History & Art of Hermannsburg

You might not guess it from its name but Hermannsburg is a rich cultural town, located 125km west from Alice Springs. Home to over 600 people, Hermannsburg, or ‘Ntaria’, is a national trust listed town whose claim to fame is that it’s the hometown of world famous Aboriginal watercolour artist, Albert Namatjira.

Despite being an Aboriginal community, its Germanic, white-washed buildings host a long history and the contrast of cultures here make for a very interesting visit and exploration. 

Albert Namatjira

With a name like Albert Namatjira hailing from this historic town, it should be no surprise that art is one of its major focuses. If you’re visiting the town, you’ll be able to take a look at a few different landmarks whose importance comes from either the artists they celebrate or the art currently being created within them. 

The first and arguably most interesting is the home of Albert Namatjira. A bleach white house sitting amongst red dirt and scrub, you’ll have no trouble understanding where the inspiration for his masterful watercolours comes from. You’ll also find the Namatjira Museum, where plenty of his works are on display and you’ll get the full story behind his upbringing, career and artistic inspirations. 

albert namatjira mount sonder with corkwood tree jaeschke araluen

Albert Namatjira painting of Mount Sonder with Corkwood Tree, on display at Araluen Art Gallery

Hermannsburg Potters

This little town is also home to the very well renowned Hermannsburg Potters. Their terracotta sculptings, pots, bowls, animals and landscapes are an incredible display of workmanship and are strongly tied to the land around the area. You’re even able to buy some of the pottery yourself from either the Kata Anga Tea Rooms or the Namatjira Gallery itself.

Hermannsburg Potters 123843 Felix Baker

Hermannsburg Potters 123840

Hermannsburg Mission

The Hermannsburg Mission was established after Lutheran missionaries travelled some 20 months across South Australia in 1877. Sitting on the Finke River among the MacDonnell Ranges, it’s not hard to imagine what it was like for Herman Kemp and Wilhelm Schwarz when they first set foot in the area since the land is relatively similar now as it was back then.

That is of course besides the newly restored, white German houses and buildings erected by the mission. In 1982, under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976, the land of the area was returned to its original Aboriginal owners, but the Historic Precinct has been kept intact to showcase the incredible story of the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission.

This contrast of style, colour and missionary history with the beautiful aboriginal culture and outback landscape make it a truly unique place and somewhere you will definitely want to add to your itinerary.

Hermannsburg Potters 123843 Felix Baker

Hermannsburg Potters 123840

Hermannsburg Historic Precinct

Book Your Trip To Hermannsburg

Who would have thought you’d find such a strong European influence in the middle of the desert? With such an interesting and rich contrast between cultures and colours, what more reason do you need to make a visit to the historic Hermannsburg. At just an hour and a half drive from Alice Springs, it’s the perfect day activity, so book your trip today!


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