German Empire celebration in Enoggera (1908)

German Empire celebration at Enoggera, Brisbane 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 39297

German Empire celebration at Enoggera, Brisbane 1908. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Neg 39297

On January 18, 1908, over 800 German migrants and their families gathered together at Enoggera to celebrate the 37th anniversary of the union of the German Empire. In anticipation of a large turnout the Railway Commissioner organised extra carriages on the 2:30pm train from Central Station to convey people to the venue. Arriving at Enoggera Station, a brass band lead the merrymakers to a local paddock, where trees and posts were decorated with bunting showing the German, Australian and British flags.

The Daily Mail newspaper reported the opening of the celebration was marked by “a selection of German national band music, and was followed by an excellently rendered patriotic anthem sung by members of the South Brisbane Lutheran Church choir”.  Dr Eugen Hirschfeld, the Imperial German Consul, then addressed the crowd proclaiming the success of a unified Germany, its desire for peace after centuries of conflict and the necessity of maintaining its armed forces to protect that peace. “Since its foundation the German Empire had waged no war, and that it should ever remain powerful yet peaceful was the wish of them all,” he concluded with cheers from the crowd.

Following the formalities and the playing of the British and German national anthems, a number of sporting competitions ensued, including races, tug-of-war, target shooting, needle threading, skittles, and catching the greasy pig.  There were also musical entertainments and plentiful refreshments available throughout the afternoon, though the Brisbane Courier reported that certain rationing was required; all male attendees received two tickets entitling the bearer to two glasses of beer, a system that was strictly enforced by the two men guarding the keg.

Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

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