Located 70 km from Adelaide, Tanunda (it is an Aboriginal word which reputedly means either 'watering hole' or 'many birds on a creek') is the focal point of the Barossa Valley. It is a large rural settlement with leafy streets and is totally circumscribed by vineyards. No matter which way you look there is one at the end of the street. In the immediate area there are no fewer than eight wineries - Basedow Wines and Stanley Brothers Winery in Murray Street, Richmond Grove, Peter Lehmann Wines, Old Barn Wines and Langmeil Winery in Para Road, Chateau Dorrien on Seppeltsfield Road and Glaetzer Wines in Barossa Valley Way.
Prior to European settlement a small number of Aborigines were well established in the district. They lived on a diet of grass seeds (made into a kind of damper), kangaroos, wallabies, possums, lizards and fish and protected themselves against the winter cold with possum skin rugs. Their life was simple but perfectly in tune with the climate, flora and fauna of the region.
Soon after the arrival of colonists in South Australia in July, 1836 expeditions were sent out to explore the hinterland. By December 1837 explorers had reached Lyndoch and by 1838 other explorers had reached the Murray River passing through the Barossa Valley. The valley was named by Colonel Light after Barrosa (Hill of Roses) in Spain where he had fought against the French in 1811 in the Peninsula War. The spelling mistake was never corrected.
By 1839 Colonel Light, the Surveyor General of South Australia, was selling off large tracts of land in the valley. German settlers arrived in Langmeil (it changed its name to Tanunda) in 1842 as a result of the work of Pastor Augustus Kavel who had contracted for the land on 30 June, 1839. For years people believed that Tanunda was a German name. In 1859 a local paper, The Register, published the note: 'Tanunda is not, as many suppose, German, but a native appellation of the ancient lords of the soil, and has reference to the waters that skirt the place the year round.'
In its early years the town was the very essence of German Lutheranism. There was a German newspaper (1855), a number of Lutheran churches, a brass band, a German 9 pin bowling alley and even a liedertafel (choir).
Today the town continues to have a distinctly German feel with sausage shops, German bread shops, German-style restaurants and lots of wine.
Things to see
Barossa Wine and Visitor Centre
An ideal starting point for any visit to Tanunda. The Barossa Wine and Visitor Centre is located at 66-68 Murray Street (the main street) and is open seven days a week. It provides tourist information on the town and the entire Barossa Valley, has a display which recounts the history of the local wine industry and shows the importance of wine growing and the role of the grape grower. Contact (08) 8563 0616 or toll free 1800 812 662.
'Goat Square, also known as ³Der Zeigenhart', was laid out in the centre of the town of Tanunda by Charles Flaxman, to whom the land was granted on 30 May, 1842. Tanunda was central to the villages of Bethanien (Bethany) 1842 and Langmeil (1843) which were established by Prussian Lutherans (who came to South Australia seeking religious freedom) on land claimed by Flaxman and George Fife Angas after the explorations of Johann Menge 1838, according to tradition the square was used by the early pioneers as a meeting place and for the bartering of goods.
Initially it creates the impression of just being a crossroads (it is located at the corner of John and Maria Street one block west of Murray Street) but on closer inspection it is recognisable as a small square with tiny single storey cottages on each side of the square.
'Here at Langmeil on 9 October 1866 Pastors J.F. Gossling and E. Homann and lay missionaries J.E. Jacob and H.H. Vogelsang set out to establish a Lutheran Mission among the Dieri tribe of Aboriginals. On 31 January 1867 they established Bethesda Mission Station at Lake Killalpaninna, Coopers Creek.'
Tabor Lutheran Church
A remarkable church on Murray Street (the main street of town) characterised by an orb on the top of the 26 metre spire. In the orb are some old church records. While the church dates from 1849 (making it the first in the village) it was completely rebuilt in 1871. For more information check out their website http://chariot.net.au/~falland/Tabor
Langmeil Lutheran Church
The impressive entrance to the church through an avenue of cypress trees running off Maria Street makes it one of the town's special attractions. Pastor Augustus Kavel, the man responsible for the German emigration to South Australia, is buried in the churchyard.
St. John's Lutheran Church
St John's Lutheran Church, located on Murray Street and dating to 1868, is notable for the five life-sized statues - Peter and Paul, Moses and Jeremiah and Christ - made from wood and painted white to give the impression of being made out of marble. The church is signposted off the main street in town and is located in Janes Place.
Auricht's printing office
This remarkable building was completed in 1855. It has been at the centre of Tanunda's printing for over 130 years.
Post Office Museum
The Post Office remains a constant reminder of the sense of community which characterised Tanunda in the early days. The land was purchased by the people of the town who then gave it to the government to build a post office. The building was completed in 1866 and today is used as a museum which records and stores the history of the area.
Chateau Tanunda winery
Founded in 1889, Chateau Tanunda, one of the most famous brands of Australian wine, is located next to the Tanunda railway station
There are a number of businesses in town where wine casks and kegs are made. They all are open to the public and offer an opportunity to experience the ancient art. They include The Keg Factory on St Hallet Road (08) 8563 3012, Heinrich Cooperage on Basedow Road (08) 8563 3780, Schulz Barrel Co at 37a Murray Street (08) 8563 0177 and A.P. John Cooperage at 24-26 Basedow Road (08) 8563 2178.
Mengler's Hill Lookout
The road that connects Tanunda and Angaston crosses the Barossa Valley at Mengler's Hill. The hill was named after an early vine grower, Mr Mengler. It is an excellent vantage point to appreciate the seemingly endless vineyards and the richness of the Barossa Valley.
Story Book Cottage and Whacky Wood
A tourist attraction built around the depiction of well known children's story book characters and events. Located in Oak Street. Contact (08) 8563 2910. It is open 10 am - 5 pm daily.
Norms Coolie Sheep Dogs
An entertaining display of the skills of the Australian sheep dog in a typical Australian farmland setting. Located off Gomersal Road. Contact (08) 8563 2198.
Located at 161-165 Murray Street in the heart of Tanunda this winery was established in 1896 and specialises in both red and white table wines (and is known for its outstanding whites) derived from a wide variety of grapes. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. There is also a pleasant picnic area. For more details contact (08) 8563 0333.
Stanley Brothers Winery
Located in Barossa Valley Way this small winery was established in 1994 and specialises in premium varietal red and white table wines and fortified wines derived from cabernet sauvignon, riesling, muscadelle, Grenache, shiraz and chardonnay grapes. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8563 3375.
Located in Para Road winery was established in 1897 and specialises in both premium red and white table wines derived from cabernet sauvignon and riesling grapes. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8563 2204. There are very pleasant picnic facilities beside the Para River.
Peter Lehmann Wines
Located in Para Road this huge winery (they crush over 10,000 tonnes of grapes each year - they buy grapes from more than 200 Barossa growers) was established in 1979 and specialises in both red and white table wines derived from cabernet, shiraz, riesling and chardonnay grapes. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8563 2500. In winter the tastings take place in front of an open fire in the historic 1860s winery.
Old Barn Wines
Located in Para Road this small family winery was established in 1990 in an old barn built by the early settlers in 1861 and specialises in both red and white table wines, sparking wines and fortified wines derived from a wide range of grapes. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8563 0111.
Located in Para Road this winery was established in 1932 in the old Lutheran village of Langmeil near the North Para River. It specialises in both red and white table wines and fortified wines derived from shiraz grapes. The vineyard dates to the 1840s. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8563 2595.
Located on Seppeltsfield Road this winery was established in 1984 and specialises in both red and white table wines, fortified wines and mead derived from cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, riesling and chardonnay grapes. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8562 2850.
Located at 34 Barossa Valley Way this small family winery was established in 1996 and specialises in both red and white table wines and sparkling wines. It is open seven days a week for tastings and sales. For more details contact (08) 8563 0288.
Barossa Wine and Visitor Information Centre
66-68 Murray St
Tanunda SA 5352
Telephone: (08) 8563 0600, 1300 852 982
Facsimile: (08) 8563 0616