Yabarra - Gathering of Light

GFG Alliance Presents
Yabarra - Gathering of Light

by Adelaide Fringe, illuminart and Yellaka
Brought to life by Novatech and Epson

In 2019, Adelaide Fringe's signature project was an immersive Kaurna storytelling experience involving large-scale light and sound artworks along the Karrawirra Parri (River Torrens). For all 31 nights of the 2019 Fringe, audiences could experience free audio and visual artworks that share Kaurna stories and illuminate the river, riverbanks and grasslands using cutting edge technology and state of the art illumination.


Photographs by Daniela Stevkovska

Yabarra – Gathering of Light

Commissioned and Co-Produced by Adelaide Fringe

Karl Telfer, Cultural and Creative Producer

Cindi Drennan, Creative Director


Burro Mandi - Animals Alive
Song, sound and light will bring life to the animals who once lived freely along Karrawirra Parri, the River Torrens. All of the animals hold a deep cultural and spiritual connection with the river and water, listen for the sound of their heartbeats and pause for a moment to hear their songs as they share stories.

Inflatable artworks integrated into this experience are presented courtesy of Evelyn Roth Arts.

1A – Narkirra Platypus
1B - Kadli Dingo
1C – Yura Snake
1D - Marti Bilby
​1E – Kutpiatta Echidna
1F - Marti Quoll

2 - Karra Kattendi - Breath Trees
These trees are the cultural reflections of the coming generations understanding of today. They hold ancestral story which speaks of the natural world and a time when the First People’s connection to the land was clear, strong and vibrant.

If you walk around the family of trees you will see the relationships of their world, and their connection to cultural ways of understanding as the first peoples of the land, sea and sky country.

This is where the breathing landscape meets the harsh cityscape.

Visual artwork integrated into the Breath Trees are presented with permission of the individual artists; Carly Dodd, Christine Tschuna, Fah Fah Walsh, Tony Wilson, Ashley Pompey (Jnr), Bailey Gibb, Cooper Miller, Daqwan Saunders, Henry Reid, Sabrina Burgoyne.

Karra Mukabandi -
Memory Trees
Trees hold the memories of time; the historians of humanity. They hold a cultural timeline of ceremony and connection to the land which is sacred. Pause in memory with the trees. There is a message you will receive from each of them.

3A - Mullabakka Karra - Shield Tree
The Mullabakka, Barkshield, of the Mullawirrameyu, Dry Forest Men, is a significant Lore totem and was used to defend tribal country and families, especially the women and children.

If unannounced tribes came into a tribal area they would use the Mullabakka, Shield and Uwinda, Spear to defend their tribal clan, country and culture.

3B - Kurru Kauwe - Water Vessel
This important implement used by the woman for gathering foods, carrying water, digging out water holes and edible roots from the country.

3C - Yaitya Makkitura - Moving Image
If you look closely at the bark, this Memory Tree will share images of light, history and place.

3D - Pundonya - Goanna
The Goanna was a very significant animal, they used to be giants and very poisonous, ruling the cultural landscape.

3E - Karla Towilla Spirit Fire
The people would gather upon every cycle of the Full Moon for ceremony. Fire was at the centre of these ceremonies which were held just after sunset when the moon began to rise.

3F - Tainga - Tracks
The traces and tracks on this tree are of all the animals who once lived by the river amongst the Old Redgums, not too long ago.

4 - Karlto Ngaiere – Karlto Yerta - Living Sky – Living Earth
For creation, all elements of life must co-exist together in one circle. Earth, Wind, Water and Fire spin the web of the natural world.

Sit in the circle, look to the ground as knowledge is shared from the oldest continuing culture on this planet.

Ancient knowledge begins to unfold.

5 - Karra TowillaSpirit Trees
Every tree shares life from leaf to branch and bark to roots. Trees are the connectors between the Water, Land and Sky Countries. They are the Old People guiding the generations through their deep wisdom. Look to the trees, listen to the trees, bloodlines to country live through them.

6 - Tikkandi, Nukkondi, Yurringarnendi - Sit, look, listen
Come sit together and observe the seasons through symbols as they flow in light across the ground. To see is to learn and to listen is to know, but you may have to sit with patience and wait a moment for the teachings to be shared. You may want to ask friends to join you.

7 - Munaintya Murra - Dreaming Hands
Come add your story through the touch of your hand.

You can do this by yourself or with a friend, and watch as your Dreaming Hands come to life in this interactive projection artwork. Become a part of creation.

8 - Tangkuinyendi Yabarra - Dreaming Light
This Dreaming story was devised by Senior Dry Forest Man (Kaurna) Karl Winda Telfer, who brought the Dreaming to light with the Elders and young people through his knowledge of country and cultural practice. This unique collaboration with illuminart is a new way to share story.

Tangkuinyendi Yabarra combines dance and ritual with animation and illustration, to share and renew ancient Mullawirraburka tribal custom, cultural practice and living culture.

This important to South Australia’s living heritage, and celebrates the creativity and determination of the First Peoples.

9 - Kauwemela - Mist Rain
Water and light combine to share stories and reflections through time.

Karrawirra Parri, The River Torrens, is why the City of Adelaide sits here today.

This river is a song of fresh water. Song, sound and moving image tells the story of how the men, women, animals and river once lived together in harmony a long time ago.

10 - Karra Karra – WommaAbove and Below
Everything in nature is connected, the land, sea and sky countries are all one. The river is a reflection of the Milky Way above.

Listen to the sounds and look around you, can see where they are coming from?

How do you know?

11 - Karrarendi Meyunna - Schulz Building
If you look to the south you will see the people of now and of the past looking down over the gathering place of Yabarra. The proud spirit custodians are looking over their country, there are men, women, and the symbols of the living culture which maintained a peaceful existence. They share knowledge through cultural ways of understanding. They are the Culture Bearers.

12 - Perkendi Tappa - Immersive Sound Walk
Listen to the sounds of the ever-changing landscape. The seasonal sounds of nature and culture will guide your movements through the six seasons of time. Thought, felt through natural songs of the land.

Our Partners

Presenting Partner

Program Partners

City of Adelaide University of Adelaide Fisher Jeffries

Brought to life by our Partners

     novatech            EPSON     

Header Image
Karl 'Winda' Telfer, 
Senior Kaurna Custodian of Ceremony
Jack Fenby, Photographer