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Kaurna History in the Salisbury Region

Public Art Together Woven 1

Kaurna Yarta Wara-Wantaka (across Kaurna Country)

Artwork by Paul Herzich

For thousands of years, First Australian Kaurna people have lived in and travelled across the landscape within the City of Salisbury.

Up to and around the time of colonisation, Kaurna people moved camps in accordance with the seasons. This holistic way of life gave the camps a chance to regenerate before they returned to it. The tree-lined waterways of Dry Creek, Little Para River and Cobbler’s Creek wind their way through the landscape and eventually drain amongst the mangrove forests along the Gulf St Vincent coastline. Along the western edge of the city are some burial mound sites of Kaurna Ancestors. These places have always been highly significant cultural sites for all Kaurna people and will continue to be for a very long time. A rare phenomenon within the city are the vernal pools, just south of Parafield Airport. These ephemeral ponds provide habitat for significant flora and breeding habitat for fauna. They were a good source of fresh water for Kaurna people in the cooler months. The ibis flies around Green Fields Wetland, while emu and kangaroo have come into the area foraging for food. The Kaurna shield or Murlapaka is a cultural icon of all Kaurna people. Its inclusion states that this artwork is of Kaurna Country, People and Culture.

Salisbury Place Names that use Kaurna Words

Many place names in the Salisbury region contain words from the First Australian Kaurna language.

Archaeological research confirms Kaurna people have lived in the Adelaide region for thousands of years. Kaurna village and cemetery mounds have been located at various sites in the Salisbury region. Names that use Kaurna Words include:


Nurlutha meaning ‘will turn’. Nurlutta is the name for a train station is the City of Salisbury.


Yatala is the name of a local suburb. Yatala is derived from Yartala meaning ‘wetland’ or ‘floodland’.


Para means river. Names derived from Para include Para Hills, Parafield and Paralowie.


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