One of the places that Suzzanna suggested we go and see was Hermannsburg near Alice Springs. I hadn’t ever heard of it, but once I looked it up I knew it was a definite yes for me.
We had initially planned on visiting on the same day we did the flight over Kings Canyon. If we had continued on the road we first went on we would have driven straight to Hermannsburg. If you read the post about Kings Canyon then you would know why we had to turn around.
We had to go on a different day and we did.
Hermannsburg, Lutheran Mission
I’m going to give you a link, but basically, it was a missionary set up in 1877 by German Lutherans. They travelled for 20 months from Adelaide to get there. I imagine they just kept going until they found a place that they thought would work. I did read somewhere that when they go there water was in a nearby creek, I think it was, and they thought it was a good sign. They stayed and it wasn’t closed until 1982.
One of the surprises for me was that one of the most famous Aboriginal painters in our history is Albert Namatjira a member of the Western Arrarnta people was born, and then raised at Hermannsburg. Click on his name for a link to a page about him. His story is quite tragic and shows how disgusting our ancestors were towards the indigenous people who have been here for a very long time.
I’m going to give you two links for the community, one is from the Western Arrarnta and the other is from Wikipedia.
The mission is fenced in, but there is also a town there as well. Many parts of the town are out of bounds for tourists. They want you to respect the privacy of the people who live there, and I can’t say I disagree. We didn’t wander around because we were there to see the mission and that is all.
As soon as you walk in one of the first places you see is the Church. It sits right in the middle of the community. You can see it from nearly everywhere there.
It is a basic structure, but most of the buildings are. They are all painted white. They are a sharp contrast to the red colour of the earth there.
We went and had afternoon tea from the cafe there and guess what was on the menu? If you guessed apple strudel you would be right. We had to have it, didn’t we? Plus a coffee. If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen the short reel I showed of where we were sitting on the front verandah looking at what was there. It was cool and quiet.
It must have been a hot dusty place in summer. I can’t imagine any Europeans in the 1800s liking it there. I always think of the women and the outfits they wore. They must have been so hot. I’m so glad we don’t have to wear things like that anymore. Would be good in winter, but in summer, no thanks.
I found this sign and liked the story.
Not sure I would happy if I were Frieda. I hope they were happy. Click here for a link to their story.
Here are a few more photos of some of the buildings there.
It looks very relaxing, or at least it did the day we went. The long verandahs would have been wonderful to sit on during hot days.
Though I also think most of these buildings were for the German Lutherans and we got some ideas of how the Aboriginal people were housed.
As you can see from the signs this was the boy’s dormitory. They slept up to 25 boys in there. How cramped they must have been. They were also locked in at night. It must have been horrible.
The last photo in that gallery was taken with my phone. I have a few more here as well.
I found my phone was great for wide angle, but not much else. I don’t know, I have to wonder if cameras on phones are getting worse. If you zoom in you get horrible images. Anyway, will do a post on that another time.
It was definitely an interesting place to visit. I don’t think I have been to a place like it before. You hear about these places, trying to turn Aborigines into Christians. I don’t think it should ever have been allowed, but I wasn’t alive back then.
Have you ever visited a Mission like this? What are your thoughts about it?