Santa Teresa Mission was the new name given to the Arltunga Mission after it was moved to approximately 80 kms south east of Alice Springs in 1953. Run by the Catholic Church the Mission included a Mission school and dormitories which accommodated Aboriginal boys and girls aged 5 to 17 years. The Mission's administration passed to an Aboriginal land trust in 1977 and the area was renamed Ltyentye Apurte. The residential sections of the Mission School closed at that time.
The Santa Teresa Mission, run by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, was previously located at Arltunga and known as the Arltunga Mission. In 1952 a block of Crown Land, approximately 80 kilometres to the South East of Alice Springs, was leased to the Mission by the Commonwealth Government. This block of land was formerly known as Phillipson Block. The mission moved to the new site in 1953 and was renamed the Santa Teresa Mission. A Mission School was established at the Mission in 1953. Original plans for the new Santa Teresa Mission show the School building and proposed dormitory blocks for Aboriginal girls and boys.
At the Mission School the girls were supervised by the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart and the boys by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. The children's ages ranged from 5 to 17 years. The missionaries provided accommodation, education, medical care and religious instruction. The Mission was paid a subsidy by the government for each of the Aboriginal children it maintained at the Mission.
In the mid to late 1970s, as the settlement developed, the residential sections of the school were discontinued. The day school, however, continued to operate.
In 1976, in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the lease automatically converted to Aboriginal freehold land. The administration of the area was taken over by a Land Trust comprised of traditional owners and the area was renamed Ltyentye Apurte. Much of the infrastructure of the Mission, with the exception of the school, was handed over by the church to the traditional owners. The school was still operating as the Ltyentye Apurte Catholic School in 2013.
Sources used to compile this entry: "A Piece of the Story": National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, December 2001, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf; Pye, John, Sanata Teresa and East Aranda History 1929-1988, Australian National Library, Canberra, 1988; 'Santa Teresa Health Centre (Ltyentye Apurte)', in Northern Territory General Practive Education, Northern Territory General Practice Education [NTGPE], 2012; NAA: F1, 1954/64 Roman Catholic Mission - Santa Teresa 1952-1955.
Prepared by: Gary George and Karen George
Created: 27 January 2011, Last modified: 6 November 2018