Kaltjiti is an Aboriginal community in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in South Australia, comprising one of the six main communities on “The Lands” (the others being Amata, Ernabella/ Pukatja, Pipalyatjara, Indulkana and Mimili).
Kaltjiti is situated approximately 45 kilometres south of the Musgrave Ranges and lies west of the Everard Ranges. Kaltjiti is also situated approximately 137 kilometres from Stuart Highway. Kaltjiti lies directly south of Umuwa and Ernabella/ Pukatja.The community straddles the Officer Creek, which in turn flows from South Australia’s highest mountain, Mt Woodroffe. The creek is usually a dry sandy bed and only flows at times of very high rainfall.
Based on the climate records from Marla, Kaltjiti experiences summer maximum temperatures of an average of 37.1 degrees celsius in January and a winter maximum average temperature of 19.7 degrees celsius in June. Overnight lows range from a mean minimum temperature of 21.8 degrees in January to 5.0 degrees in June.
Annual rainfall averages 222.6 millimetres. Kaltjiti’s population is approximately 350 people. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 1999 Yearbook indicated population counts of 268 (in 1986), 310 (1991) and 299 (1996).
The first recording by non-indigenous Australians of a community at Kaltjiti was by Ernest Giles. In September 1873 during his second trip into the South Australian interior, he and another party member, William Tietkens, encountered 200 male Aborigines. The Europeans fired shots, allegedly in retaliation for the throwing of spears. The Europeans escaped unharmed – there is no mention of Aboriginal casualties. Giles later acknowledged that Aboriginal aggression was usually due to white trespass on black land. Giles named the river where this occurred “The Officer”, by which it was known until the 1930s when it was renamed Officer Creek.