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

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

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

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

Pirltawardli - Posssum House
Pirltawardli -- Possum House
(© Gerhard Rüdiger)

"Pirlta Wardli", today the Adelaide City Park No 1, is situated at the northern banks of the man-made Torrens Lake at the edge of city centre.  Between 1838 and the mid-1840s it has been the hub and the focal point of encounters between Aboriginal people and four German Lutheran missionaries in infant South Australia. 

What European Christian mission history eventually judged a "failure" -- the missionaries could  convert not one of the local Aboriginals to the Christian Lutheran faith --, has been in hindsight a success story and a blessing:  The recording of three Aboriginal languages in South Australia by the first missionaries then, serve since the 1980s and today as some of the main sources for reclaiming and reviving these "sleeping languages"1 ].

The "Pirltawardli Research Website" will collect information and details regarding this story.  Due to the nature of historical research I will mainly deal with documents around this story collected in Germany, Great Britain and South Australia and written by and for whitefellas

Essentially, however, this is the history of the Aboriginal peoples who interacted with these four missionaries during the British and German settler invasion of early South Australia since 1836.   As much as possible, therefore, I will try to give them back their voices and names as they were recorded by the European observers or made known by themselves.  Hopefully, in some future time, this  resource collection will serve Aboriginal community members in their own study and interpretation of events in the past and present.

Please be aware:

  • The pages in this website will change without notice! 
  • You may use its content for your own studies and research, but they do not necessarily form the final stage of systematic research.
  • For Aboriginal visitors: 
    This blog will quote, refer to, or show pictures of, people of Aboriginal descent who may have passed away.
  1. a phrase preferred by Kaurna people over the linguistic term of "extinct" [ ▲ ]

For reference:

Gerhard Rüdiger. Welcome :: Welcome to "Pirlta Wardli", the "House of the Possum" ..., in: Pirltawardli Research Website. Adelaide 2021.
(Created: 04.11.2014. Last updated: 13.01.2019.)
Direct URL: <www.grweb.org/cpo-pirltawardli/en/detail.php?rubric=welcome&nr=142>. Viewed 22.01.2021.