Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Mukapaanthi Monument

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council about the Mukapaanthi monument that he recently opened at the intersection of Goodwood/Springbank/Daws roads?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:57): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area and his almost spot-on pronunciation of the Kaurna word. In December, I had the opportunity to officially open the Mukapaanthi monument in Panorama as part of works to upgrade the intersection of Goodwood/Springbank/Daws roads. Mukapaanthi is the Kaurna word for 'remember', and the monument itself recognises the contribution of Aboriginal veterans.

As I have mentioned in this place before, Aboriginal people have served in every conflict that Australia has participated in, laying down their lives for their country. More than 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people served in World War I and more than 4,000 in World War II, but too often their contributions have been downplayed and overlooked, both in the past and continuing to this day.

I am pleased that the South Australian government, through the Department for Infrastructure and Transport, is doing practical work to recognise the contribution of Aboriginal veterans and to build a lasting monument to their service and sacrifice. Importantly, this is a highly visible monument at a busy intersection in Adelaide.

The monument comprises a ceremonial flame and three figures: a traditional Kaurna warrior, a soldier representing those who have served in the first and second world wars, and a modern-day soldier. The word 'Mukapaanthi' is displayed in front of the artwork and behind it are both the Australian and Aboriginal flags. Surrounding the artwork are native plantings and landscapings in the shape of the Kaurna shield, and many parts of that landscaping come from Kaurna country.

The Kaurna community was closely involved in the design of this monument, particularly artist Tania Taylor. The Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation and Aboriginal Veterans SA were both involved in work on this project, alongside the Department for Infrastructure and Transport and the local council, the City of Mitcham.

It was particularly significant that personnel from the Australian Defence Force were present on the day for the unveiling of the monument and, as I mentioned earlier, it was a fitting recognition of the service and sacrifice that Aboriginal people paid during times of war. It is pleasing to see a changing recognition within the Defence Force as well as in the wider community for this sacrifice.

I would like to acknowledge the Mayor of the Mitcham council, Heather Holmes-Ross, who was there on the day, and also the federal member for Boothby, Louise Miller-Frost. I know the member for Boothby is a staunch advocate for her community and Aboriginal affairs and reconciliation generally. I should also mention the member for Elder in the other place in this parliament, Nadia Clancy, who has a long association with advocating for the upgrade of the intersection and the local area generally, as well as a longstanding interest in recognising and respecting Aboriginal people's contribution.

I hope when people are driving past, as I often do a number of times a week, that intersection on Goodwood Road, that they look at the striking piece of artwork, take the opportunity to reflect on the contributions of Aboriginal veterans, in another way doing the practical work of reconciliation in people's everyday lives.