Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Neil Hargrave Lookout (West MacDonnell Ranges) 28 June 2006

Peter’s turn for a cold, obviously caught from Heather and in full mode. So slow start to day and then off to see the local attractions. Hermannsburg is a former Lutheran Mission established in 1877, abandoned in 1891, restarted by another church which maintained it as a mission until the 1970s after which it was given back to the Western Aranda people. The mission is open to the public with tea rooms and aboriginals selling paintings etc. No matter what views you hold, the mission remains are amazing. There are at least 15 buildings in pretty original order that demonstrate an ability to endure a remoteness that we can hardly imagine. Working with the Aborigines they built a church, smithy, large house, manse (housing the extensive collection of watercolours by the Hermannsburg artists), stockman’s house, mortuary, isolation ward, school house, correspondence school, tannery, shearing house, bakehouse, laundry, store rooms, ration house, dining rooms, meat house, big water tanks, maid’s quarters and dormitories.
This was also the home of Albert Namatjira and they have some of his paintings hung, as well as other artists who painted in the same style. There are some fascinating photos of Aboriginal people from those early times including Albert. It is not until you travel over this country that you can really appreciate his paintings – the striking red cliffs, the yellows, purples, dusty variety of greens, the sandy creek beds and the stark, majestic white ghost gums.
Some of the local Aboriginal art work was on display and for sale but we were disappointed with it – it is obviously painted for the tourists and seemed to lack the flair and vitality of other works we have seen. Drove westward towards Glen Helen sandwiched between two mountain ranges. Jutting out of the side of the mountains were rugged clusters of what looked like razed fortifications. Stopped at Neil Hargrave Lookout for the night. This gave us spectacular views of the sunset hitting the mountains.


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