Places to go, Darwin & Surrounds, Northern Territory, Australia

Hermannsburg, Alice Springs & surrounds

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The Aboriginal settlement of Hermannsburg is famous as the home of Aboriginal landscape watercolour artist Albert Namatjira. The historic settlement is an easy 130km drive from Alice Springs. Explore the buildings of the restored historic town and see work by local artists.

Explore the historic town

Wander around the National Trust-listed Hermannsburg Historic Precinct – a series of historic German-style whitewashed buildings that were constructed when the mission was established. The historic precinct is shaded by river red gums and old date palms. Among the low, stone buildings are a church, a school and various houses and outbuildings. The buildings have been restored to their original 19th-century condition and now house the Kata Anga Tea Rooms, a museum and the Namatjira Gallery, which displays original paintings by the artist and works by the acclaimed Hermannsburg Potters.

The Hermannsburg School of painting

Hermannsburg is best known as the birthplace of artist Albert Namatjira. He painted the local landscape in Western-style watercolours, a style that became known as the Hermannsburg School of painting. Queen Elizabeth became one of his most notable fans, and awarded Namitjira the Queen's Coronation Medal in 1953. Today Namatjira's house, three kilometres west of the town, is open to visitors.

Mission history

The community was first established as a Lutheran mission in the 1880s and was one of Central Australia's first settlements. Hermannsburg was the German name chosen by the Lutheran pastors who set up the small mission for the Arrernte Aboriginal people here in the 1880s.

It is the birthplace of anthropologist Ted Strehlow, who was initiated into Arrernte customs. The mission land was handed back to its traditional owners in 1982. 

The Hermannsburg Potters 

The Hermannsburg Potters are renowned for their unique hand-built terracotta pots. The lids of these stunning works support colourful sculpted animals, birds and bush and the pot centres are painted with imagery inspired by the surrounding landscapes. 

In the area

You can travel to Hermannsburg on an organised day tour from Alice Springs, or stay overnight at a campsite in the community. Camping facilities are also available at the nearby Palm Valley in the Finke Gorge National Park.

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