THE Magpie emblem of Port Adelaide has been firmly rooted in the club’s folklore and identity for over a century, but now it represents a strong cultural bond between the club and its Aboriginal community.

A language name has been shared with the club by Karl Winda Telfer, who is a senior cultural custodian of one of the tribal family clans of the Kaurna Nation.

That language name is Kurraka – the Kaurna word for Magpie – which has been the animal emblem of Port Adelaide since the early 1900s.

The honour of having a language name given to it by one of the cultural custodians of the Adelaide Plains’ first peoples further reinforces the strong links between the club and the local Aboriginal community.

The Kaurna nation covers much of Adelaide’s metropolitan area, extending south towards Cape Jervis and north towards Port Broughton.

The ‘naming’ of the club will be formalised in a cultural naming ceremony, the timing of which is determined by the moon cycle.


Karl Telfer explains the Magpie plays an important cultural role for the Kaurna people.

“Kurraka are very important totemic birds,” Telfer told

“They carry song and ceremony for the tribal clans of the Kaurna people.

“The Port Adelaide Football Club will be participating in a cultural ceremony following the full moon cycles to strengthen that relationship later this year.

“It will be wonderful to involve the club community in this important ceremony.”

Port Adelaide becomes the first AFL club to be honoured by its local cultural group with a language name.

The club’s Aboriginal programs manager Paul Vandenbergh says the honour is an acceptance and recognition of the traditional custodians of the local region of Port Adelaide’s work in the indigenous community.

“As a club, we’re really proud to have been given this language name as it shows there’s a sense of trust and respect that’s going both ways between Port Adelaide and the Kaurna people, which is really important to us,” Vandenbergh said.

“To have the Kaurna people acknowledge the work we do to make a difference to their kids and the wider indigenous community is an honour, and encourages us to keep working hard to bring us all closer together.

“But it gives us a responsibility as well - we know that our club sits on Kaurna lands and that we have the support of the traditional custodians of the land, so we must keep doing the right thing by the community.”

SANFL Indigenous Round Guernsey