35-02 Kaurna history, and naming of Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi

The Kaurna name for this park is Pakapakanthi. It means “to trot”, and denotes the history and importance of horse racing to this park’s identity. This name was given in 2003, although the spelling was changed in 2013.

Prior to European settlement, Victoria Park would have resembled a large flat of blue gums and grey box gums.

Oral history of surviving Kaurna elders indicates that this area was used for corroborees, burials and camping.

In 1980, indigenous Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people, along with other indigenous groups from the desert lands in the north-west of South Australia arrived in Adelaide to confront the State Government over land rights.

They established a camp here at Victoria Park in a symbolic action to commandeer an important symbol of white culture. Numerous meetings were held at the campground.

The protesters received support from community groups and businesses in the form of media coverage, firewood, and food. Local Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri aboriginal people, themselves experiencing their own issues of land rights, also joined the protesters at the camp to talk and listen to the songs and speeches.

This stand was an important moment that came before the passing, the following year (1981) of a Land Rights Act that covered the Pitjantjatjara and nearby lands.

The was the first recognition in South Australian law, of Aboriginal community freehold land title.

The English name, Victoria Park, was assigned in 1897 on Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. True to its name, Victoria Park has hosted several royal visits.

From this point, walk northwards along the track and stop where East Terrace goes around a bend and joins Halifax Street.

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