A fascinating place to visit for it’s heritage and art history, Hermannsburg Historic Precinct was the first Aboriginal Mission in the Northern Territory. As it’s name suggests it was established by Germans, from the Lutheran Church in 1877 to bring the word of God to Central Australia. They established a mission on 390,000 hectares 125km from Alice Springs. It’s no longer a working mission but the buildings remain as they were though, an evocative piece of early Australian colonial history.
Built primarily from local materials (sandstorm, burnt lime, desert oak) the earliest surviving buildings date from the 1880s when the first permanent structures were built, and around 1900 when there was a period of reconstruction and consolidation. There have been significant changes since to many of the buildings as well.
It’s a pretty run down place, in contrast with the immaculate Alice Springs Telegraph Station, but that adds to some of the charm. It has a sizeable collection of buildings, over 14 remain including the school house, tannery, meat house, old church, ration store, maid’s quarters, and several private homes.
Hermannsburg was also the birthplace of celebrated Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira, with information on his life and works found around the precinct, along with a couple of art galleries displaying the work of artists (some his sons) from the Hermannsburg School of Art.