The Hermann Thumm Collection at The Barossa Chateau

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 10/18/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

The Barossa Valley is most famous for its extensive collection of wineries and its dedication to local, Australian produce. But, behind the wines and platters at the Barossa Chateau, there is another slice of culture that is well worth exploring.

Here, you’ll find the eclectic Hermann Thumm Collection. Set inside the Grand Ballroom and Art Gallery, with tall ceilings, impressive chandeliers, and plenty of polished tiles. The collection is one of the largest porcelain collections in Australia. Brought together by Hermann Thumm, the display boasts grand pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries.

During his lifetime, Thumm travelled to England, France, Germany, and all around Australia to add pieces to his ever-growing collection. Over 35 years the collection has grown to the size it is now. In the collection, you’ll find pieces from the great porcelain houses of Meissen, Sevres, Worchester, Chelsea, and Stinton.

The Life of Hermann Thummbarossa antiques

Thumm’s life began in Russia-controlled Georgia just before the First World War, where he was born to German parents. As a young man, he saw the communist regime take his ancient family estate. This led him to flee on a dangerous journey to Iran. During the journey he swam across a river while border guards fired bullets his way. He then interned at the British Army in 1941 before he moved to South Australia and founded the magnificent Chateau Yaldara, for which he is popularly known for today. This Chateau changed the landscape of winemaking in the Barossa Valley, but Thumm’s porcelain collection was his pride and joy.

He called it “history crystalised in beautiful items and delicate art, ornate clocks, porcelain, paintings, and ingeniously-worked suites and furniture.”

Bringing together more than 1,500 items in the Art and Antique Gallery at the Barossa Chateau, it is one of the most eclectic collections in the whole of Australia. Thumm’s pride and joy is a porcelain depiction of Helios the Sun God, by artist Kaendler.

Today, the collection is in the hands of Mark and Mandy Creed, who run the Barossa Chateau, along with its sprawling rose gardens, barrel room, cellar door, and the unique Art and Antique Gallery. They continue to discover curious finds in Hermann Thumm’s private museum, and continue to add to the collection with the goods they stumble across.

During a visit to the Barossa Chateau, guests can wander through the Gallery and marvel at the expansive collection that Thumm managed to put together during his tumultuous and fascinating life.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.