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Wellington Square / Kudnartu

Wellington Square / Kudnartu

Wellington Square / Kudnartu is one of six public squares in the City of Adelaide.

photo-icon Arthur Wellesley 1st Duke of Wellington
photo-icon Portrait of a woman belonging to the Adelaide Tribe, illustrated by George French Angas
photo-icon Wellington Square, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0028, circa 1910
photo-icon Wellington Square, City of Adelaide Archives, LS0029, circa 1910

The Kaurna name for the Square commemorates Kudnartu, a Kaurna woman from the Crystal Brook area in the northern-most region of Kaurna country. Her marriage to Thomas Adams, a shepherd, was the first official Aboriginal / settler marriage in South Australia in 1848. She became known as Mary Anne Adams.

Their marriage was seen as a newsworthy event. The South Australian Register reported in June 1847 that Kudnartu, aged about 17, was to attend the 'Native School' on Kintore Avenue for "initiation into the arts of domestic life and household duties". It is understood she taught her illiterate husband to write.

Governor Frederick Robe had decreed that if a European married and Aboriginal, the Aboriginal spouse would receive a land grant, to encourage Aboriginal people to settle in one place. Kudnartu was offered land in the Clare district, which she and Tom farmed.

Kudnartu and Tom Adams had two sons, Tom and Tim Adams, born 1849 and 1852. Following their mother's death in 1855, the family was left destitute as the land allocated to Kudnartu was resumed by the government. The boys grew up at Poonindie mission north of Port Lincoln.

Many Kaurna people alive today trace their ancestry back to Kudnartu.

The European name for this Square recognises Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), who recommended Colonel Light's appointment as Surveyor-General of Adelaide. Light had briefly served under Wellington and a junior staff officer.

The Square remains as it was originally laid out under Light's plan for Adelaide. Until 1913, palisade fencing surrounded this Square (and the other five Squares in the City) to protect lawns and flower beds from sheep and cows being driven through the City.

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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