Welcome to "Pirlta Wardli", the "House of the Possum" ...

Pirltawardli, at the northern banks of the Torrence River

... in the language of the First Australian People on what is now called the Adelaide Plains, the Kaurna (or Miyurna) Nation.

Please be aware, this website is in an early stage of development and an ongoing project!

At this location the first of many encounters and dialogues happened between the local Aboriginal men, women and children, with missionaries from Germany, and the colonial "Aboriginal Protector".  It was here where the Aboriginal people taught the newcomers their language and introduced them to their culture.  At this place Aboriginal Elders and the German missionaries established a school for Aboriginal children to teach them for the first time in Australia in their local vernacular. 

After having been taught the language by Kaurna people, it was here where the missionaries began to create a legacy of high significance today by drafting a comprehensive word list (dictionary) and grammar, again in use today.  The ability to communicate with each other respectfully allows today's Kaurna People to reclaim and teach again their Language.  

The "Pirltawardli"-Website will try to tell this story by bringing together in a more systematic form pieces and bits of information surrounding this story.  At the time of writing (November 2014) this Website is still in an early stage of development.

For the book by
Chester Schultz, "Feet on the Fleurieu" (Volume 1, 2023),
please go here


This website strives to achieve a new look at the socio-linguistic sources of the Kaurna Language reclamation and revival.  So far, in the past, almost all historical documents, obviously, were written by whitefella observers for other people of mainly European descent, either in Britain, Germany, later the US and Australia.  Most of the writing focused on their own success or failure in understanding Aboriginality on this ancient continent.  People interested in the subject, however, read these documents as a discourse between the authors and themselves -- both as outsiders to the Aboriginal peoples Britain was colonising.

Aboriginal women, men and children in these accounts by early explorers, observers, missionaries, and colonial officials, even if sympathetic, were treated as anonymous objects.  The colonial concept of "Terra Nullius" (Empty lands, and later country and its resources that had not been utilised  systematically by the current owners, i.e. exploited according to colonial practices) -- anyway, Terra Nullius did not allow these Aboriginal peoples to be seen existing in their own right and with their own agency.  This, of course, is also reflected in the colonial and missionary discourse.

The "Pirltawardli" website attempts to evaluate those historical resources -- and present-day developments -- from the point of view of self-agency of the Aboriginal peoples involved around the revival of their culture and identity.  I am surely not the first to look into this story from this perspective, i.e. of the "underdogs", or the victims of colonisation and dispossession;  yet, so far I can see little beyond the immediate team around the Kaurna (and other Aboriginal) Language reclamation and revival programs with which I am somewhat familiar. 

This website has been slow in its development, mainly for the lack of support and interest from many sides, and due to other obligations.  It thus has lain dormant over many years, but I have not yet given up on the project.

For reference:

Gerhard Rüdiger. Welcome :: Welcome to "Pirlta Wardli", the "House of the Possum" ..., in: Pirltawardli Research Website. Adelaide 2024.
(Created: 04.11.2014. Last updated: 26.11.2023.)
Direct URL: <www.grweb.org/cpo-pirltawardli/en/detail.php?rubric=welcome&nr=142>. Viewed 21.07.2024.