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Our Community

Watch an induction video about our community and environment, including information on Kowanyama cultural protocols.


Our history

In 1905, Trubanamen Mission was established inland on Topsy Creek, now known as the old mission. Aboriginal peoples of the region were gradually drawn from their ancestral lands into the mission settlement.

Later, in 1916, Mitchell River Mission was founded on the present site of Kowanyama and the Trubanamen site abandoned. Some peoples continued to occupy their traditional lands, moving into Kowanyama as late as the 1940s.

Greater than 1000 people now live in Kowanyama, making it one of the largest communities on the Cape York Peninsula. Kowanyama's Aboriginal people continue to identify strongly with their ancestral countries and with the languages, stories, songs, dances, and histories associated with those countries. Language groups associated with countries in the Kowanyama region are Yir Yoront, Yirrk Thangalkl, Koko Bera, Uw Oykangand, and Olkola.

In 1964, a cyclone destroyed the mission. The Queensland government funded the rebuilding.

In 1967 the Anglican church were no longer able to sustain their activities in the area as a Church Mission. The Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, a government department, under the Act continued running the affairs of the community.


WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following program may contain images and voices of deceased persons.