Next time you visit the western end of Adelaide’s River Torrens / Karrawirra Pari, take some time to check out the 9 new Kaurna artworks that are dotted along the riverbank.

The sculptures, created by Kaurna artist Allan Sumner and his team, are part of the redevelopment of Breakout Creek / Purruna Pari, to give visitors the opportunity to reflect on Aboriginal history relevant to the area.

From the nearly 3.5 m tall ibis feather, to the almost 800 kg lamprey, the sculptures are an impressive addition to the riverbank and definitely worth exploring.

Here’s our suggested route to take to see them all on your next visit:


Park your car near the new Kaurna Reflection Space just off of Military Road at Henley Beach South, and take some time to look underfoot at the coloured paths that make up the Kaurna Shield.

Stop 1

Before you make your way up the stairs to the riverbank, you’ll pass directly through the Whale Bones sculpture.

The tallest of the bones are a whopping 5 m high, while the shortest still measure 3.5 m.

Whale Bones (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 2

You don’t have to go far to see another of the sculptures. Head up the stairs and look to your right – you really can’t miss the 6.6 m Ngudlitidli nuinpi (native pouched lamprey).

This sculpture was carefully constructed using steel mesh, glass fibre reinforced concrete and a render coat. Get up-close and check out the detail of its teeth and those magnificent fins!

Lamprey (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 3

Walk along the Linear Path away from the beach and a few hundred metres away you’ll see the Ibis Feather perched along the riverbank.

Its striking black-and-white colour and its sheer height mean you really can’t miss this one.

Ibis Feather (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 4

Venture further along the path and just as you get to the picnic shelter near the Benham Place stairs you’ll see the 7 mounds of the Shellfish Midden.

These intricate sculptures are representative of the remains of shellfish that were once gathered and eaten by the Kaurna people that lived in this area.

Shellfish Middens (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 5

The next masterpiece you’ll come across is the Painted Story Poles sculpture, next to the picnic shelter at the north end of the footbridge.

Check out the unique, vibrant markings on each of the 3 story poles.

Painted Story Poles (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 6

Just before you get to Tapleys Hill Road – the easternmost section of the redevelopment precinct – you’ll see the Knobby Club Rushes sculpture.

It certainly is a spectacular super-sized representation of this native sedge! Knobby club rushes (Ficinia nodosa) have been used by Kaurna people for weaving baskets.

Knobby Club Rushes (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 7

You need to head across the river now and you’ll soon see the impressive Hand and Club sculpture.

This sculpture was modelled on a real-life 'wirri' – the Kaurna word for ‘club’ – that the artist, Allan Sumner, carved himself.

Hand and Club (Image: Sam Oster)

Stop 8

Keep walking beachward and you’ll see the Story Log sculpture just before you get to the southern wetland.

The sculptors have carved waves evoking the sea and the wind-swept sand dunes into this beautiful piece of gum tree.

Story Log (image: Sam Oster)

Stop 9

The last of the artworks is the Bird Poles sculpture, at the south end of the footbridge.

Each of the poles has a beautifully sculpted bird on top, to highlight some of the species that call this area of the river home.

Bird Poles (Image: Sam Oster)

About the artworks

These artworks were carefully created off-site, and were craned into position and secured at Breakout Creek / Purruna Pari in late March.

Now that they’re in place, we’ll be looking to share more about their creation so that visitors can learn more about the cultural significance of these pieces. Stay tuned!

Find out more about the redevelopment of Breakout Creek / Purruna Pari on our project page, including how it has been transformed from an artificial channel back to a more natural waterway.

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