Gus Williams playing Guitar

Arrarnta contributions to Country Music

Hermannsburg Mission has a long tradition of music including both pastoral music and popular country music. Renowned country music artists include Gus Williams and Warren H. Williams.

Hermannsburg residents have made significant contributions to Australian country music. They say that their distinctive style is ‘real’ country music as distinct from American country and western. In 1985, Hermannsburg hosted the Aboriginal Country Music Festival but this was just one on many country music events. In 1996, Warren H. Williams presented music shows live from Hermannsburg on the 8KIN FM network.

If you are a country music fan you will know the name Warren H Williams (1963-~)1. The mysterious ‘H’ stands for Hedley. He is an Aboriginal singer, musician and songwriter from Hermannsburg he plays country music and, like many central Australian musicians, he has a long-standing involvement with the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) in Alice Springs. Warren has toured with many well-known performers including John Williamson and Pixie Jenkins. He has released 10 albums to date. 

Warren is the son of Gus Williams. Gus brought his children up with a love of music and Warren claims to have learnt guitar from his father from around age 6.

Hermannsburg continues to produce other country artists including:

  • Irwin Inkamala and the Country Lads (Musical group)
  • Genise and Nicholas Williams – who sing across several genres of music including country

Many contemporary Arrarnta people share the love of country music and a talent for guitar. Even the Hermannsburg Potters have commemorated their love for music in an exhibition called Lyilhama (music, or song). The remarkable pots depict scenes of Indigenous musicians, concert performances, visiting community bands and songs – all based around the artists’ personal experiences and memories of music.