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Hurtle Square / Tangkaira

Hurtle Square / Tangkaira

Hurtle Square / Tangkaira is one of six public squares in the City of Adelaide.

photo-icon James Hurtle Fisher, Adelaide City Archives, HP0723:02
photo-icon Hurtle Square, City of Adeladie Archives, HP0581, circa 1910s

The Kaurna People are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. The Kaurna name for this Square celebrates Tangkaira or Charlotte, the wife of Ityamai-itpina, whom the colonists called 'King Rodney'. He was one of three main Elders with whom the colonists negotiated. Tangkaira was one of the signatories (she used the spelling Tanggaira) of the earliest example of written Kaurna language – a letter written in 1841 by school children to Governor Gawler pleading him to stay on as Governor. These rare materials have been an important resource in reviving the Kaurna language.

In 1839, the first school was established in Adelaide for Aboriginal children. It was run in the Kaurna language by the German missionaries Christian Teichelmann and Clamor Schürmann. Run at the Native Location (near where the Par 3 golf course is now) in Pirltawardli (Park 1), Tangkaira attended this school.

Many Aboriginal people camped in this Square until the 1970s, including Aboriginal people from all over the State, not just Kaurna people.

The Square remains as it was originally laid out under Light’s plan for Adelaide. Until 1913, palisade fencing surrounded this Square (and the other five Squares in the City) to protect lawns and flower beds from sheep and cows being driven through the City.

The European name for this Square commemorates Sir James Hurtle Fisher (1790-1875), Resident Commissioner from 1836, the official who sold land in the colony to fund the emigration of settlers to South Australia. In 1840 he was elected as the first Mayor of Adelaide.

City of Adelaide acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today. We also extend that respect to other Aboriginal Language Groups and other First Nations.

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