Hermannsburg garden with woman tending rows of vegetables

Mrs Latz’s cabbage

Growing food was something to celebrate and the many photos of mission residents in the orchards and gardens attest to the 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.

The challenge of feeding the residents of the mission dominates many of the records. When water was plentiful, the vegetable gardens were prolific. Stretching out along the back of the mission between the buildings and the river were vegetable gardens, the grove of date palms and many other fruit trees. However, the crucial element, water, was uncertain until after the Kuprilya pipeline was put in place.

While the permanent population at Hermannsburg fluctuated, over the years, at some point, there were up to 300 people living there. Providing enough food to feed the community was always a challenge. While it may be difficult to envisage when we look at the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct today, the mission had extensive gardens extending behind Strehlow’s house (now the tea rooms) and extending down towards the river and at other locations close to water.

Once the Kuprilya tank and pipeline had been constructed the garden produce was more reliable and sometimes produced amazing results as can be seen by Mrs. Latz giant cabbage.