Hermannsburg is an Aboriginal community 131km southwest of Alice Springs. It is known in the local Western Arrernte language as Ntaria.
Hermannsburg lies within Ljirapinta Ward of the rolling hills of the MacDonnell Shire in the southern region of the Northern Territory.
Hermannsburg was established as an Aboriginal mission in 1877 by two Lutheran missionaries from Germany who had travelled overland from Bethanyin the Barossa Valley in South Australia. They named their new mission after Hermannsburg in Germany where they had trained.
In 1891, the missionaries left, but the settlement was continued by lay workers until, in 1894, Pastor Carl Strehlow arrived. His son T.G.H. Strehlow became a noted anthropologist and was initiated into Arrernte customs.
Pastor Strehlow learnt the local Western Arrernte language and is credited with translating the Bible into the language. As Strehlow was of German descent, the Western Arrernte written form followed his German pronunciation—which is why the letter/sound relationships make the language easy to read and pronounce for English speakers/readers.
Albert Namatjira was born at Hermannsburg in 1902. He developed the ability to use his acute observation of the land to paint Western-style watercolours. Painting in this style came to be known as the Hermannsburg School of painting.
The mission land was handed over to traditional ownership in 1982. The Hermannsburg Historic Precinct was included on theAustralian National Heritage List in April 2006. Much of the historic township is now protected by the National Trust.