Aboriginal culture

photo-icon Josh Geelen & Kuma Kaaru

The Kaurna people are the traditional inhabitants of the Adelaide Plains on which Adelaide is located. 

As you explore the city and North Adelaide, you'll see and experience Kaurna, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in a number of ways.

Walking trails

A great place to start learning about Aboriginal culture is Topham Mall. 

Part of the Market to Riverbank Trail, the artwork "Riverbank is a Kaurna Market" by Paul Herzich invites you to experience aspects of Kaurna culture as you move through the area.

You'll learn more about Kaurna and European history in the city by following the Kaurna Walking Trail, which links 17 significant sites along the Torrens River, North Terrace and into Victoria Square /Tarntanyangga.

Please note: due to current redevelopment work in the Riverbank precinct, some of the features have been moved for safety, and will be reinstated at a later date.

Art and artefacts

The SA Museum is home to a fascinating collection of Aboriginal artefacts.

The collection is the largest of its type in the world, with around 30,000 items collected across Australia since 1890. Today the collection is curated in partnership with Aboriginal people and communities.

For contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual and performing arts, a visit to Tandanya - National Aboriginal Cultural Institute is a must. Be sure to check their website for the latest exhibition and event details. 

If you're after genuine Aboriginal art to take home, visit Indigenu Art of Australia in Sturt Street, or the APY Gallery on Light's Square, and leave knowing the proceeds of your purchase goes directly to the artists. 

Park and plazas

As you move about the city and explore the beautiful Park Lands, you'll notice that all the parks have dual English / Kaurna names.

This can be a great way to learn more about the area as the Kaurna names pay tribute to a local Elder, or Kaurna link to the area. 

Victoria Square/ Tarntanyangga - the place of the red kangaroo dreaming, was a central meeting place for Kaurna people. Today people of all nationalities and cultures meet and celebrate in the Square. 

Did you know that Victoria Square/ Tarntanyangga was also the birthplace of the Australian Aboriginal flag? 

It was first raised there in July 1971 at a Land Rights rally. You can learn more at the interactive display on the flagpole in the centre of the area known as Reconciliation Square and see the Cultural Marker, created when the City of Adelaide, artist Jacob Logos and members of the Kaurna community and wider Aboriginal community came together to create this significant public artwork, launched in NAIDOC Week 2017.

Cultural events

Throughout the year you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through a variety of events.

NAIDOC Week is celebrated across Australia each July. It's a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Spirit Festival is South Australia‚Äôs premier Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts and Culture Festival. Held annually, Spirit Festival showcases the best in ATSI art, music, dance, theatre, workshops and more from South Australia and across Australia!

Tarnanthi is a wonderful festival celebrating contemporary Aboriginal Art through exhibitions, talks and performances. Held annually in October, the exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia continues into January the following year so you can visit several times.