The Hahndorf Puppet Shop is situated in Hahndorf in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of South Australia only 25 minutes south east of the city of Adelaide. Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest original non-English migrant settlement. It was established in 1839 by a small group of German speaking Lutherans just 54 families, fleeing religious persecution in Eastern Europe.
The group made the long and treacherous journey on a small sailing ship named the Zebra under the able command of Captain Dirk Hahn. By all accounts Captain Hahn befriended the pioneers and provided great support, even arranging the lease of land for their settlement upon arrival. The settlers were so appreciative that they decided to name the village after him in his honour.
From pioneering German settlement to modern-day cultural hub, Hahndorf continues to entrance hundreds of thousands of visitors year after year. Hahndorf is famous for being the home and inspiration of internationally recognised Australian landscape artist Sir Hans Heysen. Acknowledged as the first artist to paint the striking Australian bush as it actually was. Heysen lived and painted at his now heritage-listed Hahndorf studio, The Cedars, from 1912 – 1968. The Cedars is now open to the public and is one of Hahndorf’s ‘must sees’. However, there are also many other galleries, shops, cafes and pubs in the village as well as several wineries of outstanding quality.
Many of the original settlers’ traditional German timber and brick cottages (fachwerk) are still standing. Hahndorf’s historical significance to Australia has been recognised by its listing by the National Estate (1983) and as a State Heritage Area (1988). The Hahndorf Puppet Shop is attached to the original Humpsch’s Shoemaker Shop built in 1863 by Mr. Humpsch.