German Missionaries in Australia - A web-directory of intercultural encounters

Regina Ganter, Griffith University, 2009-2018


The contact history of indigenous people is strongly shaped by missions and reserves, the breaking up of families and removals of children from their parents. Missionaries played a prominent role in modelling and managing such regimes so that the history of missions is highly contested.

German-speaking missionaries established the earliest and also the longest surviving Aboriginal missions. Until World War I practically half of the missions in Australia were staffed with German speakers. Their encounters with indigenous people are integral to the telling of Australia's multicultural and indigenous history.

This web-directory gives detailed insight into their backgrounds, their aspirations and frustrations. It provides materials from private collections and overseas archives and frames these in their wider historical context. It focuses particularly on the less well-researched German missionaries in the north to render sources more accessible.

This is a project by Professor Regina Ganter funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), 2011-2015.

Read more: Introduction - Why Germans?

*** Some parts of this website are still under construction. The entries relating to Hermannsburg and Kilallpaninna missions have not yet been published. Greatest emphasis was placed on those sources that are difficult to access in Australia. We welcome your comment. **** 


Map of Mission Locations 


To operate this map Pause the auto-play to control the time-slider.

Re-set the filter to see German-speaking missions only.

Use the left-hand menu or click on the map to navigate to a German-speaking mission.