The Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains have skilfully managed this land for hundreds of generations. They are the Traditional Owners of the area now occupied by the City and Park Lands, called Tarntanya in Kaurna language. Tarntanya (tarnt meaning 'red kangaroo' and anya meaning 'rock') is the Kaurna name for Adelaide. The Kaurna's continuing cultural and spiritual obligations in their lands and seas are inextricably linked with the natural ecology of the region.
When the Kaurna people were the primary caretakers of this land, the area was dominated by open grassy plains with patches of trees and shrubs. The landscape was well-adjusted to the Kaurna people's frequent use of fire as a management tool. Fire would maintain the open grassland and encourage new, tender plant growth, which attracted kangaroos and other animals to the area for hunting. The absence of fire in these ecosystems contributes to many management challenges in our modern landscape.
Karrawirra Pari (meaning 'red gum forest river') is the Kaurna name for what was later named the River Torrens by colonists. The area around this river was regularly used for camping by the Kaurna people and for providing important resources, especially food.
Kaurna education of young people emphasises that their connection to Country is deeper than simply for access to resources such as shelter, tools, food and medicine. The spiritual elements of Kaurna life recognised the connection between the worlds of people, culture, nature and the wider universe. This knowledge is reflected in Ancestral Dreamtime stories that bring the land, people and culture to life; these stories are carried by Kaurna Elders to this day.
The Kaurna people's connection with Country is ongoing. We commit to seeking the advice and participation of the Kaurna people in management of biodiversity in the Park Lands. This improves our ability to protect biodiversity and allows us to acknowledge and celebrate the Kaurna people's culture and ongoing connection to country.
Click here to learn more about the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains.
Get Amongst It!
Traverse the Adelaide Kaurna Walking Trail to discover the story of Aboriginal people in Tarntanya / Adelaide. The trail follows important Kaurna cultural sites around the CBD and Park Lands.Back to Top