Carl Strehlow (1871 – 1922) missionary
Carl Strehlow at Hermannsburg in Central Australia, recognised the need to understand the Aboriginal culture, and grew to be a great philologist of Aboriginal languages, one of the most important anthropologists in the tradition of the continental European schools and an authority on Central Australian Aborigines. To them Strehlow became ‘ingkata’, a trusted leader and teacher.
The Finke River Mission (later known as the Hermannsburg Mission) was established in 1877 by Lutheran Missionaries Pastor Kemp and Schwarz.
On 12 October 1894 Carl Strehlow was appointed head of the mission at Hermannsburg in Central Australia.
He was a dedicated missionary who placed his obligations to God above all else. A handsome, full-bearded man, stocky and robust, Strehlow strained his health by a relentless schedule which included pastoral, teaching, accounting and administrative duties, tending the sick and management of the mission farm. He devoted his leisure to linguistic and ethnological field-work and to preparing the results for publication in Germany.
In addition to protecting them from squatters and policemen, he acknowledged the Aborigines’ spiritual heritage. Despite his paternalism and refusal to attend traditional Aboriginal ceremonies, Strehlow recognized the need to understand the culture of those to whom he wished to bring his own, and grew to be a great philologist of Aboriginal languages, one of the most important anthropologists in the tradition of the continental European schools and an authority on Central Australian Aborigines. To them Strehlow became ‘ingkata’, a trusted leader and teacher.
As he published mostly in German, his anthropological work was not fully recognized in Australia. He added to Dieri a fluency in the cognate Aranda and Loritja languages, and started to compile an Aranda dictionary. In 1904 he printed an Aranda school primer with translations of hymns by his assistant H. A. Heinrich; in 1919 he completed translating extracts from the Old Testament into Aranda which was published in 1928.
His greatest achievement was his work on the myths, legends, material culture and customs of the Aranda and Loritja, in seven volumes, edited first by Moritz von Leonhardi and then by Bernhard Hagen (Städtisches Völker-Museum, Frankfurt, Germany, 1907-20). Two of Strehlow’s letters to von Leonhardi were published and aroused interest among European anthropologists who were divided over the questions of spirituality in ‘primitive’ societies and whether a researcher should speak native languages.
Complete article : http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A120138b.htm
Hermannsburg’s most famous son was undoubtedly Albert Namatjira. Born on the mission in 1902 and baptised by Strehlow, Namatjira met the artist Rex Battarbee in 1934 and the result was a series of paintings of Central Australia which, while using European watercolour traditions, evoked the beauty of the centre from the perspective of one who knew and loved the land.
The Bush Preachers
As Hermannsburg Mission celebrates its 140th anniversary in the 500th year of the Lutheran Church, it continues the tradition of holding open air bush camps with indigenous pastors. They come from hundreds of miles away to listen and discuss in their own languages. If not for missionary Strehlow, Carl Strehlow, the mission probably would have collapsed. But he worked there for 25 years or more, and brought the mission back up to scratch. And also, he slowly became more and more respectful of the Aboriginal culture, and he learnt a lot about it, and he wrote a mammoth work about the Aboriginal culture in German.
Associates of the Rev John Flynn. https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/john-flynns-associates/
Leave a Reply, comments are welcome.