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The Olive Groves / Kuntingga: A Mediterranean Vision

The Olive Groves / Kuntingga (Park 7)

Did you know that olives were first planted in the city of Adelaide in 1837?

photo-icon Park Lands off East Terrace showing olive groves in the foreground, State Library of South Australia, B 9420, circa 1880

This park is known as 'Kuntingga' in the Kaurna language, which means 'kunti root place', referring to the kunti which was described by early German missionaries as 'a root of red colour and bitter taste, which the natives roast and eat'. The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains.

It is believed that Governor Hindmarsh brought olive trees with him on HMS Buffalo, when the colony of South Australia was first settled. These groves on Mann Terrace have been cultivated since the 1860s.

Olives were known to survive the dry climate, were fast-growing and could be cultivated for olive oil. An Italian expert, engaged in 1883 to review the olive plantations throughout the Park Lands, observed that "never in the European countries I have seen such richness and strength of growth and such healthy condition of the plants".

In 1884, there were over 900 olive trees in these plantations on Mann Terrace. These are now a State Heritage Place in recognition of the continuous cultivation of the groves and their role in the growth of the olive oil industry in South Australia.

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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