Aboriginal culture meets aviation: Kaurna heritage and RAAF Base Edinburgh

Neale Draper, Andrew Maland, Jeffrey Newchurch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Kaurna Native Title holders of the Adelaide region of South Australia have a rich heritage of mythology, oral and documented history, and an associated physical record of sacred sites, mound villages, cemeteries, and other heritage places. This cultural landscape includes the Edinburgh Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Super Base and Defence Precinct (EDP), the site of World War II munitions factories, the post-war Woomera Rocket/Weapons Testing Range, Defence Science and Technology Group, and currently also the home base of the Air Warfare Centre, No. 92 Wing’s AP-3C Orion and P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft, and other RAAF and Army units. Infrastructure development and modernisation at RAAF and the EDP involves frequent interactions with Kaurna heritage, cultural landscape and traditions. This paper describes some aspects of this relationship between the Kaurna people and one of Australia’s major defence aviation facilities, which involves modernism and machines in aviation, as well as emphasising the living memories and Kaurna cultural heritage values of this special place. This case study illustrates the many links between intangible and tangible cultural values of place, as well as the multi-layering of diverse cultural values and how these can be mediated and shared for a specific place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Kaurna
  • RAAF Edinburgh
  • Cultural heritage management
  • cultural values


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