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In August 2014, Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi granted us the name Yarnauwi to describe the landscape of our farm. We approached Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi, a body of Kaurna people and linguists dedicated to the revival of the Kaurna language, for a property name as a way of acknowledging the enduring connection of the Kaurna nation with the landscape of the South Western Fleurieu.

Bald hills

Literally, Yarnauwi means “bald (hills) waterhole” (yarna = bald + kauwi = water), and so refers to the form of the landscape. The “bald” describes both the open woodland of the historic landscape, and its present state as rolling pasture, a more pronounced baldness achieved through successive land uses. The “water” refers to the position of the property on a ridge that separates the Congeratinga and Anacotilla watersheds, and the three creek lines that originate on our farm and drain through the neighbouring swamp. The passage of water through our patch of the landscape is a preoccupation of ours, from the stabilisation and restoration of our erosion gullies, to the planning and implementation of stock watering systems, to the restoration of woodland to manage water in the soil: it’s all about water.

Kangaroos tussle in the neighbouring swamp the destination of our creeks as they drift towards the Congeratinga River.

Kangaroos tussle in the neighbouring swamp, the destination of our creeks as they drift towards the Congeratinga River.

Yarnauwi also offers a historical connection to Yarnauwingga, the Kaurna meeting place just a 5 minute walk from our top boundary. Perhaps appropriately, Yarnauwingga’s legacy as a meeting place and camping ground continues into the 21st Century as the Wirrina Cove Holiday Park.

Our work on this property is very much focussed on restoring the landscape. The gesture of a Kaurna naming fits within that, I think. I hope that it is a first act of cultural restoration, that begins to weave our relationship with this landscape more meaningfully into the stories it’s carried before us.

6-10 October 2014 is Kaurna Warra Wangirntu (Kaurna Language Week), a week of exhibitions, tours, film-screenings and language lessons celebrating the revival of the Kaurna language. Check out the program here.