We take a look at five ways South Australians can continue to learn about First Nations culture.
1. Explore Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park
Just 155km from Adelaide, Ngaut Nguat Conservation Park is home to picturesque landscapes and unique insights into its traditional owners, the Nganguraku people.
Their connection to the land and the skies are best shared through private tours that will have you looking at the night sky through a new lens.
Radiocarbon-dated deposits found by excavating rock shelters in the area confirm the long history of the Nganguraku people who have been living around the River Murray and caring for the land for more than 6000 years.
Tours provide insight into the history, stories and engravings of the sites where the Nganguraku people once camped. The carvings found throughout the sites reinforce the deep connection to astronomy and the night sky as stars were used to guide the traditional owners.
To book a tour or to access the park contact the Mannum Aboriginal Community Association Inc through SA National Parks and Wildlife Services.
2. Learn about Ngarrindjeri Country
Ngarrindjeri Country is made up of 18 clans known as Lakinyeri, which each occupy an area of land along a 30km stretch of the River Murray, from Lake Alexandrina to the base of the Coorong and around to Encounter Bay.
The region is a popular destination for holiday makers, with Victor Harbor winning Tourism Industry Council of South Australia’s (TiCSA) Top Tourism Town and People’s Choice Award for 2023. But how much do visitors really know about the First Nations culture of the land?
Led by expert guides, Kool Tours offers a number of seasonal tours throughout the region. Owned and operated by Ngarrindjeri man Mark Koolmatrie, the focus of Kool Tours is to provide people with an opportunity to explore the history and knowledge of the First Nations peoples of southern South Australia.
For something a little different, visit Raukkan with a tour organised through Raukkan Community Council. Approximately two hours from Adelaide, Raukkan is an Aboriginal community located on the shores of Lake Alexandrina near the Murray Mouth.
Raukkan was originally established as the Point McLeay mission in 1859, but was handed back to the Ngarrindjeri people in 1974 and renamed in 1982. Visitors can take in the spectacular views of the sparkling lake and listen to a tour guide explain its history.
Did you know: David Unaipon, the inventor, writer and campaigner pictured on our $50 bill is a Ngarrindjeri man. If you look to the right of him on the $50 note, there are shields pictured that belong to the Ngarrindjeri nation.
The small town’s historical sites include a heritage church hall, first built in 1869, which now stands as a fascinating museum adorned with photos and artefacts that showcase the history of Raukkan.
3. Browse the Botanic Garden with Bookabee Tours
Have a couple of hours to spare? Take a leisurely walk through the Adelaide Botanic Garden with Bookabee Tours Australia to learn about Aboriginal traditional plant uses.
Bookabee Tours is a family owned and operated business specialising in the delivery of memorable experiences that combine Aboriginal knowledge and culture.
The Aboriginal Native Plants and Social History Tour shares knowledge about food gathering practices, how implements and tools are made, where to find bush medicines and the social history of Aboriginal peoples.
Or extend this to a half day or full day tour where you’ll also explore art galleries and museums for an alternate perspective of art and history.
Find out more about Bookabee here.
4. Step through culture with the Adelaide Kaurna Walking Trail
The Kaurna Walking Trail showcases Adelaide’s rich Kaurna heritage, with 17 sites spanning 9.7km. The walk can be completed within two to three hours.
Starting at the Peace Foundation’s Reconciliation Sculpture located outside the Adelaide Festival Centre, the trail invites visitors to reflect on Kaurna life before European settlement. It covers places of significance to Kaurna culture and heritage and explores how Aboriginal people were impacted by settlement.
The trail ends at Tarntanyangga / Victoria Square, which is the place of the Red Kangaroo Dreaming ancestor.
5. Connect through art at the Tarnanthi Festival
Tarnanthi is a Kaurna word meaning ‘to come forth or appear like the sun and emergence of light’. The Tarnanthi Festival provides a platform for First Nations artists and communities to share their stories and illuminates the diversity and depth of art and culture.
Exhibitions are held at the Art Gallery of South Australia and other SA venues. The festival includes an annual art fair, artist talks, performances, workshops and an education program.
The Tarnanthi Festival runs from October 2023 to January 2024 and includes interactive events where festival-goers can speak with artists and learn about their world and ideas.
Keep an eye on the AGSA website to see what’s on.