History corner

Ngadjuri People

Ngadjuri people are the Traditional Owners of this region and have lived here for many thousands of years. The word ‘Ngadjuri’ in their language means ‘we people’. They are also known as the ‘hills people’ and ‘peppermint gum people’. There are remnants of ‘peppermint box’, Eucalyptus Odorata, throughout Ngadjuri Country. Ngadjuri Country covers much of South Australia’s Mid North. It extends from Gawler in the south, to just east of Quorn in the north-west, and beyond Mannahill in the east.

Archaeological, anthropological and ethnographic history offers rich evidence of Ngadjuri culture all through this region. Many rock surfaces are alive with Aboriginal carvings and paintings of great antiquity. Stone tools, message stones, spear points, fire hearths, rock shelters, scar trees, and grave sites all tell their own stories of Ngadjuri people and their ongoing connection to this land.
Ngadjuri found it increasingly difficult to hold onto their land. The new settlers took over many water and food sources. They also brought in new diseases, to which Ngadjuri had no immunity. Violence broke out at times. Many Ngadjuri people died, with estimates that only about 10 percent of the population survived those first few decades of contact.

Many survivors were forced onto missions across South Australia, including the Poonindie Mission on Eyre Peninsula, Point Pearce Mission on Yorke Peninsula, and Point McLeay Mission in the Coorong area. Other Ngadjuri people joined neighbouring Aboriginal groups living north, east, and west along the Murray River.
Many Ngadjuri people are involved in protecting their rich heritage, and revitalising their living cultural landscape for all to enjoy and learn from. The names of many towns and areas in the Mid North offer hints about Ngadjuri knowledge, like these words to describe parts of the landscape.

For Example: Booborowie, round waterhole; Bundaleer, among the hills; Caltowie, waterhole of the sleepy lizard; Canowie, rock waterhole; Coomooroo, small food seeds; Eudunda, sheltered water (originally Eudunda Cowie, from the word judandakawi); Kapunda, water jump out; Tarcowie, flood water or place of washaway water; Terowie, hidden waterhole; Yacka, sister to the big river; and Yarcowie, wide water.

This information has been sourced from the book Ngadjuri – Aboriginal People of the Mid North Region of South Australia, written in 2005 consultation with the Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Lands and Heritage Association. Other sections have been written more recently in consultation with Ngadjuri people who have been working with the Clare and Gilbert Valley Council on cultural revival projects.

Further information; please contact the Ngadjuri Nation Aboriginal Corporation; Ngadjuri Walpa Juri Lands & Heritage Association; or the Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council.

This information was supplied by the Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council.

Notable Mintaroites

Edmund Bowman Jr (1855–1921)
Purchased Holm Hill at Mintaro, part of the Martindale estate and established a merino stud farm there. Built Martindale Hall in the late 1870s.

William Brown (1868–1930)
Born in Mintaro on 29 March 1868. Professor of law, political thinker, academic and jurist.

John Chewings (1819–1879)
Owned and resided at Kadlunga. Landowner and goods supplier to the region.

Peter Cloke (born 1951)
Played 28 games for Richmond Football Club in the early 1970s. Played 145 games for North Adelaide Football Club from 1975 to 1981. Finished runner-up in the 1979 Magarey Medal count. Lives in Mintaro.

Hugh Fraser (1837–1900)
Emigrated to South Australia in 1863 with four brothers and worked at the slate quarry in Mintaro for four years. Subsequently, moved to Adelaide where he won the seat of West Adelaide in 1878.

Percy Hutton (1876–1951)
Born in Mintaro on 2 October 1876. Played a single first-class cricket match for South Australia during the 1905–06 Sheffield Shield season scoring 30 runs.

Norman Jolly (1882–1954)
Born in Mintaro on 5 August 1882. In 1904, he was the first South Australian to be chosen for a Rhodes Scholarship. Was a noted cricketer and Australian rules football player.

Michael Kelly (1905–1967)
Born in Mintaro on 16 April 1905. A rheumatologist, he wrote extensively on a wide range of medical, political, historical, ethical and literary matters. Won the Geigy prize in 1958.

Charles Kimber (1826–1913)
Worked in Mintaro as a farmer for a time. Elected to the South Australian House of Assembly seat of Stanley in April 1887.

Alexander Melrose (1889–1962)
Owned and resided at Kadlunga where he bred sheep, cattle and horses. Represented the Liberal Party in the House of Assembly seats of Burra Burra and Stanley.

John Mortlock (1894–1950)
Born and lived in Mintaro. Owned Martindale Hall and surrounding estate where he was a successful stud Merino sheep breeder and pastoralist.

William Mortlock (1858–1913)
Purchased Martindale Hall and surrounding estate in 1891 where he was a successful grazier. Was elected to the seat of Flinders in the South Australian House of Assembly at the 1896 election.

Frederick Muir (1849–1921)
Born in Mintaro in 1849. Played one first-class cricket match for Otago in 1872/73. The New Zealand connection is unclear.

John Jackson Oakden (1818–1884)
A pastoralist and early business partner of James Stein. Oakden managed the Kadlunga property under occupational licences between 1841 until 1850.

James Stein (1804–1877)
Pioneering settler of the Mid North of South Australia and founder of the Kadlunga pastoralism estate.

Alfred (Jack) Tanner (1887–1955)
Livestock authority who specialised in beef cattle. Worked for the Weston family at Kadlunga early in his working career and later married their daughter, Jean Way Weston.

James Torr (1816–1894)
Arrived in Australia from England in 1847, eventually settling in Mintaro. Landowner and farmer to the district. Managed the Devonshire Hotel in Mintaro for a while. Known for many years as one of the largest landowners in the colony. Uncle of William George Torr.

Sir Samuel Way (1836–1916)
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia. Purchased Kadlunga in 1881 and owned the estate for 35 years.

Lawrence Weathers (1890–1918)
New Zealand-born Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross. When he was a child of seven his family came to South Australia and settled in the Mintaro district. After leaving school, Weathers moved to Adelaide.

George Young (c. 1822–1869)
Emigrated to South Australia in 1847 and lived at Mintaro as a surveyor / land agent for several years. Represented the seat of Stanley in the South Australian House of Assembly from 1862 to 1865.

Note: This information was sourced from Wikipedia on 2 Aug 2023.