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Aboriginal Culture & Heritage
The City of Holdfast Bay acknowledges Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of this land. We respect their spiritual relationship with country that has developed over thousands of years, and the cultural heritage and beliefs that remain important to Kaurna People today.
The Kaurna People are the original people of Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains, whose country stretches from Crystal Brook in the north to Cape Jervis in the south. The coastal plains between Glenelg and Kingston Park provided a hospitable summer camp environment with rolling sand dunes, freshwater lagoons and natural springs for the Kaurna people, where food and water was plentiful. When the winter months approached the Kaurna people generally moved further inland to the foothills to avoid the flooding of estuaries and rivers. This seasonal movement allowed food sources to regenerate which was part of the careful management of their lands.
The Tjilbruke Spring site located along the Kingston Park Coastal Reserve is of great cultural importance and spiritual significance to the Kaurna people and to the wider Aboriginal population. For thousands of years the permanent freshwater spring has been bubbling away in the sand and once formed a freshwater coastal lagoon.
The sacred spring site is part of the extensive Tjilbruke Dreaming Story. Tjilbruke is an important Dreaming ancestor to Kaurna people and the Tjilbruke spring site along with the Dreaming Story remains sacred to the Kaurna people today.
On top of the cliff overlooking both Tjilbruke Spring and the spectacular coastal views the Tjilbruke monument was erected in 1972 to commemorate the Tjilbruke Dreaming story. Designed and created by Sculptor John Dowie it represents Tjilbruke carrying his dead nephew, Kulultuwi, on his journey south.
The Tjilbruke Journey
Nganu and Tjilbruke a tale of two heroes
This short video story has been developed by Monash University through partnership between Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi Aboriginal Corporation and South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools, in consultation with Kaurna Elder Uncle Lewis O’Brien.
Tiati Wangkanthi Kumangka (Truth-Telling Together)
A new permanent exhibition in collaboration with the Kaurna Nation exploring the true history of South Australia. Learn about the settlement of South Australia in parallel with the historical experiences of Aboriginal people.
Tiati virtual tour
Kaurna yarta – ana Cultural Map
The Kaurna Yarta-ana brochure is a guide to sites of Kaurna Significance and Historical Landscapes in the City of Holdfast Bay. Hard copies of the brochure are available from the Holdfast Bay History Centre, Bay Discovery Centre the Brighton and Glenelg Libraries and the Brighton Civic Centre.
Repatriation Ceremony at Tulukutangga
In August 2019 Kaurna Nation held a special Repatriation Ceremony at Kingston Park. The reburial ceremony laid to rest the remains of eleven Kaurna Old People which had been returned from the Natural History Museum, United Kingdom and the South Australian Museum.
The Repatriation was an extremely powerful ceremony for all involved and it was a privilege for Council to be part of the event. The Kaurna community were incredibly welcoming and shared the ceremony with members of the community, school groups and local residents. People that attended were moved by the experience and the generous and genuine sharing of such a poignant and touching ceremony.
Repatriation Ceremony Image Gallery
We would like to Acknowledge that the land we meet on today is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.