During the 1830’s and early 1840’s many Lutherans left the German provinces of Posen, Silesia and Brandenberg to escape religious persecution. Many went to the United States of America; others migrated to Russia. With the assistance of George Fife Angas, almost 500 of these Lutherans emigrated to South Australia in late 1838 and early 1839. They were accompanied by their Pastor, A.L.C. Kavel.
Their first settlement in Australia was at Klemzig, a few miles to the north-east of Adelaide on the banks of the Torrens. The Captain of the “Zebra”, one of the emigrant ships, was Dirk Meinertz Hahn. After some negotiation, he made an agreement with local landowners whereby many of his passengers could lease, and eventually purchase 150 acres of land at what is now Hahndorf. This agreement was signed on January 25, 1839. Approximately 240 of the emigrants were among the founders of the town which they names in honour of Captain Hahn. The name HAHNDORF means HAHN’s village [dorf means village].
Pastor Kavel attended to the spiritual needs of the early settlers. Their first church, a low but roomy building of pug was built during 1840. Six or seven families from these initial settlers built the first St. Paul’s Church which was dedicated in 1858. This building still stands on Windsor Avenue and serves as the Louise Flierl Mission Museum.
By the late 1880’s the old church had become dilapidated; it was decided to build a new church rather than renovate the old. The foundation stone was laid on January 8, 1890, and the dedication took place on September 14, 1890. This event was 50 years after the dedication of the first church in Hahndorf. This building now serves the current congregation.
While our Gospel mission is to all the family of God, here at St Paul’s we have developed over recent decades a special ministry to the elderly through St Paul’s Lutheran Homes which includes facilities in multiple locations within Hahndorf for approximately 80 independent living residents in addition to a 80 bed residential aged care facility for those needing a higher level of care, and we encourage all our members, from the youngest to the oldest, to share in the joy of caring for the elderly.