top of page
SOC19_Discount Code fnt[14359].png
FNT Advertising Banners - 8410 - 728 x 90 px[17049].png
University of Adelaide marks 150 years with first-ever Kaurna Day: Honouring the past, building our future together

by Remanika Chaudhry

Kuarna-Day.jpg

Image supplied

As the University of Adelaide celebrates its 150th year, a new tradition emerges: Kaurna Day - Tirkanthi - Ngutu - Taikurrinthi (Learning – Knowledge - Be united together), a free public event dedicated to honouring the Kaurna people, the traditional custodians of Adelaide and the Adelaide plains. 

 

Scheduled for 27 February at the university’s North Terrace campus, this inaugural event marks a significant step in acknowledging the Kaurna Nation's history, culture, and enduring connection to the land upon which the university stands and operates.

                                                                                                                                       

A Legacy of Shared Contributions

 

Professor Steve Larkin, the university’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement), said the connection between the institution and the Kaurna community stretches back decades, marked by the invaluable contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students.

 

"The Kaurna community, as well as the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, has enriched the university with their perspectives, experiences, and knowledge. Kaurna Day is a tribute to the community’s ongoing impact and a commitment to fostering a truly inclusive campus environment," he said

 

Professor Peter Høj AC, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide, said Kaurna Day signifies a long-standing and evolving relationship between the institution and the Kaurna community.

 

"2024 is the University’s milestone 150th year, but the history of the land on which our campuses are located, and the connection of the traditional Kaurna custodians to place is much, much older," he said.

 

Preserving Language, Empowering the Future

 

Wirltu Yarlu, the Indigenous Engagement branch at The University of Adelaide, is creating a new Indigenous Strategy which will aim to increase the number of First Nations staff and students coming to the University through targeted recruitment, retention, and curriculum development initiatives.

 

The plan also aims to raise cultural competency across the entire university community.

 

Looking ahead, the University envisions an enduring contribution to the Kaurna people. Collaborating with the Kaurna community on reclaiming and revitalising the endangered Kaurna language, Kaurna Warra, forms a cornerstone of this commitment.

 

Dr Lewis Yarlupurka O’Brien AO, the oldest living Kaurna Elder at 93, embodies a lifetime of commitment to advocating for Aboriginal Australians and promoting the Kaurna language. This is a magnificent legacy for which Uncle Lewis has been awarded the University of Adelaide’s highest honour – a Doctor of the University (honoris causa).

 

"Preserving our language is preserving our identity and connection to our ancestors. It’s not just about words; it's about safeguarding an entire way of life. It's a duty we owe to future generations,” he said.

 

With 109 out of 123 spoken Indigenous languages in Australia listed as endangered, the urgency to safeguard Indigenous languages and the cultural identity they represent has never been greater.

 

Uncle Lewis, alongside Kaurna Elder Dr Alitya Wallara Rigney (also known as Auntie Alice), and supported by Associate Professor Rob Amery, a linguist, launched efforts in the late 1980s to rescue the critically endangered Kaurna language from the brink of extinction.

 

“Our collaborative efforts laid the groundwork for the reclamation and revitalisation of Kaurna Warra. In 2002, we formed Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP) to promote the Kaurna language and provide oversight of and direction for the Kaurna language movement,” said Uncle Lewis.

 

Professor Høj notes that KWP is now hosted by the University of Adelaide and emphasised the institution's longstanding commitment to the Kaurna community.

 

“We reaffirm our dedication to supporting initiatives that honour and preserve the cultural heritage of the Kaurna people,” he said.

 

About Kaurna Day

 

The free event, curated by Wirltu Yarlu, is open to the public on 27 February at the Kaurna Learning Circle and Barr Smith Lawns for a vibrant day of cultural immersion, storytelling, and shared learning.

 

Activities include community stalls, performances by First Nations artists from the Centre of Aboriginal Studies in Music, student presentations, and collaborative information sessions facilitated by Wirltu Yarlu.

 

There will also be traditional games and cultural workshops by Deadly Mentorz, live artmaking by Brooke Rigney, cooking demonstrations by Creative Native & Youth Inc., and musical performances by Marlon Motlop, Shellie Morris, Tilly Tjala Thomas, and Corey Theatre.

 

Event Details:

LATEST NEWS

ILC.jpg

Five incredible First Nations talents become ILF Ambassadors by Jackie Evans Photo: From left: Ryhia Dank, DOBBY Credit: Luke Currie-Richardson, Emma Donovan Credit:Ian Laidlaw, Thomas Weatherall, Bianca Hunt. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is excited to announce singer Emma Donovan, actor Thomas Weatherall, artist Ryhia Dank, TV personality Bianca Hunt and musician DOBBY have joined as ILF Ambassadors.

Dale-Agius.jpg

SA First Nations Voice to give Aboriginal people 'a seat at the table', commissioner says [Stephanie Richards, ABC] SA First Nations Voice Commissioner Dale Agius said the state's Voice to Parliament would instead give Aboriginal people "a seat at the table" to discuss their concerns directly with the government.

Dougie-Hampson.jpg

Senior doctor apologises to family of Dougie Hampson who died after leaving Dubbo hospital in 2021 [Zaarkacha Marlan, ABC] The family of an Indigenous man who died less than 24 hours after being discharged from Dubbo Base Hospital walked out of an inquest on Wednesday as the senior doctor who misdiagnosed him gave an apology.

bottom of page