Two state heritage-listed properties destroyed by the bushfires that tore through the Adelaide Hills last summer have been deregistered.
- Two heritage-listed farms in South Australia’s Lobethal have been deregistered
- The farms, Nitschke Farm and Klopsch Farm, were destroyed in last summer’s bushfires
- The SA Heritage Council says it is in talks with emergency services to protect other sites
After months of consultation, Nitschke Farm and Klopsch Farm at Lobethal were removed from the register because the destruction was so severe.
Owner of the historical German Nitschke farm, 59-year-old Erik Braunack-Mayer, said only a few structures on the 160-acre property remained.
“The only thing that survived was a heritage-listed chook house which used to be a pigsty, an outdoor dunny, and a fairly small bore shed.”
Heritage gone forever
Built in 1856, the farm was made with hardwood timber — like what the occupants had lived in back in Germany.
“You can find individual buildings like that in other parts of the state, but to find a half-timber house, an old wooden barn, an old wooden grain store … and a heritage chook house all on the one property still in existence — that’s what made it a really special place,” Mr Braunack-Mayer said.
He said the house was built using mortise and tenon joints.
“That means you make a bit of a slot in the wood and you feed the post in. Having fitted it nicely then you peg it with a dowel,” he said.
At the time of the fire, Mr Braunack-Mayer was living in New South Wales and had rented the property to a family who was not home.
He and his wife Annette dreaded coming back after Christmas to find the property he had previously lived in for 15 years was lost.
“We knew what we would find because the neighbour had taken photos, but we didn’t know how we would feel,” he said.
“It was just awful because there wasn’t a single useable thing left in the buildings that had burnt.
Preparation for future disasters
Chair of the SA Heritage Council, Keith Conlon, said the destruction of Nitschke Farm and Klopsch Farm was a “loss for the state”.
He said the SA Heritage Council is now talking with emergency authorities to try and prepare for future bushfires.
“Let’s face it, if you’re preparing to try to stop that fire coming towards Lobethal, you need to know which properties you’re going to protect,” he said.
This includes the remnants of Nitschke Farm.
Mr Braunack-Mayer said he was planning on erecting a plaque on the surviving chimney to explain the significance of the farm.
“I’m not sure if we can still save it, but if we can we’ll put a plaque on that so people know that there was something special there,” he said.