Adolph Heinrich Friedrich Bartels (1819-1878)

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Adolph Heinrich Friedrich Bartels (b.1819 Kingdom of Hanover - d. 1878 Adelaide, South Australia) was a cigarmaker, publican and grain merchant, and the first German Mayor of the City of Adelaide.

Adolph Heinrich Friedrich Bartels
B-18071 Adolph Bartels.jpeg
Adolph Heinrich Friedrich Bartels [SLSA B-18071]
Born29 July 1819
Gilten, Kingdom of Hanover
Died9 November 1878
Adelaide, Province of South Australia
Resting placeWest Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
  • Hanoverian (1819-1852)
  • British(1852-1878
  • 1.Cigarmaker
  • 2.Tobacconist
  • 3.Publican
  • 4.Grain Merchant


Author: Wikipedia Contributors

In Germany

Bartels was born in Gilten, Hannover. He grew up in humble circumstances, and trained as a cigarmaker in Hamburg. In Breslau he met Joseph Ernst Seppelt, with whom he travelled to Adelaide via Melbourne around 1845.

In Australia

Bartels worked for a year worked as a labourer for Seppelt's son Bruno who was experimenting with tobacco and other crops at Seppeltsfield.

He must have returned to Germany around 1847, as it is recorded that Adolph Bartels and his sister Sophie Maria Johanne Henriette (or Maria Sophia Johanne) Bartels arrived in South Australia in April 1848 aboard President Smidt from Bremen with their parents Adolph Johann Cord Bartels (c. 1793 – 1 June 1863) and his wife Wilhelmine C. Bartels (c. 1794 – 26 November 1861). One Hans J. C. Bartels was naturalized in 1849.

He next worked as cigarmaker for retailers Gerke & Rodemann (founded 1849) of 42 Rundle Street, Adelaide. In the early 1850s he joined the exodus of South Australian men to the Victorian goldfields and after his return opened a tobacconist's shop on his own account on Rundle Street, near the York hotel. In 1854 Ludwig Uhlendorf, the licensee of the "King of Hanover" hotel, also on Rundle Street, died. The "King of Hanover", a single-storey affair, was later rebuilt as an 80-room hotel of two-storeys, then in 1916 became part of John Martin & Co.'s department store. The following year Bartels married his widow; they would have four or five children, of whom only one survived to adulthood. In 1856 he took over the hotel's licence, which he maintained until 1865, when he joined in partnership with G. H. C. Meyers as general agents and grain merchants, with which he was involved until the day he died.

His wife died in 1862, the date suggesting complications attending childbirth. A year later he married Anna Weidenbach, of Glen Osmond, who would survive him with six children.

In December 1866, Bartels was elected to the Adelaide City Council as councillor for the Hindmarsh Ward, and served for four years, then after a year's absence from the Council was in December 1871, elected Mayor, and re-elected unopposed the following year.

Bartels was characterised as a man who never spoke unless he had something useful to say. He was diligent in attending to his duties and showed sound business sense in his personal and public life. He died in Adelaide from liver cancer at the age of 58.


Friedrich and Rudolphine had four children:

Name Birth Death Spouse
Mary Wilhelmine 15 Sep 1855 Adelaide 27 Dec 1943 Hamburg Max Friedrich Neubauer
Bertha 30 Mar 1857 Adelaide 12 Feb 1858 Adelaide
Henry Adolph 16 Dec 1858 Adelaide 31 Jan 1859 Adelaide
Henry Albert 14 May 1860 Adelaide 26 Oct 1860 Adelaide

Friedrich and Anna had the following children:

Name Birth Death Spouse
Adolph 18 Apr 1864 Adelaide 3 May 1864 Adelaide
Paul Adolph 26 Jan 1865 Adelaide 29 Dec 1909 Adelaide
Henry Frank 18 Feb 1867 Adelaide 18 May 1895 Adelaide Elizabeth Henry
Laura Diosma 2 Mar 1869 Adelaide Diedrich Heinrich Schmidt
Anna Sophia 22 Feb 1871 Adelaide Karl Schinzinger
Adelaide Selma 9 Jul 1873 Adelaide 19 Dec 1874 Port Elliott
Iris 18 Apr 1876 Adelaide Traugott Carl Louis Rudolf Schneider
Selma 1 Mar 1878 Adelaide 23 May 1962 Ambleside Wilhelm Ernst Hans Franz (Hans) Heysen

Residences in the City

Dates Place Current Address Co-ordinates

Work in the City

Dates Place Current Address Co-ordinates

Published Obituary

From The Register, Saturday 30 November 1878:

Death of Mr. Bartels.

The announcement of the death of Mr. A. H. F. Bartels we are sure will be received with very general regret by the citizens of Adelaide. Mr. Bartels was in all respects what is known as a self-made man, and his career exemplifies in a marked degree how by the possession of sterling qualities consistently displayed in all his dealings a man of humble origin may raise himself to a position of eminence in the community.

Mr. Bartels was born in Hanover, and in his early years followed the trade of a cigarmaker at Hamburg. Thence he went to Breslau, where he met the father of Mr. B. Seppelt, with whom he came out under engagement via Melbourne to South Australia about 1848, and worked for him as a farm labourer at Seppeltsfield for a year. He then entered the employ of Messrs. Gerke & Rodemann, in Adelaide, as a cigarmaker, and after a visit to the Victorian gold-fields returned to Adelaide and opened a tobacconist's shop on his own account. After the death of Mr. Uhlendorf, who kept the King of Hanover Hotel, Mr. Bartels married his widow and carried on the business from 1855 till the end of 1865, when he entered into partnership with Mr G. H. C. Meyer as general agents and grain merchants— a connection which existed up till the time of his death.

In December, 1866, Mr. Bartels was chosen by the ratepayers of Hindmarsh Ward to represent them in the City Council— a position he retained for four years, and the manner in which he had discharged his functions gave so much satisfaction that after a year's absence from the Council he was in December, 1871, elected Mayor of the City, being the following year returned to the office unopposed. Mr. Bartels was not a man of words. He never talked for talking sake, but only when he had something worth saying, and the good sound, common sense, the diligent attention to his duties, thorough integrity, straightforwardness, and business ability which distinguished his action in municipal affairs were quite as apparent in the concerns of his everyday life. That these qualities were well recognised was shown by the fact that he occupied the position of Director of the Permanent Equitable Building Society and other public Companies to the satisfaction of shareholders. He was also a member of the Destitute Board.

About six weeks before his death Mr. Bartels was seized with severe illness caused by a tumour on the liver, from the effects of which he died on Saturday, November 9, at the age of fifty-eight. Some years ago his first wife died and he was married again to Miss Weidenbach, of Glen Osmond, who survives him with six children besides a married daughter by his previous wife.

On November 11 the funeral took place and was largely attended, the cortege to West terrace including about thirty vehicles. The chief mourners were the two young sons of the deceased, Dr. Neubauer (son-in-law), Messrs. J. Eitzen, B. and E. Weidenbach (brothers in law), M. F. Weidenbach, G. H. C. Meyer, and E. Pustkuchen. There were also present the Hon. W. Sandover, Drs. Gorger and Renner, Dr. Schomburgk, Messrs. Basedow, M.P, Krichauff, M.P., J. M. Solomon (Chairman of the Destitute Board), Lindsay (Secretary), A. Tilemann, A. Kauffmann, C. L. Meyer, G. Kindermann, H. L. and W. Vosz, J. Kelly, A. Adamson, D. Matinke, O. Farr, O. Kankin, C. Othams, W. D. Hewer, H. Steiner, A. Balk, Homburg, F.W. Wittwer, Bussenschutt, F. Armbruster, H. O. Uhlmann, O. Ziegler, Heir, Kolwes, Schutze, C.E. Tidemann, Kruss, and others..[1]


  1. "Death of Mr. Bartels". The South Australian Register. Adelaide, South Australia. 30 November 1878.

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