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Recognising South Australia's pioneer women

Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden (Park 12)

Did you know that this garden was developed by the Women’s Centenary Council as a memorial to the Pioneer Women of the State?

photo-icon Pioneer Women's Memorial by Ola Cohn
photo-icon Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden of Remembrance was officially opened and handed over to the City of Adelaide, State Library of South Australia, B 10683, circa 1941
photo-icon Torrens Parade Ground, City of Adelaide Archives, HP1534, date unknown
photo-icon Lady Ester Lipman Jacobs by Ken Martin
photo-icon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial by Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Michelle Nikou and Robert Hannaford

Opened on 19 April 1941, the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden was designed by Elsie Cornish (1870-1946), regarded as one of Adelaide’s best known landscape gardeners. The central limestone sculpture was designed by Ola Cohn (1892-1964), a well-known artist, in 1941.

Two other memorials on the northern side of the Torrens Parade Ground are the Vietnam War Memorial, designed by James Martin in 2006 and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial, designed by Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Michelle Nikou and Robert Hannaford in 2013.

The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We stand in part of a larger park called Karrawirra ('River Redgum Forest') in the Kaurna language. The 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.

The Torrens River / Karrawirra Pari ('Redgum Forest River') was an important part of Kaurna way of life, and the site of camps, palti (corroborees), ceremonies and burials. The River is also part of the Red Kangaroo Dreaming story and the Red Kangaroo Rock ('Tarnda Kanya') on which we stand is part of the story.

The Esther Lipman Garden was unveiled in 1990 in honour of Lady Esther Lipman-Jacobs OBE (1900-1991) in honour of her contribution to the City of Adelaide. First elected to Adelaide City Council in 1956, she served for 22 years and was the first female councillor in the State.

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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