Indigenous History

It is recognised that the Peramangk people are the indigenous tribe who wandered the area of this district.

W. P. Shemmeld, in a letter to the Editor of the Leader, July 31 1991, stated…

The Peramangk nation, which was still numerously in existence in the late 1840s, bordered with the Adelaide Kaurna nation near the Gawler area.  The Peramangk’s northern Boundary was in the North Rhine region.  They bordered to the south near Birdwood with the Portaulun nation.  The Portaulun’s tribal land included most of the lower Murray River districts and went as far south as Inman Valley, where it bordered with the numerous Coorong tribes.
Permangk aborigine makes fire

Peramangk Aborigines visit Kaurna territory



The main tribe to the east of our Peramangk locals were the Ndangaruku, whose area started in the western Murray Flats and included much of the upper river region. Sandwiched between the Adelaide Kaurnas were the Ngaralta, an Adelaide Hills tribe.  Most of the Adelaide Hills Aboriginal place names today are in the Ngaralta language.  The Merrimeyunna tribe, whose rock paintings still exist today near Springton, were a splinter tribe of the Peramangk nation.  To the north of our local Peramangks were the Ngadjuris, whose northern border reached beyond Port Augusta.

The Peramangk people however, had by the 1840s left much of their original territory, due to the establishment of farms and sheep stations by the white people; this making it difficult for the Peramangk to gather and carry out their rituals as they were inclined to do.  They mixed with the white people, and relied on them for food and other handouts instead.


The Ochre Warriors: Peramangk culture and rock art in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Robin Coles, Richard Hunter


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