In Kaurna language ‘wanga’ means ‘grave’ and ‘yarta’ means ‘land, earth, ground, soil, country’.

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Located within the Smithfield Memorial Park, Wangayarta is two hectares of award winning purpose built memorial park dedicated to Kaurna ancestral remains reburials. The park was designed by the Kaurna community and opened in December 2021.

Wangayarta’s entry is marked by nine sandstone boulders intricately carved by Kaurna artist Alan Sumner.  The first stone is etched with ancestors’ footprints returning to Country and their final resting place. A small water course transitions the entrance to the ceremony area. The water reflects Karrawirraparri and the Kaurna stories the river supports from the hills to the ocean.  A central lawn ceremony area in the shape of a Kaurna shield is a symbol of protection. On the edge of the lawns are four reburial mound areas with one at each point north, south, east and west. Stone firepits and a metal bower shelter provide places to prepare for reburials. High earthen mounds covered in native shrubs and trees hug the boundary, a tribute to very old Kaurna burial practices. Over 5000 shrubs, trees and ground-covers shade the reburied ancestors with the traditional food and medicine and the colours, sounds and smells that the ancestors grew up with.

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Aerial view of Wangayarta, December 2021

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Northern Mound reburial ceremony, December 2021

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Northern Mound reburial ceremony, December 2021

The Wangayarta Journey

In 2019, the Kaurna community seized an opportunity to turn an empty field within the Adelaide Cemeteries’ Smithfield Memorial Park into a memorial park dedicated to reburial of Kaurna ancestral remains. Supported by the Premier of South Australia’s pilot grant and working closely with the South Australian Museum and Adelaide Cemeteries the Kaurna community successfully created Wangayarta, a new type of burial place on the Adelaide Plains that is uniquely Kaurna.

Using cultural authority and community participation, the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation led development of Wangayarta.  A project Reference Group comprised of Kaurna leaders guided the project through two distinct phases, co-design and implementation. 

Coming Soon:

  • Wangayarta Repatriation History curriculum resources Years 7-10

  • Wangayarta Repatriation History curriculum resources Years 11-12


Kaurna Smithfield Memorial Park was supported as a pilot repatriation project by the Hon Steven Marshall Premier of South Australia, South Australian Museum, Adelaide Cemeteries, University of Adelaide, the State Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation agency in the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Australian Government’s Indigenous Repatriation Program through the Commonwealth Office for the Arts.  The Kaurna People led the Kaurna Smithfield pilot project and named the unique place they created, Wangayarta; for Kaurna People past, present and future.

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Coming up next


Kaurna Ancestors reburied at Wangayarta in ‘watershed’ ceremony