Important Community Notice

May 18, 2023

The following post contains information regarding recently deceased Elders of the Kowanyama Community. We understand that this news may be sensitive and emotionally challenging for Community Members.

It is with our deepest sympathies that we inform our beloved Kowanyama Community of a serious oversight which has been reported to us regarding the funeral arrangements of the Late Mr. Harold Banjo and the Late Mr. John Broome.

We have sadly been informed by the funeral director that due to a serious oversight, we believe that the Late Mr. Banjo was mistakenly buried at the Kowanyama Cemetery in a grave prepared for the Late Mr. Broome, rather than in Normanton as directed by his family. At present, Mr Broome’s remains are still in the care of a funeral home in Cairns, awaiting appropriate arrangements.

Council is actively working with the funeral director to quickly rectify this error. Our primary objective is to ensure that both gentlemen are honoured and interred in their designate resting places, as intended by their families. Consequently, this will involve the respectful exhumation of the Late Mr. Banjo over the coming week. Following this, his funerial and reburial in Normanton will take place in the ensuing weeks.

We are deeply aware of the distress and anguish this news will undoubtedly cause within the Kowanyama and Normanton communities. As a result, we have made available complimentary support services through Apunipima, to assist any Community Members in need during this extraordinarily difficult time. Furthermore, Council also stands ready to address any requests for assistance from the Community.

At this challenging juncture, our focus remains on ensuring that both gentlemen are laid to rest with the utmost dignity, in accordance with their families’ wishes, while offering unwavering support to their loved ones. We wish to emphasize that the Council will vigorously pursue further inquiries with the funeral director in the weeks and months ahead, striving to prevent such incidents from occurring again.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the grieving families during this unprecedented event. We humbly implore the Community to come together once more, providing steadfast support to one another in this time of great need.

– Mayor Robbie Sands