Hermannsberg Mission

We stopped to have a look at the Historic Hermannsberg Mission. I loved the signs “Free entry to gift shop” and “Thank you for helping us keep the history alive.”

The building the gift shop is in has manly been made out of 44 gallon drums, while most of the other buildings have been built with stone. The schoolroom was built in 1896. The black boards had been decorated with some of the local language.   It was interesting to find out the local Aranda language counts only to 3, and all other numbers are “mob.” Only having 3 numbers to play with would make math easier.

Hermannsburg was run as a cattle station first but after the result of a drought, which reduced the number of cattle from 3,000 to 280 the missions paid the locals to skin the dead cattle. They salted the hides and then send them to Adelaide for sale. After that, to help the locals the mission offered work by the way off a tannery. They tanned furs as well as leather but there was a limited market for the goods so the mission moved into making shoes and other leather products and became very successful.

Hermannsburg is known more for being the birthplace of Albert Namatjira. Albert, with out formal training became one of Australia’s celebrated landscape artists.

The mission was a thought-provoking look at life in the isolation of central Australian.

As we left Hermannsburg we saw our first wild horses. They were happily walking down the road. I turned to Adrian and before I could say anything he said, “No, you can’t take any of them home with you.” I laughed. It was not what I was going to say. I was just going to point out how they were our first wild horses that we had seen. We had seen a lot of signs warning about hourses in our travels and keep an eye out for them along with all the other animals we could hit. It was nice to finally see some in a nice way.


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