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Australian Placenames of German Background
(in Australian States apart from South Australia)

(German placenames in South Australia)

The following are official placenames in Australia today:



- a suburb in the west of Melbourne; a suburb of Hamburg in Germany

(Photo © D. Nutting) Hamburg-Altona station


Arkona is a locality on the Dimboola-Rainbow Road in the Wimmera in the west of Victoria. It was settled in 1890 predominantly by Germans. Local history has it that the name Arkona was selected because Cape Arkona in Germany was a favourite place of one of the Lutheran ministers of that part of the Wimmera. Cape Arkona is the northern tip of the German island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea. Cape Arkona is affectionately known in Germany as "Germany's North Cape". (Professor Lodewyckx of the University of Melbourne, who wrote a book in 1932 about the Germans in Australia, stated that the name Grünwald also existed for Arkona in the early days.)
This origin of the placename Arkona is also given in a 1944 book about placenames in Victoria and Tasmania, although it is not expressed very clearly.


Brunswick is the English name of Braunschweig, a city in northern Germany. The pioneer Thomas Wilkinson named his property Brunswick after Princess Caroline of Braunschweig; she was the wife of the British king George IV.


Charles Hotson Ebden, pastoralist, overlander, businessman and politician, born at the Cape of Good Hope [South Africa] to wealthy parents, was educated in England and in Karlsruhe, Germany. He came to New South Wales and his stock were the first to cross the Murray River. In 1837 he settled on the Campaspe River west of Mount Macedon and named the area Carlsruhe after the German city. Later he became a successful politician in Melbourne and helped William Westgarth bring German immigrants to Victoria.


The suburb used to be named 'Pentridge', but the residents wanted to change the name, in order that the name of their town would not be associated with the large prison there. In March 1870 the suburb was given the new name Coburg to honour the Duke of Edinburgh; he was a member of the German royal house of Saxony-Coburg-Gotha. His father Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, was from Germany. Coburg is also the name of a peninsula in the Northern Territory northeast of Darwin. The peninsula was named after Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who was the uncle of the British Queen Victoria. Prince Leopold later became King of Belgium.

(Photo © D. Nutting) road signDahlen - an area west of Horsham; named after the Dahlenburgs, a settler family

(Photo © D. Nutting) street sign in ElsternwickElsternwick

In the 1850s Charles Hotson Ebden [see Carlsruhe above] named his house there "Elster", the German word for "magpie". The suburb was named after his house. "Wick" is a Scandinavian word for "village".


10 km southeast of Bright; the name may possibly be an English version of Fredeburg, the name of a village in Schleswig-Holstein in the north of Germany...Heinrich Traulsen came from that region.

(Photo © D Nutting) Germantown signGermantown

6.5 km southeast of Bright; German Creek and Germantown were named after two Germans who found gold there and who were among the first settlers. Heinrich Traulsen, born in Schleswig-Holstein in 1836, and Ferdinand Blumner arrived in 1856 at the place that became Bright. They both became respected citizens of the area.



A locality on the Hamilton Highway 41 km from Geelong; named after George Hesse. In 1837 Hesse and Joseph Gellibrand, two Van Diemen's Land lawyers explored the Upper Barwon district. It is assumed that they were killed by Aborigines. Also Mt Hesse (about 10 km north-west of Winchelsea) and Point Hesse (west of Port Campbell). Hesse is the English name of the German state of Hessen. Hesse is also the surname of the Nobel-Prize-winning German author Hermann Hessse.

Leichardt (without one of the two "h"s - see also Leichhardt's name in the Australian landscape)



Northwest of Geelong; named after the Irish-German brothers Von Steiglitz - they owned large properties in Tasmania and moved from there to Victoria in June of 1836.



The town has this name since the early 1880s. It is believed that it was named after a German family who lived there.



During the First World War the Queensland Government replaced the name Marburg with the name Townshend, named after a British general. At the end of the war the people of Marburg asked for the old name to be returned, which the government did.

Minden, Prenzlau, Rosenthal,


Locality near Charters Towers, named after the German immigrant Philipp Friedrich Sellheim. He came to Australia in 1855, and was mine inspector on the Charters Towers goldfields from 1880-1888. In 1892 he became Under Secretary for Mines in the Queensland Government.

Photo © P Blöcker - Templin signSteiglitz


Templin was named by W F Hoenhaus after his birthplace in the West-Uckermark area, about 80 km northeast of Berlin. In the late 1870s a number of families emigrated from this area and settled on the Teviot Range in southeastern Queensland.


Derived from "Zillman's Waterhole" - Johann Leopold Zillmann, one of the early missionaries whom John Dunmore Lang brought to Queensland


Grindelwald, Interlaken, Steiglitz, Steiglitz Town,

German Town (small locality near St Marys on the east coast),

Mount Hartz National Park - 80 km south-west of Hobart, named after the Harz range of mountains in central Germany

Northern Territory:

Finke, Hermannsburg

New South Wales:


Outer northwestern suburb of Sydney; named after German immigrant Wilhelm Emert, who was postmaster and storekeeper at Mt Druitt in 1861


Outer southern suburb of Sydney; named after the Swiss part of the valley of the River Inn


Suburb of Sydney, near Liverpool. The name Heckenberg was given to the suburb because of the long association of the Heckenberg family with the Green Valley area. William Heckenberg and his wife settled in the area around 1865. William Heckenberg was the son of Captain Casper Theodore Heckenberg of Plymouth (England) and his wife Jane. It was emphasised during the First World War, when anti-German feeling was strong, that the Heckenberg family had lived in England and then Australia for close to 200 years.



Town in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney - "Linden" is the German name for the trees known in English as "lime trees"


Named after a spa town 50 km southwest of Hannover, Germany

Sans Souci

A suburb in the south of Sydney. The name is indeed French, but the suburb was named after the magnificent Sans Souci palace, which the Prussian King Friedrich the Great built in Potsdam in 1745. Sans Souci means "without a care".

Western Australia:

Mueller Park

A public park in the Perth suburb of Subiaco. In 1883 the park was given the name Mueller Park to honour the famous German-Australian botanist Baron Ferdinand von Mueller. Due to the wartime anti-German hysteria the Subiaco council changed the name to Kitchener Park in 1916. Lord Horatio Kitchener was a British war hero. The names of Ferdinand Street and Mueller Road, which had also been named after the German-Australian botanist, were also changed. In July 1980 Subiaco council decided to restore the original name to Mueller Park.


A locality northeast of Augusta, named after the Schroeder family, who farmed there from 1929-1989. After clearing the land they ran some cattle, then grew tobacco and later planted an orange orchard.

Names of German scientists in the landscape of Central Australia

During the 19th century quite a large number of scientists from the German-speaking countries were active in Australia. Some mountains in Central Australia are named after German scientists, for example: Mt Liebig, Mt Zeil, Mt Sonder, Mt Winnecke, Mt Leichhardt, Mt Heuglin, Von Treuer Tableland, Mt Feldtmann, Sachse Bluff, Haast's Bluff, Mt Von Mueller, Mt Mueller, Ferdinand Hills. The botanist and researcher Ferdinand von Mueller asked the explorer Ernest Giles to name a group of mountains near Uluru after the Queen of Württemberg. For a long time they had the name The Olgas (Queen Olga). Today they have the Aboriginal name Katatjuta.

Former German placenames

In earlier times Australia had many more German placenames, but local residents and governments have changed many names. Most of the German names in the following list were changed during the First World War. However, a few of the placenames listed below were not changed, though they are today very small rural localities without postcodes. Most German immigrants in the 19th century settled in rural areas.

(Photo © D. Nutting) road signVictoria - Germantown (now Grovedale, near Geelong), Breslau (in 1856 it was renamed Waldau, since ~1900 Doncaster; a Primary School in Doncaster that existed from 1971 until the 1990s was called Waldau Primary School), Gnadental (near Penshurst, east of Hamilton), Grünwald (now Arkona, a short distance northwest of Dimboola), Hochkirch (now Tarrington, 5 km southeast of Hamilton), Kirchheim (now Minyip), Kornheim (about 7 km east of Dimboola), Waldkirch (now Freshwater Creek, a short distance southwest of Geelong), Neukirch (now Byaduk, near Hamilton), New-Mecklenburg (from 1850 Keelbundora; ~1851 Dry Creek; ~1855 New Mecklenburg; ~1860 Westgarthtown; since ~1900 Thomastown), Plauen (now Mill Park), Tanck's Corner (named after the settler Friedrich Tanck, 1871 - since 1929 Yarrambat), Mt Bismarck (now Mt Kitchener)

Tasmania - Bismarck (now Collinsvale), German Town (now Lilydale, 26 km northeast of Launceston), Heidelberg (an early locality name near Port Sorell, 16 km east of Devonport, from 1887 at the latest; name no longer exists)

Queensland - Bismarck (now Maclagan), Blumbergville (now Boonah), Hessenburg (now Ingoldsby), Engelsburg (now Kalbar), Bergen (now Murra Murra), Bergenside (now Neuve), Gehrkevale (now Mount Mort), German Station (early German mission station, established in 1838; since 1885 the place has had the name Nundah), Gramzow (now Carbrook), Hapsburg (now Kowbi), Kirchheim (now Haigslea), Roessler (now Applethorpe), Stegeht (now Woongoolba), Teutoburg (now Witta)

New South Wales - Germanton (now Holbrook), German's Hill (now Lidster Hill, not far from Orange), German Creek (now Empire Vale, near Ballina on the north coast)

Western Australia - Heidelburg (now Bickley)

(German Placenames in South Australia)

[Diese Seite auf Deutsch]

See also:
Reynolds, Geoff. 1992. German Place Names in Australia changed during the Great War. Possum Printing, Bateman's Bay (NSW).

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