The Goethe Society WA: 1949 until now
There are Goethe Societies in many parts of the world. Our aim is the promotion and enjoyment of all aspects of German culture.
The Society takes its name from the greatest German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). During his life, Goethe gained worldwide acclaim for his first novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des jungen Werther). He is best remembered for his poems and his play Faust. He poured many of his own desires and flaws into his character Faust – a man forever restlessly striving after knowledge, action and experience. Though he lived during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Goethe can be described as a classic Renaissance man, as his mind and activities embraced many fields of human endeavor, and he could thus be described as a well-rounded character, even by today’s standards. As a man of letters – a lyric poet, dramatist and novelist – he reached a stature rivalled by few others. He was also well-versed in philosophy and science, where he delved into the fields of geology, optics, botany and comparative anatomy.
Far from devoting himself exclusively to his art, he gave service as a minister of state in the small principality of Weimar. He took an interest in music and practiced the art of drawing to such effect that thousands of his drawings have survived, a testament to his excellent draftsmanship…
For more information, download Erika Hähnel’s entire history of the Goethe Society WA in pdf format.
About our society
Originally a branch of the Australian Goethe Society, the Goethe Society WA (formerly Western Australian Branch of the Australian Goethe Society) is a not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 1949 with the aim of promoting German language and culture in Perth. Alongside German classes, the society offers monthly cultural events which help to promote the German language and culture in Perth. There are around 35,000 German-speaking immigrants in Perth and they form part of the audience at our events.
In the past, our events originally focussed on German-speaking literature, but the program today is much broader! Our topics now include migration in Germany, tectonic plates, Goethe’s poems, as well as theatre productions from German language students at the University of Western Australia amongst many others… Some of our speakers and visitors have included Siegfried Lenz, Dr Marcel Reich-Ranicki and recently Hatice Akyün.
Children’s language program – The Goethe Society WA is a registered Community School in WA, and we have been offering language classes for kids since 1975. As there are no German schools in Perth, we are, alongside a few Australian schools, the only organisation offering professional German classes in a city with around 2.14 million inhabitants.
Our courses are aimed at children from differing cultural backgrounds, but many of our students have German-speaking parents. It is important for these families to maintain the German language in Australia too. We therefore also prepare students in the junior classes for the German WACE exam. Students can take the class as extra help for school or as external students with the Goethe Society WA. As of 2017, our students are now able to sit the DSD2 exam. The Deutsche Sprachdiplom (German language diploma) serves as proof of language skills but also opens the doors to study in Germany.
Around 60 students attend our school. As of 2018, we are now offering an online course to prepare students for the German Background Speaker WACE exam. We have chosen this new format to include students living outside of metropolitan Perth and provide them with the opportunity of also improving their language skills and sitting the exam.
Adults’ language program – Around 100 language students enrol in our adults’ classes each term. As an exam cooperation partner of the Goethe Institute Australia and TestDaF Institute, course participants can sit internationally recognised exams. We are the only organisation offering this opportunity in all of Western Australia. The adult classes follow the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). The motivation of our participants varies wildly: we have students who have a clear, professional interest in the language, people with a German-speaking partner, those who want to refresh their high school German, students preparing for a trip to Europe and even those who want to keep their minds fit and active by learning a second language.
As a member of the German Language Round Table, we work closely with the Goethe Institute of Australia, the University of Western Australia, the Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Perth, the Office of Multicultural Interest, the Teachers Association of German Western Australia (TAGWA) and the German Embassy in Canberra.
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