Before its proclamation as a British settlement in 1836, the area around Adelaide was inhabited by the indigenous Kaurna people, one of many Aboriginal nations in South Australia. The city and parklands area was known as Tarntanya, or Tarndanyangga in the Kaurna language. The surrounding area was an open grassy plain with patches of trees and shrub which had been managed by hundreds of generations. Kaurna country encompassed the plains which stretched north and south of Tarntanya as well as the wooded foothills of the Mt Lofty Ranges. The River Torrens was known as the Karrawirra Pari (red gum forest river). About 300 Kaurna populated the Adelaide area, and were referred to by the settlers as the Cowandilla.The Kaurna language was a complex one, reflecting their sophisticated culture and deep environmental knowledge. Within a few decades of European settlement of South Australia, Kaurna culture and language were almost completely destroyed. Extensive documentation by early missionaries and other researchers has enabled a modern revival of both, which has included a commitment by local and state governments to rename or include Kaurna names for many local places.
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