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Kainkawirra Waadlakatha / Sir Douglas Nicholls Bridge: named after a man of many 'firsts'

Mistletoe Park / Tainmuntilla (Park 11)

photo-icon Sir Douglas Nicholls

Sir Douglas Nicholls KCVO OBE (1906-1988) was the first Australian Aboriginal to be knighted, the first Australian Aboriginal to be appointed State Governor of any Australian State or Territory, and the first Pastor of the Aboriginal Church of Christ in Australia.

Born on Cummeragunga Aboriginal Station in Yorta Yorta Country in New South Wales, Nicholls was the youngest of six children and left school at 14. He played six seasons for Fitzroy Football Club and was a pioneering campaigner for Aboriginal reconciliation.

In 1938 he spoke at the National Day or Mourning at the Australian Hall in Sydney declaring: "after 150 years our people are still influenced and bossed by white people. I know we can proudly hold our own with others if given the chance".

The Day of Mourning was held on Australia Day for many years and led to the 1967 Census counting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the first time.

Kainkawirra Waadlakatha / Sir Douglas Nicholls was appointed Governor of South Australian in 1976 but had to resign due to ill health the following year. There is a statue of Sir Douglas and his wife, Lady Gladys Nicholls, in Parliament Gardens in Melbourne.

The bridge, which is named after this man of many 'firsts', was described by the jury of the Adelaide Prize, which it won in 2010, as "an object of art as much as an element of public infrastructure".

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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