The Coongie Lakes and associated wetlands are a spiritual site for Aboriginal people and was once crucial to the maintenance of the Indigenous populations due to the availability of resources, particularly following flood events.
The Yandruwandha and Yawarrawarrka people have lived in this region for thousands of years, taking advantage of the prolific birdlife and seasonal wildlife. The groups retain a strong interest and presence in the area.
Words from the Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka Parks Advisory Committee
Our people lived and thrived around the Coongie Lakes area for many generations before European explorers and pastoralists arrived in the 1800s. Despite loss of country, our culture was not lost; we kept our language and stories, and handed them on.
We are keen to protect the land and share our stories and culture with neighbouring communities and visitors. The Malkumba–Coongie Lakes National Park Management Plan (2014) identifies three zones within the park – Heritage and Conservation Zone; Living and Camping Zone; and Fishing Zone – to allow our community members to carry out traditional activities today. We have also improved interpretative signs and are finalising a cultural heritage plan.
Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state.
Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.