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The Peramangk are an Indigenous Australian people whose traditional lands are primarily located in the Adelaide Hills, but also in the southern stretches of the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. They were also referred to as the Mount Barker tribe, as their numbers were noted to be greater around the Mount Barker summit, but Peramangk country extends from the Barossa Valley in the north, south to Myponga, east to Mannum and west to the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Conflicting reports show enmity between the three tribes of the Adelaide region, the Kaurna, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk, yet other reports tell that the Peramangk were held with some reverence due to their differing cultural practices.
Population and traditional practices are hard to verify as shortly after the European settlement of the Adelaide Hills, especially in Mount Barker and Hahndorf, the Peramangk had mysteriously disappeared. It is most likely that they were devastated or wiped out as a result of introduced diseases, but it is also possible that survivors integrated with the Kaurna or Ngarrindjeri tribes. In recent decades, there have been attempts to identify Peramangk descendants through genealogy and DNA testing.
- 1 Family groups and territories
- 2 Peramangk language
- 3 Dreaming stories
- 4 Geography of Peramangk country
- 5 Observations
- 6 A Peramangk family tree
- 7 The Stages of Life of the Women of the Karnumeru (Hill People)
- 8 Stages of Life of Peramangk Men
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Family groups and territories
Peramangk family group names included Poonawatta, Tarrawatta, Karrawatta, Yira-Ruka, Wiljani, Mutingengal, Runganng, Jolori, Pongarang, Paldarinalwar, Merelda. Although Peramangk culture was wiped out soon after settlement, many families survive with a Peramangk genealogy. Norman B Tindale in his various interviews with Peramangk descendents recorded the names of at least 8 family groups; the Poonawatta to the west of Mount Crawford, the Tarrawatta and Yira-Ruka (Wiljani) whose lands extended to the east down as far as Mount Torrens and Mannum. The Karrawatta (west) and Mutingengal (east), occupied lands to the north of Mount Barker, but somewhat south of the River Torrens. The Rungang, Pongarang, and the Merelda, occupied the lands to the south of Mount Barker, in preceding order down as far as Myponga in the south. (ref: http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/ | Tindale Tribes | Peramangk | )
The Peramangk appear to have belonged to the Yura-Thura group of languages as described by Luis Hercuse, in A Nukunu Dictionary 1992, AIATSIS. Tindale when interviewing Robert 'Tarby' Mason, learned that the language of the Peramangk was related not only to that of the groups east of the river, but to the groups as far north as Lake Victoria. This put them in close contact with the Nganguruku, Ngaiwang, Ngadjuri and Maraura peoples. Hemming, S. & Cook, C. Crossing the River, Murray-Darling Basin Commission(1992). There are several Peramangk words recorded in a variety of sources; - ku:itpo - sacred or forbidden place; - maitpana:likkya - food for them ( a ration station near Mount Barker); - poona: good / healthy / fertile (poonawatta - Lyndoch Valley); - watta (worta): a persons land or country; - tarra: land that rises up, a steep hill or ridge; - karra: redgum (same as in the Kaurna); - kungatukko: womens look out ( in Peramangk a hard TT sound is sometimes; replaced with a hard KK sound instead); - wadnar: digging or climbing stick; - kakirra: moon; - nurrondi: enchant/charm; - meyuworta (meruwatta): countryman/ a person belonging to the same family group; - marnitti: grease to mix with ochre to cover the body; - mambarti: hair matted with grease and red ochre; - kuyeta: first born son; - kartiatto: first born daughter; - yarida: bad magic; - 'lantara': ghost or spirit; - 'tinda': a persons totem ;
( ref: - Teichelmann, CG & Schurmann, C.W. Outlines of a grammar.....of the language of South Australia....around Adelaide, (1840), by authors. - Hemming & Cook, Crossing the River (1992) )
Montongenggl – a legend of two children in the stringy bark tree
Yurebilla – The Giant whose body became the Mount Lofty Ranges
Two Mates – Who travelled from other lands way up north to visit the Peramangk people at Mount Lofty
Tjilbruke – The Water and Fire Man who travelled around all of Peramangk territory marking the boundaries of their territories with his travels. His body now forms part of the Mount Lofty Ranges
The Mingka Bird – Little Bird who lived on Mount Barker and who announced the approach of visitors and the imminent death of a loved one
Tak:Oni – Little Spirit Men who would throw stones at campers at night if they strayed too far from the fire
Kadli-Umbo – The Wild Dog Rainbow whose colours can be seen in the waters of Kaiserstuhl Creek
Nurrunderi – The father of the Ngarrindjeri People
Nganno the Giant
Gurltatakko Nganno’s son was murdered and Nganno after holding an inquest, journeyed far and wide to find the murderer or murderers. On his journey he named the places of his country. Nganno moved around the earth that was flat without rivers and streams. As he moved around he made the rivers and filled them with yabbies and fish to eat. When Nganno had found the murderers and killed them, he went back home, but his people on seeing him panicked for he was much changed. They ran into the sea in fear where they were transformed into sea creatures. Then he told them not to enter the water, one answered “I am a shark”, another “I am a whale and so on. Seeing him transformed into a giant, in the end Nganno himself was killed by his own people who did not recognise him. When he fell down his body became the Mount Lofty ranges. Yurre-idla (Mount Lofty & Mount Bonython) his two ears; Picca-idla (Piccadilly) his eyebrow; Nuriootpa, his neck, Tanunda, his elbow and so on.
(ref: http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/ | Tindale Tribes | Peramangk | )
Geography of Peramangk country
Lands of the Peramangk
The territory of the various family groups identified as Peramangk extended in a crescent shape from Myponga across to Currency Creek, swinging north along the western ridge line of the Mount Lofty Ranges to Sandy Creek. The eastern boundary followed the eastern escarpment north to Mount Karinya, with the northern boundary following the south bank of the Gawler River. Access points to the River Murray could be found along Salt Creek to Mypolonga and Wall and in the North down the Marne River at Wongulla. The territory of the Peramangk shifted post European arrival as numbers dwindled to include land from Clarendon west to Tungkillo and down along Salt Creek to Mypolonga, back in a narrow strip to Strathalbyn then south to Currency Creek, Bull Creek to Clarendon. The territory of the Peramangk people prior to European arrival followed clearly defined geographical boundaries and is confirmed by both art site locations, the Tjilbruke Songline (full version), and interviews given by survivors to Tindale in various journals.
The following place names are drawn from a variety of sources, recorded as close to the time of invasion as possible. In many cases the original names of certain locations have been recorded in local histories, elderly recollections, property names, road names, the names of Hundreds, localities, waterways, towns and farms. The landscape remembers even if the people have forgotten. The list is not exhaustive, is open to reinterpretation, addition and correction. I hope it promotes discussion.
- Batta-ngga: Place of Tall Trees – Blue/Red/Pink Gum Forests stretching north from Meadows to Echunga. Fire stick farming practices had produced open grassland interspersed with large areas of tall gum trees. Perfect areas for camping & hunting with abundant water, food stuffs and raw materials for living and trade.
- Barruka-ngga: Place of Hidden Fire – Brukunga, synonymous with the Tjilbruke song line. A mountain of pyrite. The Peramangk would trade fire making kits, (Kangaroo thigh bones filled with pyrite, flint, and tinder) with their neighbours the Kaurna and possibly other groups as well. At the height of their power Peramangk people closely guarded the secrets of this area. Its cultural significance to a variety of groups, Peramangk, Ramindejri, various Narrindjeri groups, the Ngadjuri and Peramangk is paramount as indicated by the story of Tjilbrukie a song line shared by each of these groups. The fire making kits were traded to people as far away as Lake Victoria, and may have been cross traded further still.
- Bokati-illa: Swimming Place – Hahndorf, a permanent waterhole on the upper reaches of the Onkaparinga River near Hahndorf where Peramangk children learnt to swim. Also a regular campsite in summer.
- Donga-rangga: Muddy Red Gum Place - The confluence of Giles Creek and the Finniss River.
- Kangari-illa: Caring Place – Kangarilla, by the name a location important to Peramangk women located at the head of the Kangarilla Valley that winds down to McLaren Flat. Language Notes: "According to F.S. Dutton's South Australia and its Mines published in 1846, Kangarilla is a corruption of Kangowirranilla, meaning 'the place for kangaroo and water', but more likely to be kangaroo and timber" (Cockburn, 1990: 112).
"Mr N.B. Tindale, anthropologist, says: 'It is derived from the Aboriginal word kanggarila which may mean 'birth place', but we have no information about the context". "In Kanggarilla Historical Records the compiler says: 'the Reverend Gordon Rowe of the Aboriginal Friends' Association obtained the following information from Mr David Unaipon, an eighty-two-year-old full blood member of the Tailem Bend tribe. His definition of the meaning of the origin of the name is - "Kang means two; Ra'mulia means outflow or water flowing …." When first approached on the matter Mr Unaipon at once asked if there were two waterholes. Upon enquiry it was found that there were two …'. (Manning, 1990: 162) (courtesy of http://www.kaurnaplacenames.com)
- Kari-karinya: Flying Place – Mount Karinya just west of Moculta marking the north eastern boundary of Peramangk territory and an important lookout over the Murray Plains and the northern Mount Lofty Ranges.
- Kadli-umbo: Dingo Urine (rainbow water) – Kaiserstuhl Creek, the waters of this creek run yellow brown out of the Kaiserstuhl conservation park and into the Gawler River. The waters colours comes from a combination of the yellows soils the creek flows through and he tannins released from rotting leaves. The area is also the sight of the performance of the Rainbow Palti, a dance shared by the Mauraura and Peramangk people. It also shares the name of the totem of the Tarawatta or Yuri-Ruka clans, the Dingo.
- Kadli-parri: Dingo Creek – Cuddlee Creek flowing into the Torrens River, named after the wild dogs once found in abundance in the area, but now hunted to extinction by European settlers.
- Kali-tya: Dingo Place (or camp) - A camping and meeting place on the banks of the Gawler River in the vicinity of where the old township of Gawler now stands. Kalitiya Language Notes: Williams (1840) gives Cud-lie-tie-par-rey 'Para River' (=kadlitiparri) which derives from Kadlitpinna ' Captain Jack' + parri 'river'. Kalitiya could well be related to Kadlitpinna, a Kaurna man known to have come from that district. (courtesy of http://www.kaurnaplacenames.com)
- Karra-watta: Redgum Land – The stretch of country running north Lobethal to the Torrens through Kersbrook , the valley of the South Parra River up to as far as Williams Town. Also the name the of the local clan/family groups who went by the same name – Karrawatta people.
- Karrawirra-parri: Red Gum Forest River – The River Torrens as it is known to Kaurna people. As the Peramangk and Kaurna shared a language and culture, a common border in this region and as the river passes through Karrawatta country there appears to be no reason for the River Torrens not to be known by this name amongst Peramangk peoples as well.
- Kauwe-aurita: Yellow Brown-Water place: Jacobs Creek as it flows into the Gawler River. The junction of these two waters ways was called Moorooroo, a name given to the local family group on the northern bank of the Gawler River but also a wide, yellow soiled used as a place for meetings between neighboring groups.
- Kuri’anda: Koorianda - Ceremony/Dancing Place – (Angaston township and the area within the bowl of the surrounding hills), refers to the place where Kombokuri were regularly held. George French Angas recorded the details of such a moonlight ceremony in his book Savage Life and Scenes.
- Kunga-tukko (Kungatutto): Women's Lookout (or watching place) – Red Hill overlooking Kanmantoo, a logical observation post looking down the Bremmer Valley. Peramangk people this side of the ranges adopted a hard KK sound instead of a hard TT sound. This pronunciation is distinctive of this region of Peramangk country. According to Tindale (1953) Kanmantoo is derived from the words ‘kungma
and tuk:o and literally means ‘different speech’. Tindale is uncertain about the particular language from which these words are derived but suspects they come from someone living ‘beyond the tribal boundary of the informant’. He notes that the place name Coomandook is derived from an inaccurate rendering of the same phrase. He thought that William Giles first used the name ‘Kanmantoo’. http://www.pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/56435/APPENDIX_8_Indigenous.pdf
- Kunda-paringga: (Kondoparinga) The Place of the Kangaroo River – Meadows Creek as it runs through the opens forest clearings amongst the forests of Batangga and south to the Finniss River.
- Kundupari (Kundopari): Kangaroo River – Meadows Creek & Finniss River
- Kuit-po: Either Sacred Place or Meadows – The valley running from Meadows south east to Willunga and Mount Remarkable. The forest through here was dotted with wide open spaces created by mosaic burning to encourage the grazing of Kangaroo’s and other game animals. The first European settlers to the area found the country already like this and named the town accordingly.
- Kangawirrani-illa: Women's Forest and River: Macclesfield
- Ityangga: Near by Place – Currently known as Echunga, the place is on the trade route through Battangga which follows a route along the Meadows-Kuitpo plain right down to Mount Remarkable. Language Notes: Eechungga 'near, close by, at a short distance' (Whimpress, 1975: 17 cited by Knight p. 29)
"has been reported to be a corruption of an Aboriginal word meaning 'near' or 'close by'. However, a poem "Aboriginal Nomenclature - By a Native', which appeared in the Register on 11 October 1893, suggests a different meaning - one stanza reads: Ko-ko-chunga (wood), where bronze-winged pigeons roost" (Manning, 1990: 103) "John Sutton, Secretary of the Ornithological Society, wrote to the author: "Echung" is one of the calls of the Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris), one of the most beautiful songsters of the South Australian (and Australian) bush. The bird gives it as ee-chung (the accent on chung). It calls echung singly and often gives a rollicking song or play on this word finishing up with several "chungs". The species is common in the Mount Lofty Ranges. I have not "worked" Echunga but it is common at Meadows, Ambleside, Bridgewater and I have even heard it here at Mitcham. (I have been told that in some places the bird is known to boys as Echung. My idea is that Echunga means a place where Echungs or Rufous Whistlers were common and thus outstanding as compared with other spots. So far as I know, the Aboriginals in and about Adelaide did not name birds by their calls although in other parts of Australia they did follow that practice." (Cockburn, 1990: 66) Source: Teichelmann & Schurmann (1840: 6) / (courtesy of http://www.kaurnaplacenames.com)
- Lartingga-parri: Flooding Land Creek – Mount Barker Creek/Laratinga Creek as it flows off of Mount Barker. The site is a wide relatively flat flood plain at the foot of Mount Barker with permanent water, and at one time almost permanent campsites, the only time the place was not continuously occupied was during periods of heavy rain when it was, and still is prone to inundation. Mount Barker council has named their wetland nearby Laratinnga for obvious reasons.
- Maitpa-ngga: Autumn food place – Myponga, on the trade route south to Putpangga territory it was a place of plentiful water and food, particularly in autumn when the drying water holes allowed for access to freshwater mussels, turtles, and rush bulbs that were easily accessible in this otherwise boggy and marshy piece of country.
- Maitpa-langga: Flooding food place- Mypolonga, opposite Wall on the river Murray was considered Peramangk territory by Berndt & Berdnt. It provided access to the river for Peramangk people and was a place of trade with the Ngaralta and Ngarkat people. Peramangk survivors lived in the area in the late 19th and early 20th century. Polly Beck’s family lands extended from this area up to Nairne and Mount Barker. Polly was the daughter of George Beck a Peramangk man and through this connection her family had responsibility for this watta (worta/yerta). According to N.B. Tindale, a former ethnologist at the South Australian Museum, Mypolonga means “Lookout Cliff”. It is a corruption of the local Aboriginal name Mupuldawang or Mupulawang. Evidently the local Aborigines used the cliffs on the eastern side of the river as a lookout.
- Maitpana-littya: Food for Them – A ration station 1-mile (1.6 km) from Mount Barker heading towards Echunga.
- Maittangga: Food Place – This is a location on the banks of salt Creek half way between Mypolonga and Pomberuk.
- Moorooroo: Either ‘Wide, dusty place’, or ‘Meeting of two waters’ – The confluence of Jacob’s Creek and the Gawler Rivers and adjacent area of Rowland Flat. In times past it was a place where family groups met in late summer and autumn for ceremonies and trade. The area was noted for its wide flat open areas, and when dances were performed there great clouds of yellow dust would rise up around the performers. The name was also given to the local family group who lived there.
- Millindi-illa: Singing/Magic Place – A permanent water hole on Milendella Creek at the foot of the eastern escarpment west of the old railway station, nearby are located semi-permanent campsites and art sites. The name is probably connected with the Aboriginal millin given to a form of sorcery or magic; thus milendella is 'the place of the man who wants millin'.
When taking revenge by means of millin, the native disguised himself by means of white streaks all over his face and the rest of his body and, taking a heavy club, he would steal noiselessly upon his victim and stun him with a heavy blow. He then pulled the man's ears as it was imagined that by doing so the victim would be unable to say who had attacked him. If he then went into battle, the wicked spirit would whisper in his ear and in consequence he would be unable to protect himself with his shield and so be killed; or he would tread on a deadly snake or be overtaken by a fatal disease. At some suitable moment the man who had used the power of millin in this way to destroy his victim would in turn be killed by the man's relations who, however, were not always particular whom they killed, even the brother of the man using the millin being sacrificed to satisfy their revenge. The natives lived in deadly terror of and nothing would persuade them that there really was no such power. http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/manning/pn/m/m8.htm#milendella
- Mukulta: Head Shaped Hill – Moculta, Parrot Hill that overlooks the township was used as a look out by the local family group of this area. As it looked out over the northern boundary of Peramangk country and into Ngadjuri lands it was a significant feature in the local landscape. The name also can be found in the name Eucolta – Flagstaff Hill and Womma-Mukurta – Mount Barker.
- Mulladi-illa: Mulladilla, drying place – Mulirdilah Station, south Rhine region, along the creek banks either side of the creeks here are small salt flats, and areas by creeks & streams where ceremonies and burials took place.
- Mitji-parri: (Meechi) Mosquito River: Bremer River, the name Meechi was used by local Aboriginal people, Meechi being a local pronunciation of Mitji, a Kaurna word for Mosquito/Wasp/Native Bee.
- Ngarmaracha (Ngumaracha): Women’s Waterhole (or alternatively ‘Umeracha’ – fine waterhole) – A permanent waterhole on the River Torrens in the vicinity of the old township.
It is said that the town's unusual name is reputedly a corruption of the local Aboriginal word 'umeracha' which indicated a good water hole on the River Torrens. Somehow, between the Aborigines and the meeting of the South Australian Company in London in 1841, the word ended up as 'Gummaraka'. http://www.smh.com.au/news/South-Australia/Gumeracha/2005/02/17/1108500204275.html
- Ngankiparri: Women's River – Onkaparinga River, as it is known to the Kaurna. QAs the Peramangk shared the river, a common language and culture there seems little reason not to surmise that they did no share the name of this river too.
Nangkitja: Place of Grubs in the trees – Nangkita, near Mount Compass, according to Tindale.
- Nguro-atpa: Neck Place – Nuriootpa, referring specifically to the narrow lights pass through which people from both sides of the ranges would travel. A point along an established trade route to point along the upper Murray all the way to Lake Victoria and beyond. The name refers to the story of Yurebilla, a Giant Ngarno who came down from the north and was killed by people, his body became the Mount Lofty Ranges.
- Pat-piari (Patpiori): Place of Scattered Trees: Eden Valley and the areas around Kaiser Stuhl Hill. The practices of fire stick farming and mosaic burning by Peramangk people created large areas of open grass lands for Kangaroo grazing and left the landscape punctuated with large Eucalypts that were often used as shelters. Trees often have hollows facing south east (summer), or north east (winter). Trees were further marked with male and female symbols designating which were men’s and which were to be used for women’s camps.
- Parnalartangga: Autumn Flooding Place: Panalatinga Creek as it flows through Happy Valley and into the Field river. The lands around were known as a place to visit for freshwater foods but not a good place to camps because of the mosquitoes and frequent inundation.
- Paintyi-illa (Paintyilla): Place on the side – The location recorded in the name on the station Bundilla, on the Marne River at the base of the hills near Cambrai. An important water hole (now a weir) is located here and was known as campsite along the Marne River Trade route between Nganguruku and northern Peramangk people, the Tarawatta (or Yira-Ruka).
- Pinatjuwingga (Peenakauwingga): Bald Hill & Water Place: A location near Cherry Gardens indicating the geographical location of permanent water in an area noted in times past for the abundance of native cherries that would be collected in late summer and early autumn when water was at its scarcest.
- Poona-watta (Poona-worta): Good Country – The name of the local family group like the Tarrawatta and Karawatta groups. In Kaurna this place is known as Putpa-Yerta, the Lyndoch Valley. It was here that ceremonies were held. The Poonawatta or Wallaby People hosted meetings between peoples such as the Mauraura, Kaurna, Nanguruku, Ngaiawang, Ngadjuri and other Peramangk groups, as recorded by George French Angas in the 1840s. Paintings of the ceremonies and the costumes of the various peoples were also created at this time.
- Picodla: EarLobe Place- Picadilly Valley, the reference to the story of Yurebilla, or the place of the Giants Ear Lobe.
- Pultari-illa: Possum Place- A location near Prospect Hill (Kuitpo Valley) where possums were known to be plentiful.
- Pereira: Hills Place – As in Peramangk, a Yaraldi place name. A location near Woodchester, an important ceremonial and Dreaming place for Peramangk, Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri peoples.
- Perti-ngga (Partingga): Place of Perti/Parti Grubs – Located in the reed beds (now gone) of Mount Barker township.
- Pirraldi: Bald-Moonshaped Hill – A round moonshaped hill above Belair used as a lookout onto the Adelaide Plains.
- Pirramimma: Place of Moon and Stars – Located on the Preamimma Creek, near the Preamimma Mine, a semi permanent waterhole where clear, windless nights the stars can be seen reflected in flat, clear waters.
- Pilyara-ngga: Place of Many Voices – A camping ground and meeting place on the flats at Sturt, across Marion road next to the Warriparingga Wetlands.
- Towitto: Reed Filled Place (springs) – Towitta north of Sedan, a place of permanent water, foods and reeds.
- Tarra-angga: High (Rising) Place – Referring the hills surrounding the township of Angaston. These hills and the area to the south towards Collingrove were the home of the Tarawatta people.
- Tarra-watta (Tarraworta): High (Rising) Land – The name of both the district, and the family groups who lived here. Remembered in the name of Terrawatta Station next to Collingrove Stud, the name applies to the whole of the Eden Valley . Another name for the people of the region was the Yira-Ruka who were closely linked to the Nanguruku people, who shared a similar language and frequently met for ceremonies and trade in the vicinity of the Marne River.
- Taingappa (Tainga-Tappa): Foot Track – Trail – A trail that follows the Marne River from Wongulla to the foot of Mount Crawford. An important trade route that linked the Peramangk and Nunguruku peoples. Important camping and art sites are located along the river with hollowed trees, burial and artifact sites. Evidence of Semi-permanent huts with stone foundations have also been located within the vicinity in the Eden Valley area along with stone fish traps also being located along the Marne River.
- Ta-ingi-illa (Taingilla): Ghost Moth Grub Place – A location in the vicinity of Tungkillo township, an area noted for the abundance of Cossid Moth grubs. The area also abounds with She-Oaks, Calitris Pines, Blue, Red, and Pink Gums.
- Tii-taka (Teetaka): Sit and Trade Place – Mount Crawford, an area where large groups of people from all over would come to meet and trade. It is recorded that over 1000 people would gather here at any one time in the late autumn for ceremonies and trade. With permanent water available and an abundance of food, semi-permanent camps were located here for much of the year.
- Tarr-nanda: Rising Up Place – The land and surrounding hills of the area in which Tanunda is now located.
- Tauondi-illa: Way Through Place – The flat grounds on the banks of the Onkaparinga River where the Clarendon Oval is now situated. The winter camping grounds of the Kaurna people and an important meeting and trading centre for both Kaurna and Peramangk peoples. In the late 19th and early 20th century it became a place where Kaurna and Peramangk survivors retreated to in the face of European invasion. Ivartitji’s family and other survivors lived here at various times prior to their removal to Point McLeay and Point Pearce.
- Tooka-Yerta: Swampy Land – The lands around Tookayerta Creek that flows into Lake Alexandrina south of Nangkita.
- Tala-ngga: Flooding Place – The low lying areas on the south side of the River Torrens near Mount Pleasant Township. A diminutive of Yertala – flooding and ‘ngga’, denoting a place or location.
- Tjukarlu: Chookarloo Campsite in Kuitpo Forest, this may be a modern name not of Peramangk Language. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as to the origins and meaning of this name.
- Wadna-ngga: Place to make Wadnas or Place to use Wadnas – A location near Longwood, the name could mean either as the trees here grew straight and tall with few lower branches, but with plenty of possums about the use of the wadna stick used for climbing trees) would have been very necessary.
- Wilyaru (Wiljaura): Initiation Place – A location very near to Strathalbyn, is also the title for a fully initiated Peramangk/Kaurna man. This site along with Pereira were on the initiation trail of Peramangk and Kaurna men. It is remembered in the locality of Wilyaroo.
- Warriparri: Windy River – the Sturt River as it flows down from the hills from Heathfield to the Patawilonga Basin.
- Warriki-illa: Place of the Winds- The heights above Happy Valley and Happy Valley area, remembered in the farm Warrikilla and the creek that flows from it into the Panatalinga Creek. The area is known for fierce gully winds in the summer and autumn.
- Yurebilla (Yurabilla) / Yure-idla: Two Ears – Mount Lofty and Mount Bonython, the name refers to the story of Ngarno the Giant who was killed and whose body became the Mount Lofty Ranges. There are other stories connected to the two peaks, one concerning Two Men and another referring to the two moiety groups of the Kaurna and probably the Peramangk people as well. Prior to European settlement the land to the west of the Mount Lofty Ranges was the country of the Kaurna and to the east the Peramangk. To the Kaurna, Yurrebilla (Yurr-ee-billa) or Urebilla is a name that identifies the area comprising Mount Lofty and Mount Bonython (Yurreidla) as the ‘two ears’ of the Kaurna ancestral being Nganno, Nar-na, or Nga:no. Nganno travelled across this landscape, and lay down to die following a battle; his body formed the Mount Lofty Ranges. A variant of ‘Yurrebilla’ or ‘Yureidla’ has been historically ascribed as being the origins of the nomenclature of the settlement of Uraidla (Martin 1996: 9-10) but it has more recently been associated with Kaurna nomenclature for Mount Bonython (Hemming 1998: 19; Clarke 1991: 63; Tindale 1974: 64; Wyatt 1879: 178-179). More recently the term Yurrebilla has been used to define the Greater Mount Lofty Park Lands that has been created along the Mount Lofty Range ridgeline reaching from Cox Scrub Conservation Park and Kuitpo Forest in the south to Para Wirra Recreation Park and Mount Crawford Forest Reserve in the north. Ngangki parringa and yulti have also been used to describe the Onkaparinga Valley and stringybark trees respectively. Notwithstanding this nomenclature and associative meanings, there is no specific evidence of Kaurna or Peramangk occupancy of the Piccadilly Valley. There is also no known Kaurna or Peramangk site within the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. It is however known that the Peramangk frequented the Onkaparinga River valley, and it is believed that there were traverse routes used by the Peramangk to access Yurrebilla for communication and trade (Martin 1998: 10; Skipper 1837; Register 2 March 1839; Dunn 1980: 103). http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/botanicgardens/pdfs/mlbg2_history.pdf
- Yertalla-ngga: Flooding Land – The name refers to the Hoffnungsthal Lagoon. The area is a natural basin surrounded on all by high hills, water having nowhere to drain settles here after heavy rain. The connected story is that a Peramangk man named Jemmie warned the German settlers not to build their town there because the lagoon frequently filled for long periods after heavy rains, but they did not listen. Looking on with amused bewilderment at the settlers stupidity, the local Peramangk people were not surprised when after heavy rain the town was flooded out and the Germans decided to move their settlement closer to Bethany.
- Womma-Mukurta: Head Shaped Hill upon a Plain: Mount Barker, a large rounded hill upon a high plateau. My Barker was a favourite meeting and trading place with central importance for both Peramangk and Ngarrindjeri peoples. The Ngarrindjeri people used the summit as a burial platform place and attached a story about the Min:ka Bird (Willy Wagtail), said to be the bringer of important news, someone approaching or the approach of a persons (usually a child’s) imminent death.
- Yulti-Wirra: Stringybark Forest – Referring to the stringy-bark forests that capped the Western Escarpment of the Mount Lofty Ranges. In particular a location in the eastern hills above Myponga.
- Yak-tangga: Either Gum (Calitris or Xanthorea sap) Place or Flooding Valley Place – A sign on the summit of Mount Barker names the place Yaktanga, this could either refer to a place the gum from either native pines or grass trees used for hafting spears and axes could be obtained, or it could refer to the locality below the summit, a valley known to flood after heavy rains.
- Yeroona (Jero:na): Wide Place – A township and homestead in a small valley leading north-west from the township of Kangarilla.
- 90% of place names in the Mount Lofty Ranges are made in relation to physical features within the landscape and of what can be found there
- Several place names relate to food or water or tools and the times of the year that they are in abundance, e.g. maitpalangga, parnalartangga
- Other place names reflect both the major geographical feature of a place and also its physical state at certain times of the year, e.g. yertalungga
- 5% of place names refer to song-lines or stories within the landscape, e.g. Barrukangga, Kadliumbo, Karikarinya
- Some place names refer to not only the major natural feature of the area but also the name of the family group that occupies the region e.g., Tarrawatta, Karrawatta
- Many places names are made up of 2 more words contracted together to create a new place name or an entirely new word. Teichelmann noted that this flexibility in both Kaurna and Peramangk languages allowed for the creation and pronunciation that was neither uniform nor consistent across family and culture groups
- The language of place names within the landscape shows a clear affinity with both Kaurna and Ngadjuri languages. This is consistent with Tindales findings that Peramangk people shared both a language and culture with these peoples.
- Place names within the landscape mark a clear boundary of Peramangk territory. This is consistent with Tindales findings and is reflected in the locations of art sites along the eastern escarpment and the boundaries defines in the Tjilbruke and Nurrunderi song-lines.
- There are clear dialectic differences between Peramangk and Kaurna place names, especially east and north east of Mount Barker
- Tindale noted that at two sites along the River Murray where Peramangk people had access to the River, Peramangk place names can be found, Maitangga, Maitpalangga, Tartangga, Taingappa
- The shift in Peramangk territorial boundaries recorded by Berndt reflects a shift in population and location of the traditional owners to areas between Manunka and Murray Bridge, across to Clarendon. The extension of Nanguruku lands into the Adelaide Hills further reflects the relocation of some Peramangk people to their relations along the River Murray, an area north of Manunka to Swan Reach.
- The depopulation of an areas original inhabitants and the subsequent taking over of this territory by other more populous groups is reflected in changing territorial boundaries, art styles, and places names. The landscape records the time of this change and the subsequent locations of the surviving populations.
A Peramangk family tree
Parruwongaburka ‘King’ John of Mypolonga–M-Mareethesso (Mount Barker Mary) I Monarta/Chilberri–M–John 'Mooroo' Mason (Senior) Ngadjuri/Ngaralta Man, Garowie, Yarracha, Son I I Jimmy Christmas(of Mount Pleasant/Mount Torrens)–M-Kaurna Woman I I Jerry 'Rimmelliperindjeri' Mason (Senior)–M–Jenny Christmas (of Mount Torrens) I Robert Mason (Senior)–M-Rita Lyndsay, Annie Mason–M–Sam Disher, Henry Mason-M-Gertrude Dunn I I I Harold Disher,Tim Disher-M-Gertie Fletcher, Alice Disher–M–Jimmy James, I I I I (Jane, Margaret, Dick, Harold, Daisy) (Lilly, Eileen, Adeline, Jimmy) Bob Mason-M-Hannh?? Jerry Mason, Dora Mason–M–George Karpany, Annie Mason, Evelyn Mason-M-Harry Hunter I I Sylvia, Bob, Jerry Isaac, Betty, Harry
Other families with confirmed links to the Peramangk people include the Cooks, Natoons, Becks, Longs. This is not an exhaustive list, but merely a sample of the many descendants of the Peramangk people who did not ‘die out’, as has been widely reported.
The Stages of Life of the Women of the Karnumeru (Hill People)
Peramangk (Kartameru) women like the men passed through various stages of life as they aged and joined the life of the clan. At large gatherings of several different family groups in the late spring and early summer, at about the time of the appearance of the Pleiades star group, the young women of the family began to be prepared for their coming initiation and travel to their new husbands lands.
Takanna: Prior to the onset of puberty the young girls lived with their family and were raised by their uncles wives and the Elder women of the family group into which they were born. In this time they accompanied the women on their daily routines and were subject to few restrictions. In early infancy they were betrothed to much older men. These arrangements were generally adhered to, unless circumstances necessitated a change, e.g. the death of the promised man. With the onset of puberty the young girls underwent their first stage of initiation. Gathered together in a group away from the main camp, the young girls were first held down by senior male members of their family, one at the head, and one each holding down the arms and legs, they were then covered with a skin rug, whilst the Elder women of the family proceeded to pluck out all of their hair, except for their head. All the time reciting the ritual words that announced their passing into womanhood.
Similar in form to the boy’s first initiation ceremonies, the young women are then covered in red ochre mixed with animal fat, then lead away to live apart from the main camp with Elder women in an unmarried women’s camp out of sight of the young, unmarried men. There they learnt the secrets of their family. The Dreaming and Law that they needed to know were passed down to them, and these then were taken into the lands of her new husband. The totemic affiliations of the family also passed down the female line so that any children she bore were also of the same totem group as their mother.
The young women generally left to live with their husbands at about the age of 12, relatives nearer than cousins were not allowed to marry and the young women were generally married too much older men. They would often be the youngest of two or more wives, with some men having up to four. Once the marriage had been decided the young woman would pick up her net bag containing the tools and objects she would need to start her new life and head off to her husband’s camp and thence to his families lands.
Mangkarra(Chevron Scars): Upon reaching their husbands family group the young women’s education would continue under the guidance of the Elder women of her new family. They were then taught the more localized Dreaming and Laws of their new family as well as the skills and duties they would need to fit in with their new roles. Women rarely became mothers before the age of 16, but before then they would have to undergo their second initiation rite, that of the Mangkarra, or scarring of their shoulders. From this time on the young woman was allowed to partake in all the activities of the family group as here education continued.
Tukkuparka: Now that the young woman has undergone the Mangkarra ceremony she was known as a Tukkuparka. She held this title whilst she was still learning to be a wife and once she had given birth to her first child. Now that she was married she was welcomed into the world of adult women. It was after the birth of her first child that she had her belly scarred and again after each subsequent birth. Tukkupurlaitya: A woman who had only given birth to two children was only allowed limited access to secret knowledge as a general rule. She did gain stories and ceremonies but learned only their general meaning and nature. Some of this lore was hers to own others she shared just a part of. As she moved from one group into another her Dreaming knowledge covered a much broader area, often outside of her birth country. Monarta of Echunga married John Mason Snr, whose country extended from Mount Barker, to Nairne, to Wall and Mypolonga.
Tukkuangki: Now a mother of two or more children, the woman was now introduced to the full knowledge of women’s business. Her views of the landscape and responsibilities were shaped by her experiences and she could now participate in the initiation of other younger women. She became known as Tukkupartapartanna – a woman of knowledge. It was at this time that the woman would gain more scars upon her arms and chest. After giving birth to several children, the older women would often be married off to much younger men (about the age of 25). They were often replaced by much younger women whom they had to then initiate into the ways of the family group as well as teach the young men their responsibilities of being husbands and fathers.
Ngamma Ngamaitya: A stout, older woman with large breasts, these older women would have shoulders, arms, stomachs and chests covered with mangkamangkarrana scars, and would have full knowledge of the Dreaming and Laws they needed to pass onto the next generation of young women. They were often mothers and grandmothers to many children and the secrets of their totemic affiliations were passed down the female line guaranteeing their spread far beyond the birth country of the women. The Elder women would often begin their preparations in the spring with the appearance of the Seven Sisters constellation – Mangkamankarranna, seven young women gathering food on the Womma (sky plain). These seven young girls were promised wives but lived separately under the guidance of the Ngamma Ngamaitya.
The weddings of the young women would usually take place in the late spring or early summer at points distant from their home lands as the various family groups gathered together in various places. These gatherings of many different language and culture groups would comprise hundreds of people meeting in one place. The purposes of the gatherings were many, trade, settling of disputes, marriages, and the performance and exchanging of ceremonies, stories and law. The location of these “Rainbow Ceremonies” would rotate according to the time of the year, the location to be travelled to, the groups arriving and a broader cycle that determined who would host the gathering, where and when.
Stages of Life of Peramangk Men
Peramangk men like the women passed through five different stages of life as they aged. From birth to death, each major mile stone of their lives was marked with a ceremony that brought them into the next stage of their lives.
In the earliest stage of a boy’s life he was known as a Kurkurra, an uninitiated boy. From birth until the age of about 10-12 he was allowed to live a life relatively free of restrictions, he lived with his mother or his mothers sisters and was raised amongst the women of the family and accompanied them on their daily tasks. This care free life was perhaps the only time where he was allows to do as he pleased. He would watch the older boys and men and imitate their activities with games designed to hone many of the skills he would need in later life. These included using the kutpe, (a toy spear), hunting, tracking, food gathering and imitating the dancers in the ceremonies that were performed by the older men.
At the age of puberty, or just before a Peramangk boy was introduced to the intermediate stage of life. At about the age of 11-13 he would undergo his first initiation ceremony, the Wilya Kudnarti. Surrounded by elder men and women of his family the boy is first gently beaten with new growth branches of eucalyptus leaves. Then grabbed by his elders the boy was placed on a bed of gum leaves and one of the senior men would make cuts on his own arm allowing the blood to cover the whole body. Once this stage was completed the boy was allowed to carry a wirri for killing birds, and a small wooden spade (karko) for digging grubs out of the ground.
Once the boys had reached this stage preparations would be made for their full initiation into the world of adults. But this would not be done by their immediate family elders or in their own country. The next stage of their lives would be undertaken at the next Rainbow Ceremony where the boys would be initiated along with their umbilical cord trade partners into the mysteries of early adulthood.
Marnitti (Becoming a Milta)
After the settling of disputes and before the performing of various dances of the Kombokuri, the Elder men and women meet to discuss who will be initiated into adulthood, both young girls and boys are selected for initiation from the meeting groups. The elder men (usually the mothers male relatives) of the visiting family or culture group undertake the Marnitti ceremony early in the morning. Edward John Eyre in his observations recorded the holding of a Marnitti Initiation ceremony and his thoughtful observations are worth quoting at length;
“Early in the morning some of the male friends of the boy about to be operated upon, go behind him to seize him, upon which he sets off running as hard as he can, as if to escape; but being followed by his pursuers is soon captured and thrown down; he is then raised up and surrounded by several natives, who hold him and smear him from head to foot, with red ochre and grease; during this part of the ceremony, a band of elderly women, generally the mother and other near relatives, surround the group, crying or lamenting, and lacerating their thighs and backs with shells or flints, until the blood streams down. When well ochred (milte ) all over the novice is led away by another native, apart from the rest of the tribe, or if there are more than one, they stand together linked hand in hand, and when tired sit down upon bunches of green boughs brought for that purpose, for they are neither allowed to sit on the ground, nor to have any clothing on; and when they move about they always carry a bunch of green boughs in each hand. (Wilyakundarti )
They are now ready for the ceremony… Three men then got up and seated themselves at the foot of the three spears, with their legs crossed… Two other natives then went over… to where the three novices stood shaking and trembling… seizing them by the legs and shoulders, and carefully lifting them from the ground, they carried each in turn, and laid them on their backs at full length upon green boughs, spread upon the ground in front of the three men sitting by the spears, so that the head of each rested on the lap of one of the three. From the moment of their being seized, they resolutely closed their eyes, and pretended to be in a deep trance until the whole was over. When all three novices had been laid in their proper position, cloaks were thrown over them…[members of the family] coming to the side of each, carefully lifted up a portion of the covering and commenced plucking the hair.
At intervals, the operators were relieved by others of both sexes, and of various ages; little children under ten, were sometimes but not frequently officiating. When all the hair had been pulled out, that belonging to each native was carefully rolled up in green boughs, the three lots being put together, and given to one of the wise or inspired men to be put properly away; bunches of green boughs were now placed under each arm of the boys as also in their hands, after which several natives took hold of them, and raised them suddenly and simultaneously to their feet, whilst a loud guttural, ‘Whaugh’, was uttered by the other natives around.
They were then disenchanted and the ceremony was over, but for some time afterwards, the initiated are obliged to sleep away from the camp, and are not allowed to see the women; their heads and bodies are kept smeared with red ochre and grease (marnitti), and tufts of feathers (Karaki-woppa), and kangaroo teeth (teryarkoo), are worn tied to the hair in front.” Edward John Eyre 1844
It is after this ceremony that the young man begins to live as an adult, he is taught what he needs to know to become a full member of adult society. He lives apart from the rest of the family with the older men and is taken on many trips around the country learning about its resources, its stories and other knowledge important to daily physical and spiritual life. At this stage in his life he is known as a ‘Ngarilda’, a young unmarried man. After a time he may once again mix in the company of the women of the group, he can have girlfriends, (Indeed he is encouraged to), his future wife is chosen from amongst the older women but he is not allowed to marry her until after his final initiation stage.
At about the age of twenty a Peramangk man was ready to undergo his final initiation into full adulthood. He would be taken off to a sacred place far from the main camps of his family group and would be tattooed (Mangka Bakkendi - to make incisions in the body), across his shoulders and chest with a sharpened, sacred piece of rock crystal (Kauwemuka: large rock crystal which Aboriginal men conceal from women and young men until the latter are tattooed the last time, which ceremony is performed with small splinters of the rock crystal). Eyre described the various stages of this long and painful process, during which time the young man would live apart from his family and travel around to all the different places sacred to his people.
“The fourth stage (Wilyaru) is entered about the age of twenty, when the back, shoulders, arms and chest, are tattooed. He is called ngulte at the time of the operation; yellambambettu, when the incisions have begun to discharge pus; tarkange, when the sores are just healed; mangkauitya, at the time the cuts begin to rise; and bartamu, when the scars are at their highest elevation. Each tribe has a distinctive mode of making their incisions.” Edward John Eyre 1844
One place we know that Peramangk men underwent their Wilyaru ceremony was at Woodchester Falls. This location is sacred not only to the Peramangk, but to the Ngarrindjeri and the Kaurna as well. Other sacred places for Wilyaru ceremonies were at the falls at the head of Salt Creek and at Water Fall Gully. The scars received by the Peramangk men were three ‘chevron’ tattoos across the shoulder blades, chest and upper arm (Mangka: elevated scars on the chest or back produced by incisions or tattooing; raised scars on chest and back from initiation). These scars signified to all observers that here was a fully initiated man with all the rights and responsibilities that went with it.
Between the end of this ceremony and usually before the age of 25, the Wilyaru man would take a wife. Often she was a much older woman who would either be a widow, or the divorced wife of another man. She would often have children that the new husband (Yerlinna ), would have to care for and help raise. He did not do this alone, but having such responsibilities taught him about the care needed to raise a family(Ngadla : Step-father). A man who could not properly provide for his new family had little chance of gaining further, younger wives in the future.
The fifth and final stage of a man’s life progress came with greater maturity long after he had attained his Wilyaru status. By now he was an older man usually with two or more wives and several children (Yerlitta/Father). A ‘Burka’ man was often seen as the head of his family and an elder of great knowledge who could be called upon to mediate in disputes between individuals and different family and culture groups. He would arrange marriages, set and conduct initiation ceremonies of the groups’ younger members, he would lead songs and dances at the Kombo-Kuri’s, and negotiate travels through another groups country.
It was a sign of a ‘Burka’ mans power if he was able to provide for his family and this was reflected in the number of wives and children he was able to support. Often a Burka’s wives would be much younger than himself, their marriages to him having been arranged at a Rainbow ceremony not long after their birth. Peramangk Burka men like Parruwonggaburka “King John”, had responsibility and traditional ownership over at tract of land (pangkara). John’s country extended from Mypolonga to Echunga, and he was the traditional custodian of the Dreaming Lore for this ‘pangkara’. Parruwonggaburka was the father of Monarta who married John Mason. With his death the ownership of the land passed to a responsible male relative.
Yammaiamma or Nurrullurrulla
There was another, much rarer stage for some Peramangk men. At the time of invasion some Peramangk people had reputations as powerful workers of magic. The early record of European settlers such as Cawthorne, Bull and Schurmann make note of the fear that was engendered in neighbouring groups by the powers of the Peramangk ‘Sorcerers’ (sic). It was a rare and puissant individual who became a Yammaiamma or Nurrullurrulla (Sorcerer). The Peramangk shared much magical lore with their northern cousins the Ngadjuri, even if they did not see eye to eye on other religious matters. Barney Waria, a senior Ngadjuri Elder, speaking the Ronald Berndt in 1944 spoke at great length about the creation of a “Mindaba” (Yammaaimma/Nurrullurrulla) man and the powers and responsibilities that he wielded;
“Traditionally, several years after a young man's wilyaru, and if he had shown considerable interest in magical matters, a Mindaba with some of his colleagues would take him out into the bush…Here the postulant was red-ochred and smeared all over with fat…The Mindaba taught him how to bring on a situation of trance and, in that context, to talk with spirits. He was also informed about various forms of magical healing and sorcery and, especially, how to control his own spirit, how to make it leave his body during a trance. Further, he would be instructed in the art of divination during an inquest that took place after a person's death, to discover who was magically responsible.” Barney Waria 1944 & Ronald M Berndt 1986
(ref: http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/%7C Tindale Tribes | Peramangk | )
- Bob Innes. "The Peramangk". Retrieved 2006-05-22.[dead link]
- South Australian Museum. "Peramangk (SA)". Archived from the original on 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2006-05-22.
- National Trust of South Australia. "Settlement and Early Village life". A Historical and Heritage Guide to Hahndorf. Retrieved 2006-05-22.
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