The story of Teutoburg to Witta


IN THE late 19th Century, the district now known as Witta was settled by predominantly Germanic immigrants. They called their homeland Teutoburg.

Local historian and archaeologist, Dr Steve Chaddock, and author Dale Jacobsen collaborated to produce Teutoburg to Witta, an illustrated book which tells the story of the formation of this community, which they both now call home.

On Sunday May 15, archaeologist, historian and author Dr Judy Powell will officially launch the book at the Witta Recreational Club, where the authors will read and discuss the book.

Dr Judy Powell reviewed the story, which covers a sixty year period beginning in the 1860s when a group of German immigrants arrived in Brisbane, moving to the Logan district south of Brisbane – ‘Little Germany’. After a year of massive flooding, a group of eighteen German families applied for selections in the Blackall Range. In memory of one of the defining events in German history, they named the area ‘Teutoburg’.

As Dr Powell reviews, “Chaddock and Jacobsen describe the lives of these early families – their early farming ventures, their campaign to provide a Provisional School, their growing sense of community as expressed through church and social activities. Always the stories are told with a sense of each individual – the odd scandal, the tragedies of early death, the hardships and humour. Music and dance feature, as do smoked sausage and cheese.

“But what brought Teutoburg (the name, not the locality) to an end was what had brought it into being in the first place – nationalism. Just as the very word ‘Teutoburg’ invokes a great national myth (the defeat of the Romans by Germanic tribes in 9CE), so too it was anti-German sentiment during World War I that led, in 1916, to the re-gazettal of the locality and its renaming as Witta.

“‘Teutoburg to Witta. How European Settlement helped make Maleny’ is a useful addition to the history of the Sunshine Coast hinterland and the stories of the early European settlers of the area will be a reading delight to those who know Witta well,” Dr Powell said.

The launch will be held at the Witta Recreational Club on Witta Road, Witta on Sunday May 15. Entry is free, with food and drink available from 11am; launch will be at 12noon. For more information, contact Dale on 0413 843 652 or dalelornajacobsen@bigpond.com

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