City squares recognise women from the past

The parks and squares that make up the Adelaide Park Lands all have dual names: recognising both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Discover more about the five women acknowledged in some of Adelaide’s most prominent squares.

Traditionally, this location was an important meeting place for Aboriginal elders. Mukata was one of the four wives of Mullawirraburka – a Kaurna elder and skilful warrior. Mukata was also known as ‘Pretty Mary’. This square is home to a sculptural play space and the Bunya Bunya Pine – the CBD’s tallest tree.

Tangkaira or ‘Charlotte’ hailed from the Clare District. As well as being the wife of Ityamai-itpina or ‘King Rodney’ – a key negotiator who worked with colonists – she was responsible for writing one of the earliest examples of written Kaurna language: a letter from 1841 by school children to Governor Gawler pleading with him to continue working as Governor. These rare materials continue to be an important resource in reviving the Kaurna language.

Unfortunately, little historical information is known about Wauwi, but she was the wife of Kadlitpina, a well-known Kaurna elder. Also referred to as ‘Captain Jack’, Kadlitpina was appointed as an honorary constable; attending official meetings with the Governor and being issued with a baton and uniform.

Kudnartu was a Kaurna woman, also from the Clare District. Her marriage to Tom Adams, estimated to have taken place in 1847, was the first official Aboriginal/settler marriage in South Australia. In addition to this historical union, it’s believed Kudnartu taught her illiterate husband to write.

Iparrityi photo for AL online
photo-icon AA124/5/4, South Australian Museum


Iparrityi (once referred to as Ivaritji) which translates to ‘gentle misty rain’ was born in the latter part of the 1840s and died in 1929.

Iparrityi is often acknowledged as the last full Kaurna speaker. Known as an interesting personality with a high level of intelligence and keen sense of humour, Iparrityi provided anthropologists with valuable information about the Kaurna people, their language and customs.

Look out for the detailed interpretive signage at each square, to find out more fascinating insights about these important city spaces.