Pacific Islands Council of South Australia
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Visiting Raukkan Aboriginal Community, South Au...
On easter Friday 2019, a group of Fijian youth an young adults visited an Aboriginal community called Raukkan, about 80 kilometers, south east of Adelaide city. Raukkan, which means "meeting place" in the Ngarrindjeri language, was for thousands of years an important meeting place for Ngarrindjeri "lakalinyeri" (clans) and the location of the Grand Tendi, the parliament of the Ngarrindjeri people.The Grand Tendi was composed of men elected from each of the eighteen lakalinyeri who then elected from its members the Rupulle or leader. English explorer Charles Sturt first encountered the Ngarrindjeri at Raukkan, who fed the starving Sturt and his party. In 1860 the Aborigines' Friends' Association was granted 107 hectares in the area and established a mission at Raukkan,which had been named "Point McLeay" by T. B. Strangways in 1837.George Taplin had selected the site, and with others such as the Rev. F. W. Cox helped build the school, church and mission station to care for the local Aboriginals, and spent the next twenty years in that service.It was intended by the Aborigines' Friends' Association to help the Ngarrindjeri people, but could never be self-sufficient farming due to the poor quality of the soil in the area. Land clearing by farmers nearby also limited the ability for hunting, and other crafts and industries also met with difficulties due to changing environment and competition from nearby towns. In 1916, responsibility for Raukkan moved to South Australia's Chief Protector of Aborigines,and since 1974 it has been administered by the Ngarrindjeri people themselves and renamed Raukkan in 1982. Raukkan Aboriginal School is in the town.In the 2016 Australian census the population was 106 persons, all of whom identified themselves as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
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