Reconciliation Plaza in Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga
Reconciliation Plaza is officially opened on 26 May 2014 by the Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood, Yvonne Agius, Dual Chairperson Council’s Reconciliation Committee and John Browne, Chairperson Journey of Healing SA.
The launch was a success with over 150 community members, dignitaries and students in attendance. The program of events featured a Welcome to Country by Aunty Lynette Crocker and the unveiling for the Reconciliation Plaza sign followed by the annual celebrations of National Sorry Day.
The Reconciliation Plaza signage is located between the Aboriginal flag and the Australian flag in the central east-west roadway named Reconciliation Plaza of Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga of Adelaide.
The Reconciliation Plaza sign reads:
The City of Adelaide acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains area. The Adelaide Park Lands and Squares are part of the Red Kangaroo Dreaming Place, an important place for the Kaurna people long before Adelaide was established.
Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga is of high cultural, spiritual and physical significant to the Kaurna people and to the wider Aboriginal population.
Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga is traditionally acknowledged as the central camp of the Kaurna people. The place has special associations with Tarnda Kanya, another significant site on the south side of the River Torrens.
Since colonisation, Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga has been an important meeting place for Aboriginal people from all over Australia. In the 1960’s, social activities and gatherings regularly took place outside the central police station (now the Commonwealth Law Courts building) and Court House.
The Aboriginal flag was first flown in Australia at Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga in July 1971 in support of land rights for Aboriginal people. The raising coincided with national Aborigines Day, a day that has now grown into a national, week-long celebration known as NAIDOC week.
In 1992, a tree was planted in Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga to honour the memory of Alice Dixon, a Kaurna/Narungga woman. She was known throughout Australia and internationally for her commitment to raising awareness of the underlying issues surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Deaths in Custody. Alice Dixon lived her life with immense passion, striving for social justice and equality for her people.
In 2002, Council resolved to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian flag, honouring its historical birthplace in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. Since then, Council has also formally recognised the Kaurna people’s relationship with the land by bestowing dual names to the Adelaide Park Lands and Squares. Tarntanyangga derives from tarnta ‘red kangaroo’ + kanya ‘rock’. – ngga is a location ending ‘in, at, on’ frequently found in Kaurna place names.
In 2014, Council has further recognised the significance of Victoria Square / Tarntanyangga as a place of meeting to both Aboriginal people and white settlers. To further the spirit of reconciliation, the central road is now named Reconciliation Plaza.