Hermannsburg Aboriginal Community

For an insight into life in a remote Aboriginal community a visit to Hermannsburg is a must. A two and half hour drive west of Alice Springs, this outback community is best known as the birthplace of acclaimed Aboriginal watercolour artist Albert Namatjira. Travelling through the West MacDonnell Ranges it’s easy to see how this region inspired some of his greatest works.

Founded as a Lutheran Mission by German missionaries in 1877, the land was returned to the traditional owners, the Arrarnta people, in 1982. Today, you can visit the restored historic buildings, enjoy some apple strudel and a cup of tea at the local café and purchase artwork by local artists including the Hermannsburg Potters. This group of local artists create hand-made terracotta pots with colourful designs featuring some of the local wildlife.

Some of Albert Namatjira’s most beautiful watercolours are on display and visitors can learn more about his life and work. Namatjira was introduced to this style of painting by travelling artists visiting Hermannsburg in the 1930s. It was very different to the traditional symbols and colours of Aboriginal artwork. He used more western-style watercolours to depict the outback landscape that he loved so much and was internationally recognised for his talent. This contemporary style of Aboriginal art became known as the Hermannsburg School.