German People Come To Hermannsburg by Anita Ratara Mbitjana


“I didn’t see it for myself because i wasn’t born, but we know because of the stories from our family. They told us that the Germans were travelling up from the south. They camped East, North and West. They were travelling back from the North West and saw a big white sheet hanging here, in Hermannsburg! They saw this sheet like a shepherd and thought, this must be the right place. They came and put a big iron in the sand where they would build the church. That’s what they did! They built that church right there where it stands today. Aboriginal people say those Germans were camped everywhere. All over the place! Aboriginal people didn’t know what to think of them. Once those white people had settled down, they gave the Aboriginal people clothes and food, Kunya (poor thing) and made that church with clay and painted it white. Kunya (Poor thing), long time building. They came 1877, the German people. My Grandmother told me she had one German teacher who made friends with them and they weren’t scared anymore. The Germans had some Aboriginal people cut all the grasses from the Finke River and make grass houses close to the church. I remember seeing long grasses by the River as a girl and my mum told me that the grass belongs to those other people, to make grass houses. My mothers father, he knew this time. They didn’t tell me much, we’ve just seen pictures and heard stories.”