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Anna Bartels was Mayoress of the City of Adelaide (married to the Mayor) between 1871 and 1873.

Early Life

Anna Augusta Weidenbach was born on 30 October 1842, to Friedrich and Diosma Weidenbach in Dresden, Saxony, Germany. Anna arrived in South Australia with her parents and two brothers aboard the Pauline on 31 March 1848, from Bremen, Germany. According to the passenger list her father was a gardener.

Many German emigrants of the time came to South Australia to escape persecution. But some came to work in the newly discovered mining areas and others were encouraged by earlier German emigrants. A young single man by the name of August Friedrich Weidenbach, a coach-builder, had arrived from Bremen two years earlier, on a previous voyage of the Pauline; perhaps he was a close relative of the family. Anna’s father died in 1858 at the age of 42.

On 23 July 1863, Anna married Adolph Heinrich Friedrich Bartels. Anna was 24 years younger than Adolph, and his second wife. Adolph’s first wife, Rudolphina, had died one year earlier.

The couple were wed at the King of Hanover Hotel in Rundle Street, Adelaide. At the time, Adolph was that hotel’s licensee.

Contributions and Achievements

In December 1865, Anna took over the King of Hanover Hotel licence, and it appears the hotel was kept in the family for even longer. In 1879 following Adolph’s death, a relative of Adolph’s, Edwin Weidenbach, took over.

In 1864, Anna’s first child, also Adolph, was born (the baby died the same year). He was followed in quick succession by Paul in 1865, Henry in 1867, Laura in 1869, Anna in 1871, Adelaide in 1873 (who died the following year), Iris in 1876, and Selma in 1878.

Adolph was Mayor of Adelaide from 1871 to 1873, during which time Anna took on the role of Mayoress. 

Personal Note

Anna outlived her husband by 32 years. She died in 1910.

By Cheryl Williss, HerStory Project

The HerStory project came about to recognise and celebrate the lives and the achievements of Women’s work in South Australia and was initiated in 2015 on the 175th anniversary of the City of Adelaide, by Genevieve Theseira-Haese, Lady Mayoress of Adelaide. The stories collected offer a unique perspective of Adelaide and South Australia that form a different history to what is often heard. This community built initiative is supported by the City of Adelaide and the History Trust of South Australia.

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