26 Nov, 2013

Victoria Square road to become Reconciliation Plaza

The Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga central roadway (connecting Grote and Wakefield streets) will be renamed Reconciliation Plaza, after a Reconciliation Committee recommendation was endorsed by the Council last night.

Councillor David Plumridge says the new name pays tribute to reconciliation and the historical significance the Square holds, to both Aboriginal people and white settlers, as a place of meeting.

“The Square carries enormous history and sentiment to the Aboriginal community – being the first place the Aboriginal flag was flown – in 1971 at a land rights rally,” he said.

“It is still an important place of significance, being the starting point for the annual NAIDOC march, as well as many other political and community-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events.

“The proposal reinforces our commitment to reconciliation, which is supported by the Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan and the focus of guiding principles within the Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga masterplan.”

Mr Plumridge said consultation was conducted to gain community feedback, including interviews with Kaurna elders and representatives from Aboriginal organisations and committees, on the proposal.

The central roadway has been redesigned to serve a dual purpose as both a road and events space, kicking off with the Tour Down Under next January, as part of the Victoria Square upgrade.

The new Square will feature an events space, dedicated bus lane, pedestrian path, bicycle lanes, new drinking fountains, toilets, shade, seating, a water play fountain and plug-and-play infrastructure.

The Aboriginal flag has flown permanently in the Square since 2002 to symbolise reconciliation, with the flag poles to remain in the centre of the Square.

Other reconciliation memorials include the Three Rivers Fountain (previously located in the northern tip of the Square), which is currently being restored and will be reinstalled in the southern section next year.

The fountain features three figures – an Aboriginal male with an ibis, female with a heron and another female with a black swan – symbolising the Murray, Onkaparinga and Torrens rivers. The females represent the European cultivation of the land surrounding each river, while the male is symbolic of the historic and continued Aboriginal presence.

A new tree and plaque, honouring significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice advocate Alice Dixon, will also be unveiled in the Square on Sorry Day next May.

Tarntanyangga means ‘a place of the Red Kangaroo’ and derives from tarnta ‘red kangaroo’, kanya ‘rock’ and ngga ‘a location ending in, at, on’ frequently found in Kaurna place names.

For more information about Victoria Square, visit www.victoriasquareadelaide.com.au

For more information

Victoria Loughhead