Working together towards reconciliation

Published on 29 May 2023


The City of Tea Tree Gully is proud to be working with local Kaurna Elders and First Nations teachers and artists to celebrate Reconciliation Week.

The demand for the events we've created together has been overwhelming, and all events are now fully booked! This response shows our community's commitment to appreciating and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, and languages. We hope that these events encourage further understanding and respect, and inspire ongoing dedication towards reconciliation.

For those who can’t attend an event, we have created a two-part video series with Narungga/Kaurna Elder Uncle Tamaru, which introduces and teaches Kaurna language and culture to primary school children – it is available online here for everyone to enjoy.

If you are looking for activities this Reconciliation Week, we’ve listed below some local places you can visit to reflect and honour the rich heritage of Kaurna culture, as well as future reconciliation activities to keep an eye out for and films you can watch at home.

What is Reconciliation Week?


Running from 27 May to 3 June, Reconciliation Week is a time to reflect and learn about our shared country, histories, cultures and achievements. This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is ‘Be a Voice for Generations’ and urges Australians to use their power, their words and their actions to create a better and more just Australia.

The City of Tea Tree Gully’s vision for reconciliation is for a thriving community that respects, understands and values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures. We acknowledge the Kaurna people as the Aboriginal traditional owners and custodians of the lands and waters in the area now known as the City of Tea Tree Gully, and value the rich natural and cultural heritage that spans thousands of years of Kaurna history and culture.

Tea Tree Gully Mayor, Marijka Ryan, said, "Our commitment to paying respect, honouring, and celebrating the ongoing history and achievements of First Nations communities extends beyond Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, and is one we aim to fulfil year-round."

Reconciliation Week activities

For Reconciliation Week, we are working together with local Kaurna Elders and First Nations teachers and artists to deliver a range of activities. These events have now all booked out, showcasing our community’s commitment to learning about and honouring First Nations peoples and cultures.


Reconciliation Week planting with Uncle Tamaru

Event attendees will learn about Aboriginal culture from Uncle Tamaru while getting their hands dirty planting bush tucker.

This event aims to provide a meaningful and hands-on experience that promotes cultural understanding, respect and a sense of unity. By highlighting the wisdom and expertise passed down through generations and empowering attendees with knowledge about Aboriginal cultures, it encourages them to foster a connection to the land and inspires ongoing efforts toward reconciliation and sustainable practices.

This event is booked out.

National Reconciliation Week community art workshop with Nikki Carabetta from Mawurdu Gagu Arts

At this fun 2-hour workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to paint one of several Australian animals that will be attached to the outdoor art display on the Holden Hill Community Centre wall.

Inspired by the Dreamtime story 'Tiddalick the greedy frog', this activity provides a creative and engaging platform for attendees to celebrate and raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through painting Australian animals, fostering community participation and promoting cultural understanding.

This event is booked out.

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‘Servant or Slave’ documentary screening and conversation with Dr Jenny Caruso

‘Servant or Slave’ is the real story of five Aboriginal women, told in their own words, revealing how they were removed from their families and forced against their will to serve in cruel conditions amounting to secret slavery. After the screening, Dr Jenni Caruso, an Eastern Arrente woman, whose personal experience is that of being a member of the Stolen Generations, will share her story and insights into this area of confronting Aboriginal history in Australia.

This event aims to raise awareness, promote a dialogue and give a voice to the historical experiences of the Stolen Generations, particularly the experiences of Aboriginal women, providing a platform for their stories to be shared and heard.

This event is booked out.

 Watch the film on Beamafilm for free with a Tea Tree Gully Library card.

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Kaurna Warra workshop – introduction to Kaurna language with Kaurna language teachers Kira Bain and Labhaoise Upton

Event attendees will delve into the richness and beauty of Kaurna language in this hour-long introductory workshop, where they will have the opportunity to learn the language of the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains and explore its cultural significance to Kaurna people today. Experts will guide attendees through the basics of the language including pronunciation, vocabulary, basic grammar, and phrases and expressions for everyday communication.

This event aims to contribute to the revitalisation and preservation of Kaurna language, and supports efforts to maintain and celebrate cultural heritage, while empowering community members to actively engage with Kaurna language and culture.

This event is booked out.

Videos: Learn Kaurna language with Uncle Tamaru

Uncle Tamaru.JPGUncle Tamaru is a proud Narungga/Kaurna Elder and a teacher of Kaurna culture and language. In this two-part video series, Uncle Tamaru encourages us to speak in Kaurna language, teaches us how to say hello and also tells us who his favourite football team is.

These videos were created by Kaurna Elders, Frank Wanganeen and Uncle Tamaru, and the Tea Tree Gully Library to teach primary schoolchildren basic Kaurna language greetings and phrases while fostering cultural understanding and appreciation.

Watch the videos here

Places to visit in Tea Tree Gully

Bentley Reserve

At Bentley Reserve in Holden Hill, there is a scar tree and a native garden that has become a popular spot for the community and local schools to meet and learn about Kaurna heritage and native plants.

Smart Road

Adorning the fences along Smart Road opposite Tea Tree Plaza, local Kaurna artist Paul Herzich crafted a series of panels featuring butterflies, emus and ibis to showcase our diverse local fauna and enrich public art in Modbury.


Civic Park

The Reconciliation Feature Garden in Civic Park acknowledges the importance of First Nations history and the need for local reconciliation. The garden features an arbour depicting falling bark, log seating, forest-style planting and three ground-based art components.

Films to watch

The Tea Tree Gully Library provides free access to streaming service Beamafilm to those with a library card. Embrace the spirit of reconciliation with Beamafilm's powerful watchlist of films that shed light on the experiences, struggles, and resilience of First Nations peoples.


Ablaze tells the story of Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri man from Victoria, a truly heroic cultural and political figure who revived his people's culture in the 1940s and ignited a civil rights movement that would, against enormous odds, change the course of history.
Watch here


Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. ‘This film is a journey into that secret country,’ says director John Pilger, ‘It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance – from one utopia to another’.
Watch here

Emu Runner

Emu Runner is a lyrical story about the impact a mother's death has on an Aboriginal family living in an isolated community, which is perched on an ancient river and surrounded by sprawling plains.
Watch here

The Australian Dream

Using the stunning athleticism of Adam Goodes at the peak of his powers as well as the game itself as the film’s backdrop, 'The Australian Dream' prompts questions about Australia’s relationship with racism and its ability to confront its own past.
Watch here

Servant or Slave

'Servant or Slave' is an emotional insight into both the history and legacy of the domestic servitude forced upon Aboriginal people in Australia. Crucially confronting, the hidden reality of slavery existing throughout Australia's history is told through the stories of five women.
Watch here

Namatjira Project

From the remote Australian desert to the opulence of Buckingham Palace – this is the iconic story of the Namatjira family, tracing their quest for justice. Albert Namatjira was the first Indigenous person to be made a citizen by the Australian Government. The founder of the Indigenous art movement in Australia, his artworks gave many Australians their first glimpses into the outback heart of the country. 
Watch here

Discover more films to watch this Reconciliation Week
Learn more about accessing Beamafilm
Sign up for a library card

Books to read

The Tea Tree Gully Library has a range of First Nations stories by First Nations authors available to borrow for free with your library card.

View the collection
Discover titles from all SA libraries

Future reconciliation activities

While many activities hosted during Reconciliation Week have already sold out due to overwhelming demand, there are still many future opportunities to engage with and learn from First Nations peoples:

Gallery 1855 Exhibitions – from 13 July 2023

home-is-where-the-heart-is-brooke-kirra-rigney-2023.jpg‘Home is where the heart is’ – Brooke Kirra Rigney
A proud Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna woman, art in all forms has always been Brooke’s form of healing. All of her pieces are a piece of her, her story and her identity - her home. More information

‘Lost and found’ – Leanne Shearing
Through abstract painting, Leanne expresses from her heart the impact being a member of the Stolen Generations has on herself and her family. Leanne belongs to Narrungga Country and Ngarrindjeri Country and has made her home on Kaurna Land. Through this exhibition, she is hoping to encourage interest and awareness of the Stolen Generations and the ongoing intergenerational impact. More information

‘The Foundation of Lies’ – Sarah Harvey
Sarah Harvey is a First Nations Mirning woman from Far West Coast Families (Ceduna) who was born and raised in Adelaide and its surrounding areas. Her artworks represent the unveiling of truth and years of trauma on First Nations peoples of Australia. More information


Reconciliation River Walk – coming soon

The Reconciliation River Walk is being developed in partnership with Kaurna Elders Frank Wanganeen, Ivan Copley and Uncle Tamaru with the City of Campbelltown along Linear Park, Highbury. The trail includes videos of Kaurna Elders sharing knowledge of culture to support our shared custodianship of this land and river. Stay tuned for more information about this project.

Kaurna Language Day

Led by proud Kaurna and Narungga man, Jack Buckskin, and first held in late 2022, Kaurna Language Day is an ongoing collaboration with Keller Road Primary School. At the Kaurna Warra Tirntu event, numerous local schools learnt Kaurna language in the library and Civic Park though nature walking, storytelling, dance and art. Keep an eye out for the next Kaurna Language Day.


The Kaurna people are custodians of the land we live on in the City of Tea Tree Gully. Reconciliation Week is a time to reflect on our shared responsibility to look after the lands, waters, flora and fauna to sustain our future, and to celebrate the contributions and achievements of First Nations peoples.