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. When you travel through the iconic scenery of the West MacDonnell Ranges, it’s easy to see how this region inspired some of his greatest works.

Hermannsburg history

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.

 

Hermannsburg facts, figures & things to know

  • Hermannsburg has a population of around 605 people
  • 90% of the local community is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • All buildings and objects within the Hermannsburg Precinct are protected and National Heritage Listed
  • Only take photos of people with prior permission
  • Alcohol consumption is not permitted

 

Hermannsburg historic precinct

The Historic Precinct allows visitors to wander through the sites of the original missionary community that came to the area almost 150 years ago. Here you can get a glimpse of the life of some of the early pioneers and their families.

The buildings themselves are part of the attraction as they were built under extremely unconventional circumstances – combining German construction techniques of the time with a reliance on local, foreign materials to the missionaries.

The Hermannsburg Historic Precinct is now entirely owned by the local Western Aranda people in cooperation with the Hermannsburg Historic Society and the Finke River Mission.

 

AAT Kings’ tours that visit Hermannsburg

Palm Valley Outback Safari by 4WD – Full Day Tour

Explore some of the Northern Territory’s most unique and beautiful landscapes in a customised 4WD, discovering the off-the beaten track locations with your very own passionate and experienced driver guide.

The tour will take you down the bank of the Finke River into the breathtaking Palm Valley, before you arrive at the historic Hermannsburg Aboriginal community.

This outback safari is the perfect combination of thrill-seeking adventure and cultural significance. The trip is fully catered for where you’ll enjoy your picnic lunch, surrounded by the beauty of red rock formations, pinnacles, gorges and abundant palm trees within the Finke Gorge National Park.

 

Learn more about our tours to Hermannsburg by browsing the tours below.