Adelaide City Council - Reconciliation


'red kangaroo dreaming'


Tandanya (or Tarndanya) was the name recorded for "the site of South Adelaide" by Teichelmann & Schürmann (1840) and Ivaritji gave Dharnda anya as a place name in the Adelaide area and referred to her people as the Dundagunya tribe who had "their central camp in or near Victoria Square" (Advertiser, 8 Dec. 1927). Tarndanyangga derives from tarnda 'red kangaroo' + kanya 'rock'. -ngga is a location ending 'in, at, on' frequently found in Kaurna place names. The Kaurna language has distinctive words for the male red kangaroo (tarnda), the female red kangaroo (kurlo), male grey kangaroo (nanto), female grey kangaroo (wauwe) and these species all occurred within Kaurna country, if not within the Adelaide city environs itself. Tarnda, the male red kangaroo, plays a central role in Kaurna religion. The coat of arms of the Adelaide City Council, which dates back to 1929, features a red kangaroo.

Victoria Square /Tarndanyangga is still an important meeting place for Indigenous peoples from all over. It is the focus for many political and community-based Indigenous events, such as the Journey of Healing and it is the starting point for the annual NAIDOC march to Parliament House. The Aboriginal Flag, designed by Harold Thomas, was first flown here in 1971 and now flies permanently on one of the two big flag poles in Victoria Square / Tarndanyangga.

Pronunciation Tips:

  • the initial T is pronounced with the tongue between the teeth;
  • a is pronounced as in father and data or like the u in but;
  • rn is pronounced like and n with the tongue curled back or retroflexed;
  • stress the first syllable.