D – Design & Marking Country

All cultures inscribe meaning in the landscape, many cultures erect cultural markers (monuments, memorials, public artworks and so on) to establish or reinforce cultural and symbolic meaning. Traditionally Kaurna had no need to erect cultural markers, the meaning was already in the stories of the land, sky and sea countrty.

Yellaka – Old Wisdom-New Ways

Now it is necessary to design and erect cultural markers to help make culture visible in the urban space for Kaurna Meyunna, other Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal alike. Tjrin Tjrins The Messengers  are an evolving form of cultural marker and story teller.

Tjrin Tjrins The Messengers Malone & Telfer 2013 (3)

Tjrin Tjrins The Messengers 2013

Public space art, design and masterplanning projects by Karl and Gavin, or ones to which they have contributed, are:

Kaurna Cultural Presentation, Cooke Reserve Wetland, Royal Park

Sculptural and cultural presentation elements for the Cooke Reserve wetlands, City of Charles Sturt (in progress)

Riverbank Precinct Pedestrian Bridge Landings

Sculptural and design elements for Kaurna cultural presentation on the landings of the Torrens Lake footbridge, Adelaide, the upper banks of the river valley of Karrawirraparri Redgum forest river. With Taylor, Cullity, Lethlean & Aurecon (in progress).

Kaurna Cultural Presentation First Creek Wetland, Adelaide Botanic Garden

Development of Kaurna cultural presentation in the First Creek wetland. All texts with Michael Shanahan, Botanic Gardens of Adelaide.

Wetlands, Adel. Bot. Gdns. 2013, Telfer & Malone (1)

Meyunna – People
Without water we would not be, any of us. We drink water, we swim in it, we listen to it flow and fall, we cleanse ourselves with water and we cleanse or confirm our spirit with water

Kaurna cultural presentation, ABG 2013 Telfer & Malone with TCL, DLD

Kaurna Cultural Presentation 2013, First Creek Wetland (with TCL, DLD)

Wetlands, Adel. Bot. Gdns. 2013, Telfer & Malone (Parri)

Parri – Rivers and Creeks
Rivers and creeks are like veins in the land; feeding, cleansing, and renewing life.
Kaurna meyunna lived with the natural water cycle. Water in this creek once flowed into a wetland called Wittonga (the Reedbeds). Now a channel takes it straight to the sea

Wetlands, Adel. Bot. Gdns. 2013, Telfer & Malone (Kauwe)

Kauwe – Water
Water is the essence of life. We must respect it.
The amount of water on Ngankitta Yerta Mother Earth does not change. Less than 1 per cent of all fresh water is available for plants and animals, including humans. That’s less than half a teaspoon per glass of water.

Wetlands, Adel. Bot. Gdns. 2013, Telfer & Malone (Nganke)

Nganki – Plants
Plants give all things life.
Karra, the River Redgum, were often along creeks and rivers. Like the old people they are the great, great grandmothers to us all. Within this botanic garden lives a Karra that is more than 250 years old.

Wetlands, Adel. Bot. Gdns. 2013, Telfer & Malone (Animals)

Animals, including people, helped to create the world. Yura, the great snake, brought life to the river for us.
Animals are part of the living landscape, the ancestor spirits of the land.

Wetlands, Adel. Bot. Gdns. 2013, Telfer & Malone (This Place)

This Place
This place is part of all that we speak of here. It’s a recent white fella way to harvest and cleanse the water and to provide water for Adelaide Botanic Garden. It is also a bi-cultural teaching place, for us to know more about water, all being together, for these days.

Marka Kokallokalla Kaurna Cultural Markers, City of Charles Sturt 

The first two of a series of cultural markers presenting Kaurna culture, history and people in the City of Charles Sturt have been installed at the City of Charles Sturt Civic Centre and the Pennington Gardens Reserve.

Marka Kokallokalla-Kaurna Cultural Marker Malone & Telfer

Marka Kokallokalla/Kaurna Cultural Marker 2013, Pennington Gardens Reserve

The story at Pennington Gardens follows:

“A Place on Mikawomma
Mikawomma open plains was a tree-studded grassy plain between Yerta Bulti (Port River region) and Tandanya (the location of Adelaide). For Kaurna meyunna Kaurna people, Mikawomma had many tikkandi sitting/camp places during the seasonal movements, following the natural resources, from the foothills to the coast. This place was good for hunting paru meat/game and gathering mai fruits/vegetable foods. The kaya hunting spear, the midla spear thrower and munta large game nets were used for hunting and catching paru.
This place holds memory of movement and stillness. It is a layered ‘two message place’, which conveys stories of movement from ancient times to the present.
The sculptures behind you, the Tjrin Tjrins, are messengers, like the Willy Wagtail bird who shares messages through song and many stories as it dances and jumps about. The Tjrin Tjrins speak of the first cultural layer of this place. It is through messages and story that we all share our ways of understanding our humanity among our many cultures.”

Tjrin Tjrins/The Messengers, Pennington Gardens Reserve, Pennington

Tjrin Tjrins The Messengers, Telfer & Malone, 2013 (1)Tjrin Tjrins The Messengers,  Telfer & Malone, 2013 (2)

Tjrin Tjrins/The Messengers 2013, Pennington Gardens Reserve

TT Detail Malone & Telfer 2013

Tjrin Tjrins The Mesengers Telfer & Malone 2013

Kaurna Recognition, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders Medical Centre

Paintyappendi Pure-Contemplation, Feeling Stone, Landscape, FCIC Malone & Telfer 3 2014

Paintyappendi Pure-Contemplation, Feeling Stone, FCIC Malone & Telfer 2014 1

Paintyappendi Pure-Contemplation, Feeling Stone, Landscape, FCIC Malone & Telfer 2 2014

Paintyappendi Pure/Contemplation, Feeling Stone sitting within Kumangka Kuri/Together in the Circle 2014, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer

Kaurna Greeting FCIC Malone & Telfer 2012

Marni na budni/Kaurna Greeting 2012

The Land FCIC Malone & Telfer 2012

Mankamanka Yerta/Striped Country 2012

Paitya, FCIC Opening 2012

Paitya Cultural Ensemble with Paintyappendi Pure/Contemplation Stone, Opening Ceremony, 2012

FCIC Site, Malone & Telfer 2014

Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, 2014

Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga Urban Regeneration Project & Mullabakka: Kaurna Centre of Culture 

Symbolic civic spaces represent who we are as a culture and how we portray ourselves to each other and visitors to our place. Victoria Square, which was dual named Tarndanyangga (the place of Tarnda, the red kangaroo) in 2003 is undergoing a major renewal which integrates cultural and spiritual place making. Karl began this journey with TCL in 2003 as a member of the Taylor, Cullity Lethlean design team and Gavin provided research and design advice at the finalisation of the Master Plan. Construction of Stage 1 the Northern space and central plaza of the project is well underway.

Victoria Square-Tarndanyangga Masterplan (TCL)

 Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga Urban Regeneration Masterplan 2010-11 (TCL)

The Masterplan is online. Aspects have been revised during design development.

This project was given the Australian Landscape Architecture Award for Urban Design, 2012, by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. The President stated:

The Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga project by Adelaide firm Taylor Cullity Lethlean was selected as an exemplar in urban design, with the jury lauding the project for its observation of site context, history and Aboriginal/Kaurna culture.

Mullabakka – Centre of Culture is an integrated building and landscape, a key feature in the regeneration of  Tarndanyangga. The design concept for the form of the building, based on a mullabakka – wokarlti,  Kaurna shield, rising from the ground, was designed and modelled by Karl Telfer and final design collaboration with TZG Architects, members of the TCL Design Team.

Mullabakka-Kaurna Centre of Culture Maquette (2), Telfer 2010

Mullabakka-Kaurna Centre of Culture (TCL et al) 2011

Mullabakka-Kaurna Centre of Culture Maquette, Telfer 2010 (2)_sml

Mullabakka – Centre of Culture (marquette by Karl Telfer & architectural concept drawing TZG Architects)

Trees of Peace, Karrawirraparri/River Torrens, Welland

Trees of Peace, on the banks of Karrawirraparri/River Torrens at Welland, dates from the Australian Bicentennial in 1988. It was one of very few public markers in Adelaide from the Bicentennial that acknowledged Aboriginal people. The instigator of the commemoration said at the time:
The Bicentennial celebration is a paradox for myself and, I believe many others. While it represents the two hundred years of settlement in a country of great beauty and wealth, it also represents two hundred years since the land was forcibly seized from its former owners, the Aboriginal people who were its custodians for over forty thousand years. Any project set down to celebrate the Bicentennial which does not include the later fact, is, I feel, deficient.
Over time the marker had become ‘lost’ and in 2009 the City of Charles Sturt commissioned its upgrading and the inclusion of a Kaurna acknowledgement.

Trees of Peace Malone & Telfer 2010

Trees of Peace 2010, Karrawirraparri/River Torrens, Welland

Trees of Peace-Palyatatta Telfer & Malone 2010


Trees of Peace-Telfer & Malone 2010

Kaurna Acknowledgement, Trees of Peace Malone & Telfer

Trees of Peace Dedication Ceremony, 2010

Trees of Peace Rededication Ceremony, 2010

Trees of Peace Dedication Ceremony, 1988

Trees of Peace Dedication Ceremony, 1988, Leila Rankine & students from Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music (CASM)

Bulto Ityangga/Traces, Lochiel Park Green Village, Campbelltown

Bulto Ityangga comprises the local landform, sculptural forms, the backdrop topography of the hills and river, sight lines and place making. It makes full use of the site, intimate and expansive; physically (Country) and meta physically (Story). Further detail about the Marker is available on our Webpage section Writing about the Markers. The Marker was undertaken in collaboration with sculptor Greg Johns.

Bulto Ityangga-Stillness Tikkapirendi Malone et al 2009

Bulto Ityangga: Tikkapirendi/Stillness 2009, Lochiel Park

Bulto Ityangga-Holding Maltorendi Malone 2009 (2)

Bulto Ityangga-Holding Maltorendi Malone et al 2009 (1)

Bulto Ityangga: Maltorendi/Holding

Bulto Ityangga-Looking, Seeing Waiawaiandi Malone et al 2009

Bulto Ityangga: Waiawaiandi/Looking, Seeing

Bulto Ityangga-Flowing, Moving Murrendi Malone et al 2009

Bulto Ityangga: Murrendi/Flowing, Moving

Bulto Ityangga-Awakening, growing Burro mandi Malone et al 2009 (2)Bulto Ityangga-Awakening, growing Burro mandi Malone et al 2009

Bulto Ityangga: Burro mandi/Awakening, growing (1 & 2)

Bulto Ityangga- Tiatti warra, Knowing Malone et al 2009

Bulto Ityangga: Tiatti warra/Knowing

Tappa Parruna/The Journey of Life, Finders Medical Centre

Tappa Parruna/The Journey of Life has two components, Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi/The Dancing Spirits and Purru Waiendi/The Flow of Life.

Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi celebrates life, the eternal spirit and nurturance. Located adjacent the creek in trees near the front entrance of the hospital, two abstract figures – one male, the moon, and one female, the sun – dance with the wind and trees around Koonteroo, the Kuri dance stick.

Purru Waiendi is a flow pattern, which emerges from the creek bed and flows past Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi towards the hospital buildings to symbolically connect the healing waters to the place of care.

Further detail about the Marker is available on our Webpage section Writing about the Markers.

Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi The Dancing Spirits (1) 2004

Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi The Dancing Spirits (2) 2004

Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi/The Dancing Spirits 2004, Flinders Medical Centre



Purru Waiendi The Flow of Life 2006

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