About Us
Culture and Heritage
This website may contain images and voices of Aboriginal people who have passed away



The Ngadjuri Nation Aboriginal Corporation are the registered Native Title group for Ngadjuri Country, are authorised to conduct business activities on behalf of the Ngadjuri Nation, and represent the Ngadjuri community in all matters Ngadjuri (business, land and heritage). Ngadjuri Nation are a proud people who survived European invasion and have a rich history, culture and heritage.

In 1836, the King of the British Empire (King William IV) enshrined into law the "Letters Patent", the founding document that established the state of South Australia. The King's "Letters Patent" also granted Aboriginal people the legal right to occupy and enjoy their land for always, enshrined in law by the King's seal. The first ever Aboriginal rights granted in Australia's colonial history. Rights to the land, to occupy and enjoy their land for always. But these rights were ignored by the Colonial Commissioners and colonists. Aboriginal rights in the Letters Patent are still enshrined in law today.

The Letters Patent Proviso
states (Rights granted to Aboriginal people in the King’s Letters Patent, the founding document that established South Australia) : ..."Provided always that nothing in those our Letters Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own persons or in the persons of their descendants of any lands there in now actually occupied or enjoyed by such natives".


Despite the myth that South Australia treated its Aboriginal population better than the other Australian colonies, evidence suggests that Aboriginal people were massacred throughout the region. The Ngadjuri were one of the first Aboriginal groups to suffer the full impact of European intrusion as colonists moved north from Adelaide in search of pastoral lands and mineral resources. Initial contact between the two groups had been one of fear, curiosity, tolerance, interest and even sharing. Traditionally, visitors were welcomed to Aboriginal land as long as they followed the law which included protocols about where to camp and how to behave, based on the assumption that the visitors would leave after their visit, the colonists however, did not leave. The ‘settlers’ (invaders) were supported by their government who gave them written title or leasehold rights to the land, even though it was known that Aboriginal people had rights to the land, enshrined in law in South Australia's founding document, the King's "Letters Patent". Whilst ‘settlers’ (invaders) obtained legal title to their new properties and often felt righteous in protecting their land. The environment included vast tracts of arable soils, lightly wooded, with relatively reliable rainfall and water sources, making the country desirable for farming. It was, and remains rich farming land in the south with pastoral tracts covering the north. As a result of the European invasion Ngadjuri people were decimated by introduced diseases, deprived of vital water sources and hunting grounds, massacred and shot for sport, and finally fenced out of their own land.  However, despite the hardships faced by the community due to European invasion, Ngadjuri people and culture have endured and continue to thrive.

Ngadjuri elders - Vincent Branson and Quenten Agius, seen in the film "King's Seal" - discussing being fenced out of their country - even though South Australia's Founding document the "Letters Patent" granted all Aboriginal people in SA rights to occupy and enjoy their land.


An initiated Ngadjuri elder, Barney Waria (Warrior) had great knowledge of Ngadjuri traditional culture, language, customs, technology and lifestyle. Barney was born at Orroroo in Ngadjuri Country in 1873. He was a gararu moiety man whose ‘totem’ was wudlaru (curlew) and wada (rat, probably stick nest rat). His name Waria, means second child born, male, a birth order name recorded as warretya in the Ngadjuri language. Barney was also known as Gunaia and by his initiated name Ngadjlibuna. He left an invaluable legacy, as well as passing down his knowledge to his grand children, he also passed down his knowledge to anthroplogists, Norman Tindale, Ronald Berndt and Charles Mountford.

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