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The Olive Groves / Parngutilla: A Mediterranean Vision

The Olive Groves / Parngutilla (Park 8)

Did you know that the Park Lands olive groves played and important role in the establishment of the olive oil industry in South Australia?

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 'Parngutilla' in the Kaurna language, which means 'parngutta root place', referring to the potato-like root which was eaten by Kaurna people. The Kaurna people are the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains.

These groves on Mann Terrace have been cultivated since the 1860s, but the first olive trees are thought to have been planted in the Park Lands in 1837. The olive tree became commonplace in the colony as it could survive the dry Mediterranean climate, was fast-growing and could be cultivated for olive oil.

Encouraged by the success of olive oil submitted to the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, where it won an honourable mention for its purity and clarity, many colonists established olive plantations. A visiting Victorian journalist reported in 1874 that "the olive has been established in South Australia for many years. In almost every one of the numerous gardens and orchards surrounding the city it can be seen flourishing".

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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