Who are the traditional owners of the Flinders Ranges?

The Adnyamathanha people, meaning ‘Rock People’ are the traditional custodians of the greater Ikara-Flinders area. They have lived on these lands for tens of thousands of years and have a long and continuing connection to Country.

Cultural knowledge, including creation stories and how to care for the land, is often conveyed in stories, but can also be seen in the ancient paintings and engravings on rock formations within the park.

The Adnyamathanha people have co-managed and operated the park alongside representatives of the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources since 2011.

When was the park renamed? 

Flinders Ranges National Park was renamed Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in 2016 as an act of reconciliation between the South Australian government and the Adnyamathanha people.

The word ‘Ikara’ means ‘meeting place’ in the Adnyamathanha language. It was chosen as a reflection of Wilpena Pound, a natural amphitheater of mountains and one of the park's most culturally significant sites.

What are the significant cultural sites in the Flinders Ranges? 

The park has many sites of great cultural significance to the Adnyamathanha people. Visiting these sites allows for a greater understanding of the rich history of the Adnyamathanha people and the deep connection they have to the land and waters.

Sacred Canyon

Sacred Canyon is located about 7.5 miles south-east of Wilpena. The sandstone walls of this ancient canyon are decorated with rock carvings and drawings of animal tracks, waterholes, and people that are believed to have been left there by ancestral beings during the creation period. Some of these engravings are among the oldest in the world, and touching them is prohibited.

Only appropriate Adnyamathanha community members can share the stories about Sacred Canyon, and you can only access it on a tour led by an Adnyamathanha guide.

Arkaroo Rock

Arkaroo Rock is also of huge cultural significance to the Adnyamathanha people as it depicts the Yura Muda, or creation story, of Ikara (Wilpena Pound).

As you walk around, you'll see ochre and charcoal images of animals navigating their way across the landscape, as well as a collection of waterhole and plant depictions. These engravings are believed to be over 5000 years old.

The circuit walk around Arkaroo Rock is also stunning, with great views of the walls of Wilpena Pound and the surrounding ranges.

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