We acknowledge this land that 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 custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today. We also pay respects to the cultural authority of Aboriginal people visiting and attending from other areas of South Australia and Australia.
We’re excited you’ve chosen to join us as we lead you through the stories of some of our favourite destinations within the Gardens, many of which we’ve had a direct hand in over the years as leading Adelaide architects, designers and heritage professionals. Over the next hour we will immerse ourselves in the history of these places and GGA’s contribution towards maintaining and promoting their cultural significance. We will also briefly explore the stories of the places and people that contributed to our current understanding of the Gardens as they exist today, including the history of the former Adelaide Asylum, the Municipal Tramways Trust and the legacy of director Richard Schomburgk. Let’s get started!
The Adelaide Botanic Gardens is a leafy oasis within the metropolitan heart of the City of Adelaide, remaining a beloved South Australian institution since its foundation in 1857. It’s hard to imagine how different the site of the Botanic Gardens must have looked before European settlement, in fact very few records pre-dating colonial settlement still exist today. There is one known traditional Kaurna placename associated with Botanic Gardens site: a Kaurna elder, Ivaritji (also known as Amelia Taylor) stated in the 1930’s that ‘the waterhole in the botanical gardens’ was identified as Kainka Wirra, meaning ‘eucalypt forest’, and was of special significance to her father, the tribal leader Parnatatya, or King Rodney (Ityamaiipinna). It is thought likely that the Botanic Gardens’ Main Lake is an enlargement of this previously existing waterhole. The existence of a hollowed-out River Red Gum trunk on the site was also used by Kaurna people as a shelter, or ‘wattowadli’.