The Ernabella Mission was established by the Presbyterian Church in the Musgrave Ranges of north-west South Australia in 1937. A school operated at the Mission. In 1970 the State Government took administrative control of the Mission and in 1972 this transferred to the Commonwealth Government. In 1974 the administration of Ernabella Mission passed to the Pitjantjatjara Council. It was later renamed Pukatja.
The Ernabella Mission was established by the Presbyterian Church in the Musgrave Ranges of north-west South Australia in 1937. Its creation was co-funded by the Presbyterian Church and the SA Government. The Ernabella Station was purchased as a base for the Mission. A school operated at the Mission and Christian teachings were offered, however, unlike many other Missions local Pitjantjatjara language and culture was promoted and staff were required to learn the traditional language of the inhabitants.
At the Mission men were encouraged to find employment in building, gardening or on the sheep station. Children attended the school and women trained in the arts including working with textiles.
In 1970 the administration of the Mission was transferred to the South Australian Government. Two years later, in 1972, the Commonwealth Government took control of Aboriginal Affairs nationally and the Mission came under the control of the Federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Soon after, in 1974, the community itself through the Pitjantjatjara Council took over the administration. The Ernabella Mission was renamed Pukatja.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Aboriginal Missions in South Australia', in State Library of South Australia - Library Guides, 2013, http://guides.slsa.sa.gov.au/Aboriginal_Missions.
Prepared by: Gary George
Created: 13 May 2014, Last modified: 19 May 2014