The Kaurna People


The Mid Coast Surfing Reserve Steering Committee recognizes the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the land.

The Kaurna Aboriginal people are the traditional owners of the land called Ngangkiparringa (City of Onkaparinga) for at least 40,000 years before the arrival of Europeans.

Linked to the land by spiritual and cultural bonds, their knowledge has been handed from generation to generation in stories and memories. The Dreaming contains many of these tales and describes the creation of the world by god-like, heroic beings. The Kaurna see themselves as steward of the environment – a world alive with social and spiritual meaning.

        • Before Europeans arrived, they moved through their land as the seasons and their tradition allowed. They traded in karko (ochre) and met together at significant places. Clothed in cured hides
          often prepared at a site near Rekarung (the Aldinga Scrub)

        • They lived in wodli which were simple summer housings of branch and leaf and more substantial winter structures moulded of grass and earth. Their diet was rich and diverse, built from
          the flora and fauna surrounding them. In the spring the Kaurna people would move to the Onkaparinga estuary where they would spend the summer months living off the marine life in
          the area. Towards the end of summer they would begin to move inland where their diet changed to wild life and edible vegetation.

        • Revering their ancestors and having virtually no contact with the world beyond their own, the Kaurna people were forced to meet head-on the culture of the first Europeans who arrived on their land in the early 1800s.

        • Port Noarlunga is located along the Tjilbruke Dreaming Track that stretches along the entire South Australian metropolitan coastline and there are a number of significant Aboriginal sites including Witton Bluff (part of the Millawirrabirka dreaming story), the springs along the coast (where Tjilburuke cried), the Onkaparinga River (the ‘woman’s river) and the Port Noarlunga sand dunes.
        • The Moana Sands Conservation Park’s coastal sand dunes are very important in the cultural traditions of the Kaurna people who made their summer camp in the dunes next to Pedlar Creek. Many archaeological artefacts, including burial sites, hearths and shell middens – some dating back more than 6000 years – have been found where the overlying sand has blown away.