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Oaklands Wetland's Aboriginal Connections

Home > Adelaide > Family | Free | Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Parks
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia. https://www.facebook.com/paula.mcmanus1
Published July 24th 2021
SA Kaurna Country
The Oaklands Wetlands is a fantastic community space, made even better after a massive upgrade was done in 2019 by the City of Marion.

Oaklands Reserve scar trees
Oaklands Reserve scar tree (©paula mcmanus)


The Wetlands has 2 kilometres of winding paths, which takes visitors around manmade lakes and through natural bushland and nature play areas. There's a pleasant balance between nature and new which includes a skate park, playgrounds, education centre and rotunda.

During the upgrade, more than 85,000 plants were added. These have created a home for countless different birds, insects and fish.

Oaklands Reserve scar trees
Oaklands Reserve scar tree (©paula mcmanus)


A friend messaged me about some Aboriginal scar trees that she saw within the park, which immediately piqued my interest. Once I started looking, they were easily found. I asked another friend who is a keen tree lover; his opinion was that some of the markings were fairly recent with some others done approximately 30 years ago. They were most probably deliberately done so as to demonstrate the link between the modern wetlands and our indigenous past.

oaklands reserve kaurna history
Oaklands Reserve Kaurna history (©paula mcmanus)


Scar trees have important archaeological significance. Scarred trees are trees which have had bark removed by indigenous Australians, for use in the making of canoes, shields, shelters, and containers (such as coolamons). They are among the easiest to find archaeological sites in Australia. Australian native Eucalypt species such as box and red gum were most commonly used (from nla.gov.au)

Oaklands Reserve scar trees
Oaklands Reserve scar tree (©paula mcmanus)


As well as the trees with shield markings, there are cultural carvings of animals and Dreamtime stories. There is an information board that is worth reading. The text 'Purdi Pari' tells of "this place of beginnings where freshwater springs give forth to wetlands is where the trees carry the marks of the time before". This info is found at the beginning of the walking path at the end of the rear carpark.

oaklands reserve kaurna history
Oaklands Reserve Kaurna history (©paula mcmanus)


Apart from that one signage board on a tree, there isn't a lot of information posted within the park about the trees or the carvings, but they are intriguing and definitely worth a visit to view. Do you know anything more to add to this story? Please share in the comments below!

Take the family for a visit. How many 'scar' trees can you find?

oaklands reserve kaurna history
Oaklands Reserve Kaurna history (©paula mcmanus)


Oaklands Wetland is located at 237-265 Oaklands Road in Oaklands Park. The park is adjacent to the Warradale Army Barracks and across the road from the Marion Outdoor Pool. There are barbecues, shelter, picnic tables, drinking water, toilets and plenty of room for everyone to roam. It's a safe and free spot to take the family to.

Oaklands Reserve scar trees
Oaklands Reserve scar tree (©paula mcmanus)
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Why? Where the trees carry the marks of the time before
Where: Oaklands Wetlands, Oaklands Road, Oaklands Park
Cost: Free
Your Comment
The photographs are wonderful.
by Jeremy Bryce (score: 2|164) 62 days ago
Great photos, Paula!
by Lorraine Day (score: 1|52) 64 days ago
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