Canberra's German Community

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of attending the annual Jennings Germans get together at the Harmonie German Club here in Narrabundah. I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with Canberra's German community, particularly the Jennings Germans, who helped build Canberra.

This is a great story. In the 1950s, 150 young German men came to Canberra to work for AV Jennings. Jennings had a contract to build 1,850 homes here in Canberra in just two years. A labour shortage meant that they had to look overseas for workers. So they got carpenters and they got bricklayers from Germany—young men who arrived in Australia, in Canberra, in 1951 and 1952 and built very distinctive homes in Yarralumla, in Ainslie, in O'Connor, in Harman and also in Narrabundah. I am very keen to ensure that some of those houses are preserved and not bulldozed.

Some of the Jennings Germans went back to Germany but others fell in love with sweethearts, they fell in love with Canberra, they fell in love with both, and they decided to stay, which was great for our community. I want to thank the Jennings Germans for their contribution to Canberra in building our nation's capital. I also want to let them know I will be working with them to get recognition from the ACT government in the honour walk. Time is running out. There are only 25 of them left. I will work with the community and Jennings to ensure that these Jennings Germans get the recognition they deserve.

Download a copy of this speech.

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