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Nellie Raminyemmerin: a link to the past

Frome Park / Nellie Raminyemmerin (Park 11)

Did you know this Park is named after two important historical figures from Adelaide?

photo-icon Nellie Raminyemmerin
photo-icon Agricultural and Horticultural Show, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0947, circa 1884-1885
photo-icon Edward Charles Frome

Captain Edward Charles Frome (1802-1890) succeeded Colonel William Light (1786-1839) as Surveyor General of Adelaide. Captain Frome’s role in Adelaide from 1839 to 1849 required him to survey and distribute land to settlers and mark many roads and secondary towns.

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. Nellie Raminyemmerin was a Kaurna woman and, according to oral history, a tribal sister of Ivaritji and Lartelare, who were the daughters of Ityamaiitpinna (King Rodney).

It is said that Nellie was kidnapped from the banks of the River Torrens / Karrawirra Parri and taken to Kangaroo Island in about 1844 to live with a sealer named Wilkins with whom she had seven children.

There are many stories of Aboriginal women attempting to swim from Kangaroo Island across Backstairs Passage after being captured on the mainland.

Nellie was the first Aboriginal woman on Kangaroo Island to be granted a lease of land (near Frenchman’s Rock at Penneshaw) which was farmed by her ‘husband’ Wilkins. In 1859, the SA Government made it possible for white settlers to be granted land on the basis that they were married to Aboriginal women.

Following the death of Wilkins, it seems that Nellie and her children were sent to Raukkan (Point McLeay) and placed under the care of Reverend George Taplin. It seems that Nellie was an assertive woman who disliked the institutionalised life at Point McLeay and made Taplin, “The Protector”, build her a separate residence.

Nellie’s descendants continue to live in the Adelaide area today.

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.

This Park is located between the River Torrens / Karrawirra Parri ('Redgum Forest River') and the waterhole Kainka Wirra (now known as the Main Lake) in the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Both sites are important to the Kaurna people who used the River and surrounds as camping and palti (corroboree) grounds.

From 1844, the first show of the South Australian Agricultural and Horticultural Society (now the Royal Adelaide Show held at Wayville) was held here. The first Exhibition Building in Adelaide was built in 1859.

In 1887 a much larger Exhibition Building was built for the Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887. Modelled on London’s Great Exhibition of 1851, the Jubilee Exhibition was held in the building erected on North Terrace, where the University of Adelaide’s Law School Plaza now stands. Frome Road Park / Nellie Raminyemmerin now forms a western entrance to the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

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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