Narungga people will welcome visitors to their country in a range of events to mark 150 years of the Point Pearce community this year, says the community’s Chairperson John Buckskin.

Events planned to mark the date include special ANZAC Memorial and Easter church services, a Debutante Ball, football and netball matches between fierce competitors Point Pearce and Koonibba and a Reconciliation Ball to finish up the year.

In 1868, the Yorke Peninsula Aboriginal Mission was created to house Aboriginal people who were displaced by growing towns and the booming copper mining industry in that part of South Australia. The decision had a devastating impact on Narungga and other Aboriginal people from the region says Mr Buckskin.

“We were more or less quarantined in a small eight square miles of our own country, where we lost our language, our identify as Aboriginal people.

“We were not allowed to speak our language, we were not allowed to practice our culture and we were more or less ‘assimilated’” he said.

The Mission has been through significant change since its creation, with the 1967 Referendum creating changes to Government policy and the lives of people living there.
“Prior to the 1967 referendum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not included as human beings, we were part of flora and fauna.

“Thanks to the white Australian vote, that gave us status as being recognised as human beings and changed the way things were run” he said.

The Mission became a community and is now managed under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act. It’s a situation that Mr Buckskin believes should change.

“Point Pearce land is the Aboriginal people’s land, but it’s still under the jurisdiction of the government under the Aboriginal Land Trust, so it is ours, but it’s not ours so to speak.

“We want the Point Pearce community, and all the other Aboriginal communities in South Australia, are aspiring to have their land back to them free of any government control” he said.

The 150th anniversary provides an opportunity for Narungga people to showcase their history and culture says Mr Buckskin.

“We are now, we’re capturing our Narungga identity, our culture, and we want to share that with our non-Aboriginal people on the York Peninsula, Australia and even internationally” he said.Full details of the 150 anniversary events will be available soon. In brief:

ANZAC Service

Coordinator of the Aboriginal Soldiers Servicemen, Mr Bill Hignett, will host an ANZAC event on Point Pearce a week after ANZAC Day.

Easter Church Service

The community will invite all dominations of Christians to visit Point Pearce for a day and share the Christian values, as well as the Aboriginal values of the dreamtime. Aboriginal Minister and Narungga man Mr Jack Harradine will host the event.

Deb Ball

The community will promote a Debutante Ball for under 12s and under 16s combined.

Football & Netball Matches

Football and netball matches between the Point Pearce Community and the Koonibba Community from the West Coast are being planned for October.

The football match recognises that “Point Pearce and Koonibba were the first two Aboriginal communities that actually kick-started the Aboriginal footie competition in South Australia”.

There will also be under 18, under 16 and under 12 netball competitions between the two communities.

Reconciliation Ball

Towards the end of the year and 150 celebrations the community is planning a Reconciliation Ball at a York Peninsula location to be confirmed.

“We want to bring the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together with a Christmas spirit and a reconciliation sprit, and the signing off on 150 years of Point Pearce celebration, and hopefully that will kick-start rebuilding bridges and moving forward for the future” said Mr Buckskin

By Lucy Kingston


SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.