Bethesda Lutheran MissionPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter Brown

The cross commemorates the missionary work of the Bethesda Lutheran Mission from 1867 to 1917 and the Jubilee 150 of South Australia 1836 - 1986.

Killalpaninna Mission, also known as Bethesda Mission, was a Lutheran mission for Aboriginal people. The mission was founded by two German missionaries, Johann Friedrich Gössling and Ernst Homann, and two lay brethren, Hermann Vogelsang and Ernst Jakob.

After a difficult three-month journey from Tanunda, they established their mission station at Lake Killalpaninna and tried to convert the Dieri (Diyari) people to Christianity.  Anthropologist and linguist Carl Strehlow worked on the mission from 1892 to 1894, before moving to Hermannsburg. Strehlow and Johann Georg Reuther translated Christian works into the Diyari language, and also documented the grammar and vocabulary of the language.

The South Australian Royal Commission on the Aborigines gathered evidence from the mission in 1914, and recommended that the mission be taken over by the government. The mission was closed by the state government in 1915, and at that time, there were 70 Aboriginal children living at the mission.

After the mission closed, the station became a cattle station. The school continued to operate until 1917, when the government closed all Lutheran schools.


Address:Birdsville Track & Bethesda Mission Track, Etadunna, 5733
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -28.718585
Long: 138.630386
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Cross
Monument Theme:Culture
Approx. Event Start Date:1867
Approx. Event End Date:1917


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 22nd September, 1985
Approx. Monument Dedication Date:
Front Inscription

S. A.
Jubilee 150
1836 - 1986

In recognition of the pioneer missionary work at Bethesda Lutheran Mission

1867 - 1917

Unveiled 22 Sept. 1985

Romans 10 : 9, 1

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au