Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lartelare - nice park but not what was needed

Lartelare – a park named after the last Kaurna elder to live in the traditional manner on lands in Port Adelaide – was officially opened last Friday. It contains sensitive interpretations of traditional implements and a wodli – the shelters used by the Port River people before they were sent to missions at the turn of the twentieth century. The CSR plant stood on the Glanville site until the early 90s when the disused sugar mill burnt down. Hopes were high the land would be handed back to the traditional owners but the South Australian Government handed it over to a consortium of developers instead. Lartelare Park sits amidst blocks of luxury apartments and marinas. It is of little practical use to the local Aboriginal community.

Lartelare’s great grand daughter, Auntie Veronica Brodie, fought for years to have the land returned to the traditional owners for use as an aged care facility or a Kaurna cultural centre. Neither proposal received official backing. Auntie Veronica passed away in 2007 with her wishes unfulfilled. Her family were at the opening on Friday. Daughter Margaret (photo above) spoke emotionally about her mother’s vision; how it was thwarted by reports of land contamination and lack of government support. She thanked designers, artists and council staff for working with her family to produce such a pleasing park. SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jay Weatherill recalled a discussion with Auntie Veronica in hospital before she died and the commitment he made to her to build a cultural centre in Port Adelaide.

The Lartelare Glanville Land Action Group founded by Auntie Veronica will be meeting soon to discuss the next steps in their long-running campaign.


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