Cultural Traditions and Beliefs
"Our cultural traditions and beliefs are just as strong today as what they were before white fellas first stepped foot on this country. Our traditions, beliefs and Dreaming stories have been handed down - from generation to generation - for thousands of years - and now my mothers, Irene Agius and Elaine Newchurch - have entrusted these stories to me".... Quenten Agius.
"Dreaming stories to us is like what the bible is to Christians. It's what we believe in and follow. The Dreaming stories show us the way - explain the past, present and future - explain our connection to the land and sea and the animals and plants that inhabit our country - and explain the meaning of life"....Quenten Agius.
Quenten Agius of Aboriginal Cultural Tours offers a knowledgeable insight into Adjahdura culture, traditions and beliefs.
Traditional Owners and Non-Traditional Owners
"For reconciliation to truly take place, everyone must recognize that there is a diversity of Aboriginal nations living on Adjahdura Land - Traditional owners of the land and Non-Traditional owners of the land (the broader Aboriginal community). When it comes to issues concerning Adjahdura heritage and culture it’s important that the traditional owners, with cultural knowledge of their country, be recognized as the people to consult with. Unfortunately this is not occurring today"...Quenten Agius.
"People don’t understand that only some of the Aboriginal families who live on this country are traditional owners of this country and only a hand full of those traditional owners have traditional knowledge of this country, Adjahdura heritage and Dreaming. And the Non-Traditional owners who grew up on this land only have 100 years of history on this country, because their families were herded like cattle to Point Pearce when governments closed down Aboriginal missions in other parts of the state and these people have very little knowledge of Adjahdura beliefs, traditions, heritage and Dreaming"...Quenten Agius
"You only need to read the Genealogy book, “Narungga Nation” by Dr Doreen Kartinyeri, to find out who are the traditional owners of Adjahdura Land (Yorke Peninsula) and who are not"...Quenten Agius.
The descendants of the Adjahdura poeple, the traditional owners of Adjahdura Land, can be directly attributed to King Tommy, the last full blood leader of the Adjahdura people. King Tommy's totem was the emu (Gardharie) and he went by that name. He ruled over 4 tribes - Kurnara in the North, Dilpa in the South, Windera in the East and Wari in the West of the country. Julius Kuhn, the Moravain missionary who established the Point Pearce mission in 1867 actually gave King Tommy his English name.
"King Tommy had a son John who married Liz Angie - who had Edward and Walter - Edward had Parry - and Parry had my mother's Irene and Elaine"...Quenten Agius
Moving from country to country
King Tommy's bothers were leaders in other countries and this made it easy to travel through other tribal areas without conflict.
King Tommy's first contact with a white fella, was with an English sailor on Wardang Island. The sailor gave King Tommy a cigarette and it made him cough.
The Adjahdura people traded with other tribes from other countries - not just in tools and artefacts, but also women and cultural song lines and stories. These trading places are significant areas for the traditional owners of this country. The cultural stories that were traded, link up with other Dreaming trails that in some cases lead to the top of Australia.
Before business was to be done, a nominated person would travel with a message stick. This message stick, along with a great number of artefacts, stone tools, skeletal remains and native animals, were taken away by British archaeologists and these items are now on display or stored at British Museums.
Traditional Foods and Bush Medicines
Living on a Peninsula it's no surprise that the Adjahdura people relied heavily on the sea to sustain life. Fish traps, nets and harpoons were used to hunt and gather seafood. Nets were constructed with reeds - fish traps in tidal areas were made of stone walls - and harpoons with the barbs from stingrays.
Bush medicines from native plants are still used today, but because most of the natural vegetation was cleared for farming, many of these plant species can now only be found in National Parks and Point Pearce Aboriginal lands.
Early White Fella Settlement and the Establishment of Point Pearce
In the early days when white fellas first come to this country it was estimated that the population of the Adjahdura Tribe was 500. In the first 30 years of white fella settlement, 80% of the Adjahdura tribe were wiped out through introduced diseases and by the bullet - massacres were a common practice. By 1880 there were less than 100 black fella survivors.
Watering holes were how the Aboriginal people of the area sustained life. When white fellas arrived they took most of the water holes and cleared most of the natural vegetation for farming.
In the early 1860's the Yorke Peninsula Aboriginal Mission Committee was established and teaching was started in a wool shed in Moonta Bay under the command of Reverend W. Julius Kuhn.
In 1867 the Mission was moved to Point Pearce on 639 acres of land. This land grew in acreage as a small township developed, which included housing, wool sheds, a church and large underground stone tanks.
The Adjahdura people harvested their own crops and the mission included a hall, meat shop, blacksmiths, wheat barn, piggery, shearing sheds and chaff houses.
Bad things are spoken about Aboriginal missions - but Adjahdura elders Irene Agius and Elaine Newchurch talk about how important Point Pearce was in the survival of their people - they say it was a place they could run away from the bullet - a sanctuary for Aboriginal people.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, missions from other areas in the state were closed down by government and Aboriginal people from other clan groups were moved to Point Pearce to live with the traditional owners of the area. This caused many problems that are still evident today. From this time, the word Narungga - which means camp site - was used to describe the Aboriginal people who lived at Point Pearce. But today, the direct descendants of the traditional owners, who live on the land and have cultural knowledge, see themselves as Adjahdura people.
|Quenten Agius of Aboriginal Cultural Tours - South Australia can give you an amazing insight into the traditional owners of this country, of their rich cultural heritage, Dreaming stories and traditions - and the issues they are facing today.|