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Wends in Australia

The Wends that migrated to Australia did so so to a variety of places and situations. The unique nature of their diversity made way for two Wendish societies in Australia as well as a separate preserved farm that gives all visitors a look back to what building styles have been used in Australia.


The Wendish Heritage Society of Australia was formed in 1986 under the name "Sorb Committee in Victoria". Its founding members included Kevin Zwar as President, John Noack and Secretary/Treasurer, Ed and Gladys Koch, Robert Wuchatsch and Beverley and Benno Gotsky. The aims for this group included the study and promotion of the Wendish history, culture and heritage in Lusatia and in Australia. It implemented these through the organising social events and through establishing a Wendish/Sorbian Library for the collection and preservation of literature and other materials relating to the Wends.

This Committee was originally set up in South Australia in order to maintain contact with the citizens of the DDR, popularly known as East Germany. Since the slavic Sorbs/Wends of Lusatia, who lived along the River Spree south-east of Berlin, were citizens of the DDR, this Sorb Committee included in its aims the cultural contact with these Sorbs. A tour of the DDR was organised in 1989 , which included the important cultural and historical cities of Berlin, Potsdam, Leipzig, Wittenberg and Dresden and the traditional Wendish areas in and around Bautzen and Cottbus.

In Victoria, this group published a twice-yearly Newsletter featuring the group's events, tours, research issues, news and other items. A tour to country areas became a feature in the long weekend in March and a dinner in September or October provided the opportunity to celebrate anniversaries of the arrival of Hamburg Ships or contributions to Australian life by wendish families such s the Zwars and Deutschers. A tour to Germany including Lusatia was organised in 1994.

After the opening up of the DDR border and the fall of the Berlin Wall in and after 1989, the group's name was changed to "Wendish Heritage Society Australia". Although the Sorbs in Lusatia currently prefer the name "Sorbs", this Society returned to the name "Wends", which was commonly used in the mid 1800s during their migration to Australia. The word "heritage" reflects the aim of promoting the study and preservaton of the Wendish/Sorbian history and culture.

The Library... 

The Society has housed its library in steel cupboards and filing cabinets in rented rooms. The first was the Office at the Doncaster Lutheran Church, 53 Victoria Street, Doncaster. Lack of space led to the Wendish/Sorbian Library and Research Centre being shifted and established in the Meeting Room at the Ivanhoe Lutheran Church, 27 Livingstone Street in Ivanhoe, Melbourne. This Library houses four cupboards of books and four filing cabinets of files, as well as a computer containing many programs relevant to the exploration of the Wends, with some very useful ones compiled on FileMaker Pro by Computer Manager Joel Blackburn.

This Library is presently open for research and socialising on the first Sunday of each month from February to November from 1.30-5.30pm. The present Executive Committee includes John Noack President, Joel Blackburn Vice-President, Glenys Wollermann Secretary, Clay Kruger Treasurer and Committee Members Betty Huf (Research), Robert Wuchatsch (Research), Ed and Gladys Koch (Journal Items) and Kevin Zwar (ex-officio, Research).


Located in Australia at 100 Gardenia Road, Thomastown (Melway 8 H5) the Friends of Westgarthtown was formed in 1995 to bring together those who care for Westgarthtown’s German/Wendish heritage and its unique architectural and landscape assets. It consists of people interested in German/Australian history, its architecture, culture and lifestyle; descendants of the original German and Wendish settlers; local residents; German-born Australians; and all those who recognise Westgarthtown’s heritage significance.

Westgarthtown is an outstanding example of a surviving 19th century German village and its heritage sites are recognised as being of national and state significance. The Friends of Westgarthtown focus on the protection, restoration and promotion of the bluestone farmhouses and outbuildings, along with the Thomastown Lutheran Church, cemetery and reserve. Regular heritage events are also held in conjunction with the City of Whittlesea.

Westgarthtown authenticity

The Friends of Westgarthtown work closely with the City of Whittlesea and the Thomastown Lutheran Church on issues such as authenticity of architectural restoration, refurbishment and maintenance of Ziebell’s Farmhouse, outbuildings and garden and promotion of the precinct as a tourist destination.

Other Wends in Australia

At this time there is insufficient information to post about other Wendish groups in Australia. If you have information regarding them or are a member yourself, please consider contacting us to contribute.

As information expands concerning the different groups, you will see multiple pages specifically devoted to each group, why not help by contributing your knowledge?