School, Mt Barker and Adelaide Boys high schools, and then Adelaide University., where he gained a Bsc degree and a Diploma of Teaching (Secondary). He taught in numerous metropolitan Adelaide secondary schools, and finally at Oakbank Area School.

Allan’s mother, Ella, who could relate numerous stories of Hahndorf’s bygone days, inspired his interest in the local community. Gradually, Allan augmented personal recollections with newspaper cuttings, photos and other memorabilia of the rifle club, the town band, the institute and his great-grandfather’s old flour mill (now the Old Mill Restaurant).

Interest in local history also extended into Allan’s close ties with the Lutheran Church, at St Pauls Hahndorf. He served the congregation as chairperson, treasurer and Sunday school teacher for many years. More recently, Allan was an inspiration in establishing the Louise Flierl (New Guinea) Mission at Hahndorf, and placed all the photographs there on to CDs.

Involvement in the Lutheran Church of Australia also led Allan into serving as a board member of the Adelaide-based national Lutheran Church Archives and Research Centre between 1967 and 2003. For more than 40 years, he was Lutheran Church of Australia’s Statistician.

With the assistance of other family members, Allan produced the Kuchel, Henningsen, Liebelt and Gallasch family histories for publication, and wrote a detailed two-part article on Lutheranism in colonial Adelaide, dealing with pioneer independent Lutheran pastors.

Not only for Hahndorf and the Lutheran Church, Allan’s avid interest in genealogy and photography has left many Australian families with a wealth of personal historical information to draw upon. His large photographic collection of steam and diesel trains, his active role in restoring the Belair Railway Station, together with detailed written records about these topics, will provide an inexhaustible treasury for future researchers in the development of rail transport in the Adelaide Hills and beyond.

Concern for helping others also involved Allan in Meals on Wheels, cooking seniors in the community, acting as the Hahndorf Kingship’s official scorer for 40-odd years and serving on the board od St Paul’s Homes and chairperson of the My Barker Branch of the National Trust.