Birkenstock in the Hills History

Birkenstock in the Hills History

Birkenstock in the Hills can be found in the historic town of Hahndorf, located in the Adelaide Hills just 28 kilometres southeast of Adelaide. Hahndorf is a picturesque little town with great history. The First Nations Peramangk people, first inhabited the area and were highly resourceful in utilising all that the land had to offer. The beauty of the Adelaide Hills was preserved whilst they lived off all that was around them. 

After South Australia’s European settlement, colonists settled into the Adelaide Hills. Hahndorf is Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement that was built by Prussian settlers and can be traced all the way back to 1838. Fifty-four Lutheran families settled the area after arriving in South Australia. The German settlers were fleeing religious persecution in Prussia and wanted to immigrate to a safe location. You can read more about Hahndorf and its history here:

Johann George Haebich, who was born in Stuttgart-Botnang in 1813, arrived in Port Adelaide with his wife and three children in October 1846 on the 'Heerjeebhoy Rustomjeepatel'. He was a blacksmith who shoed horses, made nails, nuts and bolts and farm machinery. The smithy (now Birkenstock) as it was known, was built in 1880 by August Haebich, who had taken over the blacksmith business of his late father, George Haebich. It was still functioning in the 1920s and has been depicted in some of Sir Hans Heysen’s drawings. He moved his family and business to 71 -75 Main Street in 1855.

When transportation by horse and cart was taken over by the automobile, petrol pumps appeared near the footpath. The abandoned old red gum smithy in the backyard remained untouched however, the stone building at the kerb-side was used as a garage until 1972 when the art and tourism industry gave it a new life. 

From then on in 1972, the historic building became Storison which was a gallery and gift store. You can still find Storison there today (located next door to us at Birkenstock) where you can purchase a wide range of unique gifts for a variety of individual tastes. 

In July of 2003, the Birkenstock in the Hills store opened. It became the place of all things Birkenstock and was quickly loved by many. The previous owner introduced a wide range of Birkenstock sandals and shoes that many had not seen before in SA. The store quickly developed a following, especially with SA locals. It became a place that customers knew they would get in-depth information and knowledge of the products whether it be in regards to fitting, materials, history or style

Fast forward to January 2012 and the current owners began their Birkenstock in the Hills journey. After loving the brand for many years (since they were children in the 70s) they made the decision to purchase the business. With a passion for all things Birkenstock, the job came naturally to them. Over the past 10 years of owning the business, it has developed and grown immensely. The business was put online so Birkenstock lovers outside of SA could enjoy shopping with us and also so that customers could see what’s new or what we currently stock in-store. A social media presence soon followed and people from all over Australia would start to become familiar with the family owned business that sits in the quaint town of Hahndorf.

When asking what the Birkenstock in the Hills owners favourite aspects of owning business was, it was no surprise that their love for the product was their main drive and passion. Meeting customers over the years and seeing people appreciate Birkenstock footwear is a an additional pleasure of owning the business. They look forward to seeing the future of the brand and hope it continues to be loved by so many around not only Australia, but the world. 

You can find us at 73a Main Street, Hahndorf SA 5245. You can contact us via email or phone and you will be answered promptly within trading hours from 10-5 weekdays and 10-4:30 weekends. We are open 7 days a week, every day of the year but Christmas Day. We look forward to seeing you around Hahndorf and in-store! 

Birkenstock in the Hills acknowledges that we work and walk upon the lands of the Peramangk Nation and we pay our respect to Peramangk Elders past and living today as the traditional custodians the land.