The Gorgeous Festival site in McLaren Vale is on Kaurna land and as such we wish to pay respect to the original owners of the land both at our festival and on our web site.


Gorgeous festival is committed to opening our festival with a Kaurna Welcome to Country that will be conducted by local Kaurna Elder David Copley.


Gorgeous Festival is also committed to using both the current name of McLaren Vale and alongside that the Kaurna name, Taringga.


Please find below information about the Kaurna Name for the McLaren Vale provided courtesy of Kaurna Warra Pintyandi.




The short answer is that for the general area of ‘McLaren’s Vale’ (i.e. valley of Pedler’s Creek around the town) the Kaurna name can be spelled either Taringga (= Daringga) or Tarrangga (= Darrangga).


The 1st syllable must be stressed (contrary to usual English habit);

a as in Maori ‘haka’, not as in ‘cat’;

ngga as in ‘finger’.

T = D, & we are unsure what the 2nd vowel is (unstressed).

We don’t know what the name means, if anything.

There is also a name Turrangga for the particular area which was once a billabong & intermittent swamp at the eastern end of the town. This might mean ‘place of shadow or reflection’.




There are four reliably attested early spellings for  place-names associated with the valley of Pedler’s Creek in the immediate vicinity of the town which is now called ‘McLaren Vale’ –
i.e. the area which was called ‘McLaren’s Vale’ in early times.


1. ‘Tarranga’, the spelling recorded for James McLeod’s first property in 1840, on several sections a little north of Pedler’s Creek, north & south of Chalk Hill Road.


2. ‘Daringa’, the spelling recorded for William Colton’s 1840 homestead (still standing on Section 147 on the main road towards McLaren Flat); & also the name attached to the valley generally in the 1840s; & later to ‘Daringa Swamp’ (which was at today’s oval & north & east of it, & long since drained & reclaimed).


It was also published under Colton’s name as ‘Doringo Valley’, but in the light of his homestead name & other early records this is almost certainly a misreading of his handwriting (‘a’ being twice mistaken for ‘o’).


3. ‘Tu-run-ga’, the spelling recorded in 1839 by surveyor Louis Piesse for Section 477 (which was then occupied by the eastern part of Daringa Swamp).


4. “Doo-ronga (place of birds & eggs), The swan, the duck, & goose”, as recorded by Faith Emily Lockwood, daughter of CT Hewett of McLaren Vale, under the pseudonym ‘A Native’ in 1893, from her memories of McLaren Vale in her teens, when her family was in frequent contact with Aboriginal people in the 1840s.


Also occurs as “Myallinna Dooronga: McLaren Vale”, as recorded by Cockburn 1908, probably from surveyor CH Harris who would have got it from other settlers (?Faith Lockwood?) rather than Kaurna informants.


No explanation suggests itself to us yet for ‘Myallinna’.


All of these must be pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, not on the second as in habitual English. This means that we are much more sure of the first vowels than the others which are unstressed & could easily have been mistaken.
So these spellings probably come from only two original Kaurna names:


(a) from 1 & 2, a word beginning Tar‑ (= Dar‑), which could be either Tar-angga or Tar-ingga, but probably not Tar-ungga; applied by the Kaurna to the valley in general.
We have a possible meaning ‘string, girdle, handle, net’ if it was tarra, but none for tari. But then a name doesn’t necessarily have a meaning.
McLeod’s farm name was probably taken from an independent spelling of the valley name, as was Colton’s ‘Daringa’. We know that there was a different Kaurna name for a water site on McLeod’s property, ‘Cow-e-o-longa’.


(b) from 3 & 4, another beginning Tu‑ (= Du‑), which was probably Turrangga, & was applied specifically to the swamp area at the east of the town. This possibly means ‘place of shadow or reflection’.
KWP has revived Turrangga already with the Geographical Names Unit, & has also used it in naming the creek through Wirrawirra Winery as Turra-parri (= ‘Turra Creek’).


No possible derivations of any of these can mean ‘swampy’ or anything like it. This is the common mistake which assumes that a description or association of a place is the semantic meaning of its name.


In the 20th century Tindale had (as usual) many ideas about some of these names. His respelling ‘Taringga’ is fine, but it is doubtful whether the derivations on his cards have any source outside his own speculation; except perhaps ‘Tarangk: McLaren Vale: middle place’, which got wide circulation through his colleague HM Cooper’s wordlists published by the SA Museum 1949-69. ‘Tarangk’ is a Ngarrindjeri form which may have originated with Tindale’s informant Albert Karlowan, who was Ngarrindjeri & often did Ngarrindjeri ‘takes’ on Kaurna place-names; most of them make little linguistic sense & tell us nothing about the Kaurna original.


Further information can be found at;