Discover Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park from a new perspective

Discover Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park from a new perspective

Learn about the cul­tur­al his­to­ry of this icon­ic site from Adnya­math­anha man Alan Har­bour. Here are his insights.

Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park in South Australia’s north might be known as an amaz­ing place for breath­tak­ing bushwalks.

But accord­ing to tra­di­tion­al cus­to­di­ans – the Adnya­math­anha peo­ple (mean­ing hills or rock peo­ple) – it’s best known to them as an impor­tant meet­ing place for cer­e­mo­ny and shar­ing stories.

Read on as the park’s Ranger-In-Charge, Alan Har­bour, shares his cul­tur­al knowl­edge of Ikara (Wilpe­na Pound) as a proud Adnya­math­anha man.

What do the sacred sites of Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park mean to Adnya­math­anha people?

They are real­ly impor­tant. They are places of our his­to­ry, and they are part of the big­ger pic­ture sto­ry of us and our Country.

The sites that most peo­ple think of as spe­cial or sacred are the tan­gi­ble sites such as art sites, and so on.

These are impor­tant to pro­tect, but there are also the intan­gi­ble sites linked to impor­tant sto­ries that are just as impor­tant, if not more so. 

If one of these sites is dam­aged, then that link in our sto­ry lines can be bro­ken. Even the art sites.

While it is impor­tant to pro­tect what has been left behind, the mean­ing behind the art must be kept as well. 

The art was done to tell a sto­ry, or to assist in telling that sto­ry. That sto­ry is the real­ly impor­tant part.

What is one thing that most vis­i­tors wouldn’t know about Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park?

Every­one knows about the stun­ning, rugged scenery that the park is famous for. Not every­one is famil­iar with the Adnya­math­anha sto­ries of Cre­ation that tell us about how the land­scape came to be what it is today. 

Vis­i­tors to the park can learn about these sto­ries if they spend time with Adnya­math­anha tour guides, our Adnya­math­anha Rangers.

You can learn about the sim­i­lar­i­ties between some of our sto­ries and west­ern science. 

One exam­ple is that geol­o­gy shows the area was once cov­ered in water. The bible talks about a big flood, and we also have a sto­ry about a flood, which tells of the Artun­yi (Palei­des or Sev­en Sis­ters) being swal­lowed by Arkurra.

Accord­ing to Adnya­math­anha peo­ple, what is Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park most known for?

Ikara (Wilpe­na Pound) is known world­wide as an amaz­ing nat­ur­al land­mark. But for Adnya­math­anha peo­ple, it is also a key land­mark that forms our sto­ries and is an impor­tant meet­ing place for ceremony.

Ikara is just one land­mark described in sto­ries about the Coun­try, but it is also linked through sto­ries to oth­er land­marks that are just as well-known and impor­tant to Adnya­math­anha people.

The Dream­ing jour­ney of Yurlu the old king­fish­er man to Ikara (Wilpe­na Pound) is an extreme­ly impor­tant part of Adnya­math­anha culture.

How would you describe your cul­tur­al con­nec­tion to this Coun­try? How impor­tant is it for Adnya­math­anha peo­ple to keep this con­nec­tion alive?

My fam­i­ly have lived around here for many gen­er­a­tions. This place is impor­tant to me through my fam­i­ly con­nec­tions here. 

I have a real­ly strong con­nec­tion to the west­ern side around Nilpe­na, Edi­acara, Beltana, and North Moolooloo areas as Kuyani Country. 

My fam­i­ly have lived and also worked on the sta­tions men­tioned above, as well as at Blin­man and Wilpe­na for generations.

What can vis­i­tors do to help pro­tect the cul­tur­al her­itage of Ikara-Flinders Ranges Nation­al Park?

Come to the park and immerse your­self in the sto­ries that Adnya­math­anha guid­ed tours offer. 

Take in as much cul­tur­al infor­ma­tion as pos­si­ble from peo­ple, inter­pre­tive signs, art sites, and respect it.

Also ensure you keep vehi­cles on des­ig­nat­ed roads and tracks so as to not dam­age arte­facts or chop up the Coun­try and cause ero­sion issues.

Adnya­math­anha-led tours are avail­able to vis­i­tors from the Wilpe­na Pound Resort and pro­vide the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn about the land­scape and bio-diver­si­ty from the per­spec­tive of the Adnya­math­anha people.

If you’re inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about the cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance of South Australia’s nation­al parks, you might also like to read our sto­ries:10 South Aus­tralian nation­al parks with names derived from Abo­rig­i­nal lan­guagesand5 nation­al parks in South Aus­tralia that are rich in Abo­rig­i­nal cul­tur­al her­itage.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living