Adelaide City Council - Reconciliation

Torrens River / Karrawirra Parri

'redgum forest river'

Torrens River / Karrawirra Parri

This locality along the river was known as Karrawirra 'redgum forest' (karra 'redgum' + wirra 'forest') and the river was named after this locality, parri being the Kaurna word for 'river'. The karrawirra was abundant with pilta, the 'brushtail possum' and kupe, a grub that lived in the redgum. The karra also afforded shelter and were deliberately hollowed out with fire.

Bullrushes were abundant along the banks of Karrawirra Parri, the root, known as warnpa was a favoured source of carbohydrate. Children fished for yabbies (ngaultaitya).

Karrawirra Parri was thought to be a reflection of the Milky Way, known as Wodliparri (lit. 'house river'), so named because the bright stars on the edge were thought to be the campfires on the side of the river.

William Williams recorded the name of the Torrens River as Ton-darn-ya-par-rey (= Tarndanyaparri), the Adelaide River (Tarndanya being the name of the area of land where the city of Adelaide was built south of the river.

The Kaurna name Karrawirra Parri was officially recognised under the Dual Naming legislation in November 2001.

The length of Karrawirra Parri was occupied and utilised by the Kaurna people. It might be regarded as the heartland of Kaurna country.

Pronunciation Tips:

  • a is pronounced as in father and data or like the u in but;
  • i is pronounced as in bit;
  • the rr in karra and wirra is a rolled r like that in Scottish, Indonesian or Italian. However the rr in parri is not rolled. It is pronounced as in Australian English curry;
  • stress the first syllable.
Kaurna on sign at Torrens River / Karrawirra Parri