Aboriginal History

The suburb of Aranda takes its name from an Aboriginal tribe in Central Australia.

The Eastern and Centres Arrernte people live in Central Australia, their traditional land includes the area of Alice Springs and East MacDonnell Ranges.  They are also referred to as Aranda, Arrarnta, Arunta, and other similar spellings.

Arrernte country is rich with mountain ranges, waterholes, and gorges; as a result the Arrernte people set aside ‘conservation areas’ in which various species are protected.

Albert Namatjira is a well known twentieth century Aboriginal artist.  A Western Aranda (Arrernte) man, Namatjira was raised at the Lutheran Mission at Hermannsburg west of Alice Springs.  There he was encouraged to produce pokerwork images for the local tourist market, but his interest soon shifted to painting after meeting Rex Battarbee a landscape artist who visited the mission in the 1930s.  Battarbee gave Namatjira and his extended family lessons in watercolour landscape painting.  Namatjira quickly mastered the technique.  The main subject of Namatjira’s painting was the unique country of central Australia.

The school of painting, which developed among the western Aranda people at Hermannsburg, continues to produce watercolours to this day

The suburb of Aranda in the ACT is on the land of the Ngunnawal Aboriginal people.