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Pastor Paul Albrecht grew up at Hermannsburg, the son of Pastor F.W Albrecht and Minna. His work as Field Superintendent for Finke River Mission was at a crucial time of change, as assimilationist policies gave way to policies of self-determination. During his tenure Hermannsburg transitioned from an active mission station to the heritage precinct you see today alongside the modern township of Ntaria.
The story of Moses Tjalkabota is fascinating. A strong and compelling orator, he embraced Christianity and European ways with enthusiasm and insisted that others should do so too. He repeatedly challenged the traditional Elders and their beliefs and in this, he was probably more influential than the white missionaries themselves.
Growing food was something to celebrate and the many photos of mission residents in the orchards and gardens attest to effort that went into growing the produce that was the life blood of the mission. The joy in harvesting produce in times of plenty can be seen in the proud smile of Mrs Latz as she shows off her giant cabbage.
Pastor F.W Albrecht constantly sought to help make the mission financially independent. He experimented with ways to create employment opportunities for people at Hermannsburg. One of these enterprises was the tannery producing tanned skins, leather goods and kangaroo skin rugs.
Pastor Friedrich Wilhelm Albrecht and his wife Minna Maria Margaretha (nee Gevers) inherited the task of implementing Pastor Stolz plan to make the mission more financially independent. This was the time of assimilation polices in Australia and the focus was on equipping people for a modern world.
Building a strong Lutheran community took more than a couple of missionaries. The colonists’ building was home to the lay missionary families who played an essential role in maintaining the viability of the mission station.
Life on the mission was a struggle, characterised by the heat, droughts and hard work; add to this mix jealousies and hostile neighbours and one can expect outbreaks of dissatisfaction, arguments and even violence. Not all of the characters at Hermannsburg were heroes or their actions heroic. Different missionaries and lay workers brought with them their own personalities, prejudices and beliefs and there are elements of history that have been obscured by time, but which hint at dark events.
The church building of course was the heart of the mission. While the historic Church it stands quietly now in the heart of the historic precinct, and the new heart has moved with the growing town of Ntaria and is located outside the Mission compound; if you sit quietly enough you can still hear the echo of Arrarnta ancestors raising their voices to God.