Ntaria / Hermannsburg
Located 124 km south-west of Alice Springs,Ntaria is situated in one of the most picturesque areas of Central Australia, comprising of braod expanse of Missionary Plain running east-west with its northern and southren boundaries embracing the MacDonnell and Krichauff Ranges. The plain is covered by thinn wooded grassland and includes the dramatic crater formation of Gosse Bluff. The Finke River and Ellery Creek are the main watercourses passing through the district and the main roads are Larapinta Drive, Namatjira Luritja Road, Ernest Giles Road and the Mereenie Loop Road.
Take Larapinta Drive from Alice Springs, which is a sealed road, Ntaria is on the right. In heavy rain, Larapinta Drive can be cut by water flowing over creek crossings. Airstrips in the district can be closed after steady rains.
MacDonnell Shire Council Services
Services provided to Ntaria from the MacDonnell Shire Council include:
Works - Roads, Parks and Cemetry Maintenance & Waste Management
Essential Services - Servicing Power, Water, Sewerage and the Airstrip
Tenancy - Management, Housing Repairs& Maintenance
Community Services - Community Safety (Night Patrol), Aged Care, Youth Development and Children Services.
Ntaria is within the land of the Western Aranda people and is the name given to the parcel of land which includes Hermannsburg, site of the former mission, established by German Lutheran missionaries in 1877 at the forefront of pastoral expansion in Central Australia. It is the last of the missions of the German Hermannsburg Missionary Society, extablished due to the influence of the German settler community in South Australia. Lasting from 1877 - 1982, it is one of the longest serving denominational missions in Australia.
The name was taken fromt he town in Germany where the missionaries had trained. By 1891 the missionaries had created a dictionary of the Aranda language. This translation allowed the missionaries to translate the New Testament into Aranda.
In 1894 Pastor Carl Strehlow took charge of the mission. He was to remain in charge for the next 28 years and his son, T.G.H, Strehlow (who became a noted anthropologist), was one of the few white men to be fully initiated into the customs of the Aranda people.
Pastor Strehlow found the original buildings in bad repair and from 1896 he started, with the help of a builder named Dave Hart and an Aboriginal workforce, to construct the buildings which still stand in the settlement.
It was during Strehlow's period of administration that the mission expanded and became a relatively progressive centre for Aborigines.
In 1922 he dies at Horseshoe Bend on the Finke River while on his way to hospital in South Australia.
Subsequently the mission achieved a number of historic firsts. In 1925 Strehlow's succesor, Pastor F.W. Albrecht whose daughter Helene Burns was brought up on the mission and still speaks fluent Aranda, began a program which encouraged the local people to develop skills and trades. This led to the establishment of the tannery in 1936. In 1930 Hermannsburg became the first outpost int he Northern Territory to use a pedal wireless.
Major Language Group
Languages spoken in Hermannsburg are Western Aranda and Luritja.
Infrastructure and Community Life
School Services: Primary School and Alice Springs School of the Air.
The community is equipped with a Women's Cultural Centre, two Supermarkets, Post Office, Bank Agency, Takeaway Food, Finke River Mission Store, Service Station, Mechanical workshops and Church.
Recreation Activities: Local Sports teams include the Western Aranda Football Club and Western Aranda Softball team and the community has a Sports & Recreation officer.
Nearby attractions: Palm Valley National Park, Ellery Big Hole and Boggy Hole are ideal for picnics, barbeques and swimming. The Finke Gorge, West MacDonnell Ranges and the Watarrka National Park attract a large number of tourists to the districts with the peak between April and October. The Kings Canyon Resort has a motel, camping and restaurant facilities.
Historic Precinct at Ntaria
Pastor Strehlow found the original buildings in bad repair and from 1896 started, with the help of a builder named Dave Hart and an Aboriginal work force to construct the buildings which still stand in the precinct.
They are now classified by the National Trust. The buildings include a school, mess house, manse and quarters for the missionaries.
In 1930 Hermannsburg became the first outpost in the NT to use a pedal wireless.
Hermannsburg was the home of the famous artist Albert Namatjira. Born on the mission in 1902, Namatjira met artist Rex Battarbee in 1934 and the result was a series of paintings in Central Australia which evoked the beauty of the region and contributed to interstate interest in the region.
The mission responded to modern changes in 1975 when after requests from the Aranda people, the institutional structures were removed. In 1982 the land was handed back to traditional owners and divided into five separate areas including the Ntaria Land Trust on which the township stands.
Ntaria is a vibrant community and home to about 700 people.
Ntaria is historic but a designated NT Government Growth Town