Point Pearce
South Australia
Point Pearce is located in Yorke Peninsula Council
Point Pearce
Point Pearce
Coordinates34°25′01″S 137°30′07″E / 34.41694°S 137.50194°E / -34.41694; 137.50194Coordinates: 34°25′01″S 137°30′07″E / 34.41694°S 137.50194°E / -34.41694; 137.50194
Population91 (2016 census)[1]
LGA(s)Yorke Peninsula Council
State electorate(s)Narungga[3]
Federal division(s)Grey

Point Pearce, also spelt Point Pierce in the past, is a town in the Australian state of South Australia. The town is located in the Yorke Peninsula Council local government area, 194 kilometres (121 mi) north-west of the state capital, Adelaide. At the 2016 census, Point Pearce had a population of 91.

It is known for the mission established for Aboriginal people in the late nineteenth century. The location was originally known as Bookooyanna by the local Narungga people, usually spelt Bukkiyana in modern sources.

Established as Point Pearce Mission Station in 1868, it became the Point Pearce Aboriginal Station after it was taken over by the state government in 1915, as an Aboriginal reserve. In 1972, ownership was transferred to the Point Pearce Community Council under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1966.


Also known as Point Pierce, it was one of several missions established in South Australia in the late 19th century, which included Poonindie (1850), Point McLeay (Raukkan, 1850), Killalpaninna (1866) and Koonibba (1898). Some of these missions were the basis for Aboriginal communities which persist until the present; they were among the few places in the southern part of South Australia where dispossessed and displaced Aboriginal people were welcomed, even if the primary aim was Christian evangelism.[4]

Soon after the establishment of Adelaide in 1836, settler had begun moving into Yorke Peninsula. The British concepts of property ownership were incompatible with the Narunggas' nomadic lifestyle, resulting in the gradual displacement of the Aboriginal population. In 1868, the Point Pearce Aboriginal Mission was established by the Moravian missionary Reverend W. Julius Kuhn.[2]

A site of 600 acres (240 ha) for a settlement was granted on 2 February 1868 at a place known as Bookooyanna (spelt Bukkiyana in modern sources[5][6]), about 70 kilometres (43 mi) south of Kadina.[7] The Point Pearce Mission Station, run by the Yorke Peninsula Aboriginal Mission committee, initially attracted 70 Narrungga residents. Poor conditions and illness led to consequent deaths, and by 1874 only 28 remained.[8]

In 1874 the reserve was extended by another 12 square miles (31 km2), and including Wardang Island.[7] By 1878, the mission was largely self-sufficient[2] from its wool and wheat income.

In 1894, families from the closed Poonindie Mission were moved to Point Pearce. The mission operated a school, with a separate school house built in 1906.[8] Many children of mixed European and Chinese descent were among the 31 pupils who enrolled.[7]

During World War I, men from Point McLeay and Point Pearce were among the first Aboriginal men in the state to enlist.[7]

As a result of the Royal Commission on the Aborigines[9][10][11] on 1913,[7] the South Australian government took over management of the mission in 1915 and it became known as the Point Pearce Aboriginal Station, an Aboriginal reserve.[4] Included in the recommendations was that the government become the legal guardian of all Aboriginal children upon reaching their 10th birthday, and place them "where they deem best".[9] Seven years after the final report of the commission, the Aborigines (Training of Children) Act 1923, in order to allow Indigenous children to be "trained" in a special institution so that they could go out and work.[11]

The institution is named in the Bringing Them Home report, as one which housed Indigenous children forcibly removed from their parents and thus creating the Stolen Generations.[11]

In 1972, ownership was transferred to the Point Pearce Community Council under the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1966.[8]

Many of the buildings remain today.[2]

Location and facilities

Point Pearce is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north along the coast from Port Victoria, and along with Wardang Island, provides shelter for the small fishing and recreational port.


See also

Other 19th century Aboriginal missions in SA


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Point Pearce (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 June 2016. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c d "Yorke Peninsula". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011.
  3. ^ Narungga (Map). Electoral District Boundaries Commission. 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b Brock, Peggy (3 June 2015). "Aboriginal Missions". SA History Hub. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  5. ^ Hall, Lee-Anne. "Sitting down in the square: Indigenous presence in an Australian city". Humanities Research. 11 (1): 54–77. eISSN 1834-8491. Retrieved 20 November 2020. Another PDF
  6. ^ Amery, Rob (2016). Warraparna Kaurna!: Reclaiming an Australian language (PDF). University of Adelaide Press. p. 12. doi:10.20851/kaurna. ISBN 978-1-925261-25-7.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Yorke Peninsula (Point Pearce) (1867-1915)". German Missionaries in Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  8. ^ a b c "Point Pearce Mission Station (1868 - 1915)". Find & Connect. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Royal Commission on the Aborigines (1913 - 1916)". Find & Connect. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Royal Commission on the Aborigines" (PDF). South Australia. Government Printer. 1913. Retrieved 18 February 2020. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ a b c "Chapter 8 South Australia". Bringing Them Home. 1995. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  12. ^ E M Fisher (2007). Australian Dictionary of Biography: Elphick, Gladys (1904–1988). Melbourne University Press. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Natasha Wanganeen". Deadly Vibe. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2019.

Further reading