Albert Namatjira

Timeline created by tasha
  • Born

    Elea Namatjira was a full-blooded member of the Western Aranda (Arunta) tribe, and his birth was registered at the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission on July 28, 1902.
  • Christened Albert

    After three years of instruction, his parents were baptised on Christmas Eve 1905 in the little Mission Church at Hermannsburg. Namatjira and Ljukuta were baptised Jonathan and Emelia (Emilie) respectively, and their tribal union was given Christian blessing. Albert, who they had called Elea, was baptised at the same time and given the name Albert, as it was the custom at the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission to give Aborigines only one name.
  • Initiation Into Manhood

    At various times Albert left the Mission to go walkabout with his relatives and other members of his tribe, and at the age of thirteen disappeared on one of these walkabouts for a period of six months. During this time the elders of the Aranda tribe took Albert to 'distant ceremonial grounds for initiation into manhood. Here he was taught the unwritten laws of the tribe.
  • Married Ilkalita

    Around eighteen years of age, Albert to avoid both tribal and Mission strictures, eloped with Ilkalita (who belonged to the Loritja tribe) to neutral country beyond the Aranda and Mission boundaries.
  • Enos is Born

    Enos was born.
  • Oscar is Born

    Oscar was born.
  • Maisie is Born

    Maisie was born.
  • Albert's Family is Baptised

    He stayed away from the Mission for three years, finding work on nearby cattle stations and by carrying goods to remote stations with Afghan camel strings. When he returned to the Mission, he brought with him Ilkalita and their three young children. In November 1923, Ilkalita was baptised and given the name Rubina and their marriage was formally blessed. Their three children, two boys and a girl were also baptised at this time and were given the names Enos, Oscar and Maisie.
  • Hazel is born

    Date and Year Unknown. Hazel was born.
  • Albert's Daughter & Brother Die

    In the 1920's there was a severe drought in Central Australia. Albert's daughter Nelda, who was born with symptoms of malnutrition in 1928, lived only seventeen months, and Albert's younger brother died, aged twenty-one.
  • Ewald is Born

    Ewald was born.
  • Albert Recieves his First Art Related Job

    Albert received his first art related job. This was from Constable W. Mackinnon for a dozen pokerwork mulga wood plaques, for which Albert received five shillings for each.
  • Martha is Born

    Martha was born.
  • Rex Batterbee & John Gardner Visit Hermannsburg

    In the winter months of 1934, watercolourist Rex Battarbee and fellow artist, John Gardner visited the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission, where they held an exhibition of their watercolour paintings of the MacDonnell Ranges.Albert Namatjira studied these paintings and as he showed an interest in following the work by these artists he was soon given his own box of watercolours and watercolour paper by the Mission Superintendent, Pastor Albrecht.
  • Albert's First Attempt at Watercolour

    Albert Namatjira produced his first attempts at watercolour. In May 1935, one double-sided work he presented as a gift to Mr F. C. G. Wallent, of the Lutheran Mission Board.
  • Violet is Born

    Rubina gave birth to their eighth child, Violet, who lived for only five months. Of their six remaining children, Enos, Oscar, Maisie and Hazel attended the Mission School.
  • Rex Battarbee Returns

    In the winter of 1936, Rex Battarbee returned and provided Albert Namatjira with two months watercolour tuition while on a journey into the heart of the tribal land of the Western Aranda. Albert Namatjira offered Battarbee his services as camel boy in return for painting lessons.Battarbee was amazed at the rapid progress of his pupil.
  • Rex and Albert's Lessons

    At first he encouraged him to draw with crayons on scraps of cardboard, but Albert was anxious to learn and within a fortnight had advanced to watercolours and produced a picture of his own.
  • The Lutheran Synodical Conference

    In March 1937, Pastor Albrecht took ten of Albert Namatjira's watercolours to the Lutheran Synodical Conference held in Nuriootpa, South Australia. The works were priced between five and ten shillings each, and while there, Pastor Albrecht sold four of the works and purchased two of the works himself. On his return to the Mission, Albert was greatly encouraged by the news that he had sold six paintings.
  • Keith is Born

    Rubina gave birth to their ninth child, Keith, and Albert, his wife and seven remaining children were now finding life fairly crammed in their small hut at the Mission.
  • Albert's Watercolours Exhibited

    In August, a number of Albert's watercolour works were included in an exhibition of Native Handicrafts that was held in the Lower Town Hall, Melbourne.
  • Albert's First Solo Exhibition Opens

    Lady Huntingfield later that year opened his first Solo Exhibition. Titled, 'ALBERT NAMATJIRA. Central Australian Water Colours. 1938', this was held at the Fine Art Society Gallery in Melbourne from December 5 to December 17, 1938. R.H. Croll provided the introduction to the catalogue for this exhibition. Forty-one watercolours were exhibited, ranging in price from one to six guineas and all were sold within three days. These were his first works signed ALBERT NAMATJIRA. His works prior to this
  • Walkabout

    Learning of the success of the exhibition, Albert, his wife and family, set forth on a long walkabout to some of his favourite painting sites.
  • Maurice is Born

    While on walkabout, Rubina gave birth to their tenth child, a son, named Maurice.
  • Albert's Second Solo Exhibition Opens

    Watercolour works produced while on walkabout were chosen for Albert's second Solo Exhibition that was opened by Dr Charles Duguid on November 2, 1939 in the Royal South Australian Society of Arts Gallery in Adelaide. Titled 'Water Colours by Albert Namatjira, a Full-blooded Aboriginal of the Arunta tribe, Central Australia'. Thirty-five watercolours were exhibited at this exhibition, and twenty of these sold within the first half-hour for prices ranging from two and a half to eight guineas.
  • Albert's Third Solo Exhivition Opens

    His third Solo Exhibition: 'Water Colours of Central Australia by ALBERT NAMATJIRA (ARUNTA TRIBE)' was held at the Myer Mural Hall in Melbourne from April 17 to April 28, 1944. The exhibition was officially opened by Mr A. W. Coles, M.P. Thirty-eight works were exhibited, thirty-seven of which were for sale, with prices ranging from ten to thirty-five guineas. The exhibition was very successful, with all the works selling very rapidly.
  • Solo Art Exhibition Opens in Sydney

    Another Solo Exhibition was held in Sydney. Titled 'Exhibition of WATER COLOURS Painted in Central Australia By ALBERT NAMATJIRA' this was held in Anthony Horderns' Fine Art Exhibition Gallery and opened by Professor A. P. Elkin, Professor of Anthropology at Sydney University. The prices ranged from ten to thirty-five guineas, and within minutes of opening, all forty-four exhibited watercolours were sold.
  • Solo Exhibition Opens in Adelaide

    Another Solo Exhibition, titled 'WATER COLOURS of Central Australia by Albert Namatjira, Arunta Artist' was held from March 12 to March 25, 1946, this time at the Royal South Australian Society of Arts Gallery in Adelaide. The watercolour works ranged in price from ten to forty guineas, and within half an hour of the exhibition being opened by Mr A.R. Downer, thirty-six of the forty-one exhibited works were sold.
  • Albert Admitted to Alice Springs Hospital

    In March 1947, Albert Namatjira was admitted to Alice Springs Hospital and was diagnosed as having Angina pectoris. His doctor suggested that he should lose weight, and Albert decided to go walkabout with his wife and family, and live 'off the bush' and leave his truck at home.
  • Hazel Dies

    His daughter Hazel died at Hermannsburg in May.
  • Martha Dies

    Martha died at Haast's Bluff in January.
  • Albert is Prohibited from Buying a Building Block

    Albert intended to build a new home in Alice Springs. He was told that this was not allowed, and his application to buy a building block was not granted. The reason given, was the law that 'Aborigines were prohibited from remaining within the town boundaries after dark'.
  • Albert Participates in a Group Exhibition

    In April, Albert Namatjira's works were included in a group exhibition of seven Aranda artists in Anthony Horderns' Fine Art Gallery in Sydney. The title for the exhibition catalogue was 'CATALOGUE OF AN EXHIBITION BY THE ARANDA GROUP. Seven aboriginal water colour artists - Albert Namatjira, Edwin Pareroultja, Otto Pareroultja, Reuben Pareroultja, Richard Moketarinja, Cordula Ebatarinja, Ewald Namatjira'.
  • Albert is Awarded Queen's Coronation Medal

    Albert Namatjira was awarded the Queen's Coronation Medal.
  • Albert Opens Contemporary Aboriginal Art Exhibition

    On February 18, he left Canberra to spend a week in Sydney with Frank Clune. While in Sydney, Albert Namatjira opened an exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal art at Anthony Hordern & Sons Fine Art Galleries, which included twelve of his own works, ranging in price from thirty-five to seventy-five guineas. The exhibition titled 'AN EXHIBITION OF ABORIGINAL ART', also included the works of eight other Aboriginal artists. The exhibition was again a great success, with all paintings being sold by t
  • Albert at Government House

    Albert Namatjira flew to Darwin and then Sydney and on to Canberra where on February 15 he was presented at Government House to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
  • Albert has an Exhibition with Fellow Aranda Artisits

    Albert exhibited in Sydney in a Group exhibition of twelve Aranda artists, and once again the exhibition was successful.
  • Albert's Father Dies

    Albert's father Jonathan fell ill and died.
  • Albert Sits for a Portrait Which Wins the Archibald Prize

    In December, he travelled to Sydney with his son, Keith to pick up a new utility truck that was donated to him by the AMPOL Petroleum Company. While there he sat for a portrait by Sir William Dargie. The portrait won the Archibald Prize that year, and in 1957 was purchased by the Queensland Art Gallery.
  • Albert and Rubina Awarded Full Australian Citizenship

    Albert and his wife, Rubina were awarded full Australian Citizenship. 'He could now vote, drink in hotels, take bottled beer home, build a house anywhere he wanted, and demand the basic wage if he ever worked for an employer. But the anomaly existed that his children were still considered wards of the State and therefore if he wanted to build a house in Alice Springs, his children could not legally stay with him overnight.'
  • Albert Visits a Girl's Orphange

    While in Sydney Albert visited an Aboriginal Girl's Orphanage Home where they were trained to become domestic servants. He then returned and gave them an original painting as a gift
  • Albert's Exhibition Opens

    A major exhibition of thirty-five of his watercolours was held in the Claude Hotchin Gallery at Boans of Perth. The exhibition catalogue was titled 'Catalogue of Originals by ALBERT NAMATJIRA', and the exhibition ran from June 30 to July 12, 1958. The prices of the watercolour works exhibited ranged from fifty-five to one hundred and twenty guineas.
  • Albert Holds a Joint Exhibition with Leonard Long

    In August 1958, a joint exhibition with Leonard Long, titled 'RECENT PAINTINGS BY ALBERT NAMATJIRA and LEONARD LONG, PAINTED IN CENTRAL AUSTRALIA FOR ARTLOVERS' GALLERY' was held in Sydney.
  • Albert Supplies Liquor to Aborigines

    In August, trouble broke out at the Morris Soak camp, when a young Pitjantjatjara woman was killed by her husband. Albert was the one who had supplied the liquor to her husband. Albert left the camp, and then revisited his relatives at the camp later in the month. He was subsequently charged with 'supplying liquor to members of his tribe who were wards of the State.'
  • Albert Recieves His Sentence

    On October 7, 1958 he was sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour for six months for during a taxi journey to Hermannsburg, supplying liquor, namely rum, to fellow tribesman, Henoch Raberaba, who was a ward of the State and therefore prohibited by law from drinking intoxicating liquor'.
  • Albert's Sentence is Shortened to Two Months

    Albert's sentence was later reduced to three months imprisonment at the Papunya Native Reserve on light duties. His doctor and others at the Reserve were greatly concerned about his state of health and he was granted 'full remission for good behaviour and his sentence shortened to two months'.
  • Albert's Left Index Finger has to be Amputated

    Early in 1958, Albert was again admitted to the Alice Springs Hospital, this time with a severe injury to his left hand. The bonnet of his new truck had fallen on it and lacerated it so badly that his index finger had to be amputated.
  • Albert Holds an Exhibition

    A major exhibition of thirty-five of his watercolours was held in the Claude Hotchin Gallery at Boans of Perth. The exhibition catalogue was titled 'Catalogue of Originals by ALBERT NAMATJIRA', and the exhibition ran from June 30 to July 12, 1958. The prices of the watercolour works exhibited ranged from fifty-five to one hundred and twenty guineas.
  • Albert is Released

    Albert Namatjira was released from the Papunya Native Reserve on May 19, 1959, but appeared to have lost his will to live. He had lost his interest in painting and was in what appeared to be a state of severe depression. He accepted the offer of a small cottage at Papunya, but his condition rapidly deteriorated.
  • Albert Dies

    He was admitted to the Alice Springs Hospital where he suffered a heart attack, and with the onset of pneumonia it was only a matter of hours before he died.