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ADJAHDURA / HISTORY

ADJAHDURA
People have questioned the use of the word Adjahdura instead of Narungga to describe the traditional owners and land of the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Historical documents support what traditional elders Irene Agius and Elaine Newchurch have told the filmmaker that the traditional name of the original Aboriginal people of Yorke Peninsula was Adjahdura.

In early historical documents there are variations to the spelling of Adjahdura (Adjadura, Adjahdurah) but Irene Agius spells it "Adjahdura", which means "my - people".

Irene tells this story; the word Narungga means "campsite". When other missions were closed down in other parts of the state and Aboriginal people were removed from their traditional lands and herded like cattle to Point Pearce – the old fellas (Adjahdura traditional elders) stopped telling their stories – and only told their stories to certain families – so not everyone got handed down the stories and cultural knowledge of their country. Black fellas were using the term Narungga (campsite) to describe the Aboriginal campsite people and white fellas started using the term Narungga and it stuck as the description of the Aboriginal people of the area. Traditional owners Irene Agius and Elaine Newchurch, who have cultural knowledge, say that they are Adjahdura.





ABORIGINAL HERITAGE vs DEVELOPMENT
In Australia, 100-year-old buildings get heritage-listed and protected. Yet Aboriginal heritage, Australia's ancient heritage, which is thousands of years old, doesn't receive the same protection.

Quenten's family estimate that only five per cent of Adjahdura cultural sites remain intact - with most of these sites located along the coast. All over Yorke Peninsula, development is allowed to go ahead even though Aboriginal heritage is being destroyed. Quenten and his family are fighting to save what's left of their traditional sites. But it's not only about saving their heritage - it's about saving their culture.

Quenten Agius..."We all have a responsibility to the country, to the plants, to the animals, and to the human - the blackfella who walks that country. And we wonder if development will ever stop destroying our country".

Quenten Agius..."They can develop all this area here, they don't care nothing about my burial ground, they don't care nothing about me and nothing about my next generation and how they are gonna live. All they wanna do is build houses like over there".

Quenten Agius... "For 40,000 years, our waterholes sustained life for my people. Our waterholes on our country have dreaming stories that connect to each other. When the white man came to the country, they stood over our waterholes and pushed our people away. And where you find waterholes is where you also find burials".




POINT PEARCE (Aboriginal community, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia)

In the first 30 years of European settlement on Adjahdura land, 80% of traditional owners of this country were wiped out by introduced diseases and by the bullet. In 1867, Point Pearce was set up as an Aboriginal mission. Bad things are spoken about Aboriginal missions but for the traditional owners of this country, Point Pearce was crucial to their survival. Point Pearce was and still is a sanctuary for Aboriginal people. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Aboriginal missions in other parts of the state were closed down by governments and whole groups of people were removed from their traditional lands and herded like cattle to Point Pearce. This tribal mix caused major problems and blackfellas are still suffering the consequences of this mass removal. Many descendants of the families who were removed from their traditional lands and relocated to Point Pearce have lost their connection to country and are struggling with their identity and traditional beliefs.

Today on Adjahdura land, only a handful of traditional owners have the stories of their country and knowledge of their cultural sites. Quenten's family is one of those.


Historical photos of the Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission