In 1992, the German Harmonie Club committee—led by the club’s longest-serving president, the late Guenter Koerner—decided to create a memorial to the reunification of Germany on the club’s grounds.
“With help from friends in Berlin, they managed to get hold of a section of the wall—weighing 2.6 tons and standing 3.2 meters tall—for 500 Deutsch Marks,” Harmonie German Club president Kevin Bramboeck, said. The large concrete slab is believed to be the largest piece of the Berlin Wall in the Southern Hemisphere. It arrived in Sydney a few months later on board a Russian container ship and was officially unveiled on October 3, 1992—the second Day of German Unity, and the 28th anniversary of the social club’s opening.
The Harmonie German Club is a social club founded by German migrants in Canberra. It dates back to the early 1960s, after an influx of immigration in the 1950s had nearly doubled the population of Australia’s capital city. After being contracted by the government to build homes to accommodate the new residents, the construction firm AV Jennings recruited around 150 carpenters from Germany. When their two-year contracts were done, most of the so-called “Jennings Germans” elected to remain in Australia. Many of them were among the founding members of the German Harmonie Club.
A plaque near the graffiti-covered concrete slab reads: “This section of the Berlin Wall reminds us that no man-made barrier can repress the spirit of freedom. May we all unite to live in harmony ensuring peace for generations.”