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More history than you’d think

Possum Park / Pirltawardli (Park 1)

Did you know that the first golf players here had to watch out for the volunteers using the area for gun practice?

photo-icon North Adelaide Golf Links, City of Adelaide Archives, 1258ITEM0011[38], date unknown
photo-icon Golf in North Adelaide Park Lands, City of Adelaide Archives, PRG 280/1/30/241, circa 1923

Golf was first played here in 1907 and the area was expanded after World War I as golf became more popular. Golf had to be balanced with military use of the south course for gun practice and exercising horses, and with grazing cows on the north course (which were later replaced by sheep to keep the grass down).

Shown on the early maps was a structure called the Colonial Iron Store, built on the high ground below Strangways Terrace. A large gum tree near the store was the site of the first public hanging in the new colony - a man named Michael Magee.

Near Strangways Terrace was a Signal Station, used to notify city residents when ships arrived at Port Adelaide.

Shown on Colonel Light's map (in this area) was a school for the new colony, but this was never constructed.

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. Besides being the Golf Course, Park 1 is also known as 'Pirltawardli', which means 'Possum Park' in the Kaurna language, referring to the many possums living along the River.

The Kaurna language was last spoken on a daily basis in the 1860s, and has been revived in recent times based on dictionaries prepared by German missionaries around the time of settlement. Kaurna Elders such as Murlawirrapurka, Ityamai-itpina and Kadlitpina (whose names are recognised in Park names in the east Park Lands) assisted the missionaries to learn the Kaurna language.

The German missionaries ran the first school for Aboriginal children in the 'Native or Aboriginal Location' which was located at the eastern end of what is now the Par 3 Golf Course down near the Torrens Weir.

The 'Native Location' opened in 1840 and included a school, six huts for Kaurna families and four huts for the Europeans living on site and a garden.

In 1845 the Location was moved to Kintore Avenue and the buildings demolished.

Pirltawardli is an important place in the history of South Australia because of its cultural significance to the Kaurna people.

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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