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Wellington Square, North Adelaide facts for kids

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Wellington Square
OIC n adelaide wellington square.jpg
Type Square
Location North Adelaide, South Australia
Created 1837 (1837)

Wellington Square, also known as Kudnartu (and formerly Kudnarto), is a public square in the Adelaide suburb of North Adelaide, South Australia, in the City of Adelaide. It is roughly at the centre of the largest of the three grids which comprise North Adelaide.

It is one of six squares designed by the founder of Adelaide, Colonel William Light, who was Surveyor-General at the time, in his 1837 plan of the Adelaide city centre and North Adelaide. The square was named in 1837 by the Street Naming Committee after the Duke of Wellington, and in 2003 assigned a second name in the language of the original inhabitants, Kaurna, Kudnartu, as part of the dual naming initiative by the Adelaide City Council. Kudnartu was a Kaurna woman from the Clare District. Hers was the first official Aboriginal/settler marriage in South Australia.


Pre-colonial history

The Adelaide area was inhabited long before European settlement in 1836 by one of the tribes which later came to be known as the Kaurna people, or Adelaide tribe.

As Wellington Square

The square was named on 23 May 1837 after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Irish-born field marshal and statesman, victor at Waterloo and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1828 to 1830, who is credited with securing the passage of the South Australia Foundation Act through the British House of Lords in 1834. Colonel Light, first Surveyor-General of South Australia and a member of the Street Naming Committee, had briefly served under Wellington as a junior staff officer, a Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG), during the Peninsular War. Light's 1837 plan of Adelaide included Wellington Square.

Dual naming

In March 2003, as part of the City of Adelaide's dual naming project in association with the University of Adelaide, the square was assigned the name "Kudnartu", to commemorate a Kaurna woman from the Clare District (Crystal Brook area) called Kudnartu, also spelt Kudnarto, who married a settler, a shepherd named Tom Adams, in January 1848 at the Registry Office in Waymouth Street. This was the first recorded official Aboriginal/settler marriage in South Australia.

The name Kudnarto/Kudnarto means "third born if female". Also known as Mary Ann Adams, Kurdnatu had attended the "Native Establishment School" (later re-purposed as the Destitute Asylum) in Kintore Avenue, Adelaide, to learn "the arts of domestic life and household duties", and subsequently taught the illiterate Adams to write. They had two sons, Tom (born 1849) and Tim (1852), but they and their father were left destitute after Kudnartu's death at about 23 years old, around 1855, after land allocated to Kudnarto was repossessed by the government. Kudnarto still has ancestors alive today.


Wellington Square is one of only two of Light's six squares, Whitmore Square being the other one, which still retain the original configuration, neither having been dissected by roads like the others. The square has jacaranda trees, roses, and cherry trees, and the walking trail around the perimeter is about 700 metres (770 yd).

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