Wittwer Family Reflections

Extracted from Hahndorf Village Voice #33, 2013

My parents were Julius Berthold Theodor (called Ted) Wittwer and Ida Vera nee Jaensch.

It is an interesting challenge to reflect on what your family provided for you.  We can always remember the holidays to Mt Gambier, or to the Flinders Ranges, but for this article I wish to concentrate on both my parents as people who valued their community, and their faith.

Both my Mum and Dad were direct descendants from the first emigrants who left Silesia in 1838 as part of “Kavel’s people”.  They knew Hahndorf as a village where everyone knew the families who lived there.  They experienced hardship and despair during the war years; especially my Mum who enjoyed school life and when St Michael’s school was closed during the first World War, she and many others had to fend for their education in their own way.

My Mum enjoyed Music and she taught Piano from 1921 to 1982—over sixty years . She travelled in her Willies car, to Woodchester, Meningie, Charleston, Mt Torrens and other areas to give piano lessons to children in remote areas.  I can remember my friends coming to our place in Hahndorf for what was supposed to be a Music lesson but they mentioned to me that they really came to read the comics which my Mum kept in a cupboard.

My Mum was an avid reader and letter writer; she had over 54 “penfriends” most in America, Canada, and England, and it was one of her great thrills that she remembered travelling with her eldest sister to meet lots of them in 1972.

She served on the Red Cross Society, Hahndorf CWA, Hahndorf Institute committee, and various church groups both at St Michael’s (before she was married) and at St Paul’s.  Her contribution to the community was always to be involved and committed to assist in any way possible.

My Dad was the Foreman of the Mt Barker Council and he enjoyed gardening especially on his 40 acres at Paechtown.  He grew climbing beans and I can remember him coming home laden with sugar bags full of beans that numerous people would then purchase from him.

Dad and a group of men were instrumental in developing the Hahndorf oval where Dad used his skills as a licensed “Powder Monkey” to blast the rock out of the side of the hill.

Both Mum and Dad left a legacy in their own way, to make this community we now enjoy a great place to live.

We all need to take up the challenge to hold onto the values that reflect what is helpful for a community to thrive, and I am glad that my parents assisted my understanding of what that means.

Thank you, John Wittwer (son)