Light Pass House

Bed and Breakfast (B&B) accommodation in the Barossa Valley

Light Pass Road, Light Pass, near Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, SA


In the 1860s, Light Pass was much bigger in area than it is now. The Immanuel Church, visible from the rear of Light Pass House, was one of the churches of the parish of Pastor Kavel, the founding leader of Lutherans from Germany in the Barossa Valley. These Germans were funded to immigrate and found their new Utopia in the Barossa Valley by a British millionaire philanthropist, George Fife Angas, who later became bankrupt largely as a result of this investment. Angaston is named after GF Angas.

Johann Lowke was the 8 year old son of Peter, one of these German immigrants who arrived in Australia in 1851, after a 4 month trip by sailing boat from Hamburg. Johann later lived in a 4 room pug house (similar to Luhrs Cottage), on the site of the present Light Pass Public School, 2 blocks north of Light Pass House. In one of these rooms he had a baby grand piano. Johann became organist of the Immanuel Church for 65 years and teacher at the church school for 43 years. Johann stipulated in his will that one of his sons, Charley, build a “comfortable dwelling” for his aged sister, Maria, known as ‘Marka’, who from birth was deaf, and consequently also dumb. The dwelling is Light Pass House, built in 1930 using Maywald Brothers as the carpenters and H.G. Scholz for the masonary.

Charley (Ernst Carl) Lowke was, from 1921 to 1944, manager of the Tanunda branch of EFCOS, the ‘Eudunda Farmers Cooperative Society’, with a staff of 6 people. EFCOS had, at one stage, 49 general stores throughout South Australia; and earlier in his life Charley had been manager of 14 of them, including the Pyapp, a trading boat on the river Murray. Charley had also been manager of a government store for the workers who were building the railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoolie. He was also a member of many brass bands, including the Broken Hill Brass Band and the Silver City Brass Band, also of Broken Hill. In his retirement, from 1960 until 1967, he was ‘mail porter’, transferring mail between the Nuriootpa Post Office and the Light Pass mail boxes. His wife Betty (nee Heinrich) continued these duties, after Charley died, until 1977.

The current owner of Light Pass House is John, son of Charley. John is a physicist, who worked for Westinghouse Research Laboratories in Pittsburgh, USA for 11 years, the University of Sydney for 5 years, and since 1980, for CSIRO. He was Chief of the CSIRO Division of Applied Physics in Sydney for 8 years, with a staff of about 400 people. He started his career as a school teacher, teaching at Unley and Riverton High Schools. His wife, Karil (nee Garrett), had a major role in establishing Light Pass House as a ‘Bed and Breakfast’.