Goethe Society WA

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 the Young Werther. But it is with his play Faust and with his poems that most remember him by. He put something of himself into the character of Faust, whom he depicts as a man forever restlessly striving after knowledge, action and experience. Though he lived his life during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Goethe can be described as a Renaissance man in the sense that his mind and activities embraced many fields of human endeavor, and he was in this sense a complete man. As a man of letters – a lyric poet, dramatist and novelist – he reached a stature rivaled by few others. He was also well versed in philosophy and in science, where 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, download Erika Hähnel's entire history 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 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.

While our events originally focussed on German-speaking literature, the program today is somewhat broader! From migration in Germany, to tectonic plates, Goethe's poems and 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.

Our classes

Kids language program- The Goethe Society WA is a registered Community School in WA, that has offered language classes for kids for 42 years. As there are no German schools in Perth, we are alongside a few Australian school, the only organisation offering professional German classes in a city with around 2.14 million inhabitants.

Our courses are aimed at children with differing cultural background, 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 the German WACE exam. Students can take the class as extra help for school or as external students with the Goethe Society WA. This year, for the first time, our students were able to take part in a 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. From next year, we will be offering an online course to prepare students for the German Background Speaker WACE exam. We especially want to allow students living outside of metropolitan Perth an opportunity to take part.

Adults language program - Our adult's classes are visited by about 100 language students each term. As an exam cooperation partner of the Goethe Institute Australia and Test DaF Institute, course participants can complete internationally recognised exams. In WA we are the only organisation to offer this opportunity. The adult classes follow the European frame of reference. The motivation of participants varies wildly: we have students who have a clear, professional interest in the language, people with a German-speaking partner, those that 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 German consulate 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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Friday, May 11 at 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM