Welcome to "Pirlta Wardli", the "House of the Possum" ...  »

Welcome to "Pirlta Wardli", the "House of the Possum" ...

... in the language of the First Australian People on what is now called the Adelaide Plains, the Kaurna Nation.

Please be aware,
this website is
in an early stage
of development and
an ongoing project!

At this location some of the first of many encounters and dialogues happened between the local Aboriginal people, missionaries from Germany, and the colonial "Aboriginal Protector".  It was here where the Aborigines taught the newcomers their language and pieces and bits of their culture.  At this place Aboriginal Elders and the German missionaries established a school for Aboriginal children to teach for the first time in Australia in the local vernacular.  And after having been taught the language by Kaurna people, it was here where the missionaries began to create a legacy of high significance today by drafting a comprehensive word list (dictionary) and grammar, again in use today.  The ability to communicate with each other respectfully allows today's Kaurna People to reclaim and teach again their Language.

The "Pirltawardli"-Website will try to tell this story by bringing together in a more systematic form pieces and bits of information surrounding this story.  At the time of writing (November 2014) this Website is still in an early stage of development.

Background  »


Just over two years after the official proclamation of what is now South Australia, at the end of October 1838, the first two of eventually four German Lutheran missionaries arrived at the shores of the infant British colony. Clamor Schurmann (1815-1893) and Gottlob Teichelmann (1807-1888) set immediately out to learn the language of the local Aboriginal people, the "Adelaide tribe" as they were then called.

Use of this Website  »

As mentioned, this website will serve as a research notebook. I intend to collect in some organised manner information of all sorts and accessible from different places regarding the wider story of the encounter between the Aboriginal peoples in South Australia and the four German Lutheran missionaries.

At the time of writing (November 2014), this Website is still under construction and will remain so for some time to come.  I am in the process of including texts and documents that I have produced in the past and will then work more systematically at individual sections.  This website will also include "other topics" marginally related to my core research.

About the author and editor  »

About the author and editor

As the author of this research website, I am a German who arrived in South Australia in October 2006. After a previous professional involvement in inter-cultural and ecumenical community education programs with the Protestant Church in Germany, I got interested in the story of the Dresden missionaries in particular because of their sensitive relationship with the Aboriginal communities at  their times and the outcome of their work in the successful Aboriginal language revival program since the early 1990s.

For reference:

Gerhard Rüdiger. Welcome, in: Pirltawardli Research Website, Adelaide 2023.
Direct URL: <grweb.org/cpo-pirltawardli/en/index.php?rubric=welcome>. Viewed 28.01.2023.