The German, Austrian and Swiss Clubs of Today
Clubs and associations for the German-speaking communities in Australia already existed in the 19th century. In large rural towns (e.g. Bendigo, Toowoomba, Albury) there were clubs where German-speaking immigrants were able to enjoy the company of their countrymen. 80% of Australia's Germans at that time lived in rural areas rather than in the big cities. In Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane the German-speakers lived amongst the rest of the population, and the most obvious signs of the German-speakers were their clubs and club buildings. Today's South Australian German Association was founded in 1886, the Melbourne German Club Tivoli has roots going back to the 1850s, and the German Club Brisbane and the Concordia Club Sydney have been in existence since 1883.
Many German clubs had to close during the two World Wars. The big wave of German-speaking immigration after 1950 led to the formation of a large number of new clubs and cultural groups in many parts of Australia. Many German, Austrian and Swiss groups and clubs are still active. Admittedly the German language no longer plays a central role in club activities and events, however, the clubs still strive to maintain traditional customs and cultural celebrations. Clubs have many members who are not of German-speaking background.
Clubs such as Adelaide's South Australian German Association encompass very many different special interest groups, for example: sporting groups, dance groups, hiking groups, music groups etc. The big clubs organise traditional festivals each year, for example the Schützenfest in Adelaide in January (second-largest Schützenfest in the world), and wine festivals and Oktoberfests in other Australian capital cities.
The lists of clubs and associations in the links below show how widespread and numerous they are in Australia.
Die Brücke is a federal organisation of 38 German-oriented clubs and organisations in Australia and New Zealand. It was founded in Sydney in 1965. One of its goals is to preserve the German language and keep German culture and traditions alive.
Richardsons Crescent / Mackey Park
(opposite Tempe Station)
Tempe NSW 2044
Tel 02 9869 8947 Fax 02 9868 1127
Austrian Club Canberra
Austrian Club Melbourne
Austrian Club Sydney
"Austrian Associations of Australasia Inc."
The Old Austria Club of W.A. (Inc.)
Austrian Club Adelaide
Tivoli Deutscher Verein Melbourne
The Club Tivoli is one of the oldest clubs in Victoria. In the 1850s there were several German-language groups and clubs in Melbourne. On the 1st May 1860 the "Deutsche Turnverein Melbourne" was founded. The already existing and reputable "Liedertafel Harmonia" (male choir) joined the new club on the same day. In 1885 the choir changed its name from "Harmonia" to "Arion". On the 1st May 1921 the "Deutsche Turnverein Melbourne" and the Club Tivoli amalgamated under the name "Club Tivoli Deutscher Verein Melbourne". The club bought its present club roooms in Dandenong Rd Windsor in 1989. The Liedertafel Arion and the Liederkranz Tivoli (a mixed choir) continue to be active singing groups. Since 1983 Club Tivoli, together with the Austrian Club and the Swiss Club, has played an important role in the organisation of Melbourne's Oktoberfest.
The Association organises the Schützenfest in January in Bonython Park, Port Road, Thebarton, Adelaide. This is Adelaide's annual German Festival. During the two days of the festival over 30,000 people come to the Schützenfest and enjoy traditional German food, music, dance and crafts.
AGA Club Germania (German Club Wollongong)
Germania Club (Newcastle)
Warners Bay NSW 2280
(German Club Sydney / Deutscher Club Sydney)
The German Club is one of the oldest clubs in Sydney and was founded in 1883.
Society of Australia Limited
73-75 Curtin Street, Cabramatta, Sydney
(founded in 1956)
German Club Gold Coast
Turnverein / German Club - oldest ethnic club in Queensland
(Vulture St, Brisbane)
Volkstanzgruppe Oberbayern Club Tivoli (Melbourne - on Facebook)
Swiss Club of Victoria
List of Swiss Clubs and Swiss Organisations in Australia - with contact details
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