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The Ngarrindjeri is an Aboriginal nation of 18 tribes called Lakalinyeri who occupied (and still occupy to some extent) the Lower Murray and Lakes area of South Australia.

Their history since White settlement was best recorded in the book "Conquest of the Ngarrindjeri" by Graham Jenkin.

Other great, but rare books which tell some of their story are "Native Tribes of South Australia" and "South Australian Aboriginal Folklore"

The biggest influence upon the Ngarrindjeri people after white settlement was the early intervention by by a religious organisation which appointed the Reverend George Taplin to oversee and assist the people. He began his work on 4th april, 1859.

George Taplin carefully recorded much of their history and a lot of it has not been published, but is available at the state library of South Australia. He did his utmost to remove their culture but he had good intentions in doing so. His impact upon the Ngarrindjeri resulted in most people becoming Christians but fortunately not all of their culture was lost.

Around 1860 the first church for an "Aboriginal Mission Station" was built at Raukkan (Point McLeay on White maps) and the church still stands today. It is shown on the Australian $50 note.

George Taplin was killed in a hotel fire in Adelaide but was buried at Raukkan and a plaque in the church mentions this. His grave is surrounded by an old metal fence and could be viewed if arrangements were made with the Raukkan Community Council to enter the small town. George Taplin was (it seems) quite respected and loved by many of the Ngarrindjeri people in days gone by, but there were (and still are) others who loathed what he and his church did.
One advantage of his involvement with the Ngarrindjeri might have been his influence in protecting Aboriginal people in various ways, particularly from White settlers and police.

After the religious organizations had finished at Raukkan, the government apointed Superintendants to oversee the community and it was illegal for residents to enter or leave without a special permit.

At one time the Ngarrindjeri people (as did all Aboriginal people) needed to acquire special permits to be able to live outside a Mission, and were considered "for the purpose of the Act of Parliament" to be non-Aboriginal. These documents were referred to as "dog tags" and to be intercepted by police without it was a major problem.

White people who were seen in the company of Aboriginal people who did not possess a "dog tag" were arrested and charged with consorting (which was the same offence as being seen habitually with known criminals).

All of the Lakalinyeri's had a representative on the ruling body for the Ngarrindjeri nation, (The Tendi) but the last president of the Tendi died on 16th. July, 1899.
The Tendi has not been revived as yet, but during the "Hindmarsh Island Bridge saga" a properly established committee was established to handle all of the affairs concerning Ngarrindjeri land (and waters).
After extensive advertising of the meeting, the 350 odd Ngarrindjeri people who attended, voted for the committee members and the co-chairs of the organisation. (Matt Rigney and Rhonda Agius).

On 21st November, 1999 the Ngarrindjeri people returned to Kumarangk (Hindmarsh Island) and simultaneously recovered their island and raised their first flag.
It is probably the only land on the Australian continent which has been recovered by the indigenous people without consulting with governments or courts - which in law have no jurisdiction over any Aboriginal people or land until such consent is given (which has never happened).
The Ngarrindjeri flag is not a replacement for the National Aboriginal Flag, which is highly valued and respected. However it can be seen displayed or flying at many Aboriginal organisations and small flags are to be seen in many Ngarrindjeri homes as well as in the homes and workplaces of many supportive non-Aboriginal people.


1809 (approx) Pullum, the rupulle,the last president of the Tendi was born.
1813 (estimated) Massive numbers of Aboriginal people killed by disease (smallpox)?
1819 White men, (escaped convicts) and Tasmanian women were settled on Kangaroo Island.
1830 (9th. Feb.) Capt. Charles Sturt sailed down the Murray to Raukkan - unharmed by any
        Aborigines in his year-long trip along the Murray river.
1830 (estimated) Massive numbers of Aboriginal people killed by 2nd disease (smallpox)?
1831 Capt. Barker missing while exploring the mouth of the Murray river.
1831 (14th August) George Taplin born in Surrey, England.
1834 British House of Commons + Lords pass an Act establishing the province of S.A.
1836 British migrants arrived in South Australia
1836 (28th December) The Proclamation was read to 200 people at Holdfast Bay - which included
         Special mention of the rights of the native inhabitants.
1838 Ship, the Fanny wrecked (survivors assisted by Ngarrindjeri)
1839 Mrs. Smith tried to buy 480 acres of land at Nuriootpa for use by Aboriginal people but she
        was thwarted for fourteen years and eventually The Free Church of Scotland got it.
1840 (7th. June) The brig "Maria" sailed from Pt. Adelaide.
1840 (28th June) The Maria  was wrecked. (survivors assisted by Ngarrindjeri) some men were later
        killed for assaulting Ngarrindjeri women.
1842 Ngarrindjeri deserted by doctors.
1843 The Narrung Peninsula occupied by pastoralists.
1842 Fraudulent "Wastelands Act" passed into White law.
1845 (5th June) Police Comm. complained about the poisoning of Aborigines by S East Pastoralists.
1847 Meyer's school for Ngarrindjeri children closed.
1850 Whites both disappointed and happy that Aboriginal people were dying out.
1857 S.A. became a self-governing colony.
1858 (31st. August) "The Aborigines' Friends Association" formed.
1859 The Ramindjeri (one of the 18 tribes) almost completely 'de-tribalised' after
         adopting European ways.
1859 (1st Mar) George Taplin appointed Missionary Agent.
1859 (4th. April) George Taplin started work at Raukkan
1859 (21st July) Baker, one of 2 pastoralists in the area tried to stop Taplin helping Ngarrindjeri.
1859 (2nd August) Government would not back Baker against Taplin.
1859 (August) Baker refuses to sell meat to the Mission  (unheard of in Australia - to refuse to
         sell food to anyone)
1859 (October) Work started on Raukkan school - finished 2nd July, 1860.
1859 (31st December) Meat strike by Baker ends.
1860 (2nd January) Day school began at Raukkan.(temporary school).
1860 (30th August) Local Pastoralist Baker telling lies about Taplin in Adelaide to government.
1860 (26th + 27th) Taplin forced to answer false accusations in the Select Committee.
1860 Legislative Council finds Aborigines gained nothing from colonisation & lost everything.
1860 Sunday school book translated into Ngarrindjeri language.
1862 Major Biblical tract translated into Ngarrindjeri by Taplin (followed by others).
1864 Taplin translated Genesis, Exodus, Mathew and John "Tungarar Jehovald" (reprinted1926)
1865 (mid) Taplin concedes that The Ngarrindjeri will disappear.
1870 20% of church goers at Raukkan Church were white and got along OK with Ngarrindjeri. (It
        was the only church in the area).
1872 (March) Philip Rigney arrived at Raukkan after travelling from Albany, W.A.
1872 Raukkan farm was 688 acres. (but not "owned by the Ngarrindjeri under White law).
1879 George Taplin died in a fire.
1889 (16th, July) Pullum, the rupulle,the last president of the Tendi died.
1891 Raukkan church had extra section added.
1902 Murray River rising salinity stops wool-washing at Raukkan.(even worse now,100 years later)
1909 Philip Rigney + David Unaippon (Ngunaitponi) on tour with singers and gave lectures.
1911 S.A introduced an Aborigines Act.
1913 Royal Commission
1916 (1st Jan) AFA reluctantly cuts ties with Raukkan.(followed by a rapid decline).
1928 Mass murder by police of Aborigines in the North of the state (27 men and 1 woman).
1930 N.B. Tindale, anthropologist found traces of only 6 Lakalinyerar.
1950's Government Assimilation policy causes (or allows) people to leave Raukkan.
1959 (approx) First Aboriginal primary school teacher qualifies. (Peter Rigney)
1970's Raukkan fallen in disrepair.
1978 "Conquest of The Ngarrindjeri" was written by Graham Jenkin.
1980's Raukkan resurrected with new houses, community centre and roads.
1980's "Camp Coorong" cultural centre established near Meningie.
1980's ATSIC formed and some progress is made for all Aboriginal people.
1990's Hindmarsh Island Bridge saga.
1990's State Minister for Aboriginal Affairs refused to protect Ngarrindjeri culture.
1990's Ngarrindjeri language taught in some schools (from historical perspective).
1990's Australian Liberal Govt. makes a law to _prevent_ the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
           from protecting a particular Aboriginal site of significance. (Bridge site at Kumarangk).
1990's Major exhibition of Ngarrindjeri culture established at S.A. Museum.
1990's Royal Commission held. (The only people who spoke were those who didn't
          know anything).
1990's Tal-kin-jeri Dance Group formed and revives more of the culture.
1999 Ngarrindjeri Pulgi (house and land) bought at Kumarangk.
1999 (November) First Corroboree in 100 years held over 3 days.(3000 attended)
1999 (21st November) Ngarrindjeri made proclamation taking back Kumarangk (Hindmarsh Island)
1999 (21st November) New Ngarrindjeri flag raised for first time on Kumarangk.
2000 (2nd +3rd Dec) Corroboree at Camp Coorong.

In 164 years since white settlement, the Ngarrindjeri have asked for one thing only. "That a bridge not be built at a particular place - Goolwa/Kumarangk" and yet after a decade of protest and court cases their wishes have not been met

to be continued..[]