Mainland communities D-E

The following brief histories provide researchers with information concerning the creation of missions and reserves in Queensland.

Daintree River | Dajarra | Dalby | Deebing Creek | Doomadgee | Durundur | Edward River | Elim | Embley River | Eulo

* See the pdf version [Document in PDF format 93 kb] with full bibliographic references

Daintree River

In 1926 120 acres of land were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve on the Daintree River. In 1935 a suggestion was made to purchase the Almason Estate at Bailey's Creek for the purpose of establishing an Aboriginal Mission administered by the Seventh Day Adventist Church for the Aboriginal people of the Daintree region.

In September 1940 the Protector of Aboriginals at Mossman wrote to the Director of Native Affairs in relation to the unsuitability of the Aboriginal reserve on the Daintree River.  He noted that the "land was too steep to be cultivated and there [were] no suitable building sites on the reserve". The Local Protector went on to advise that with the recent departure of missionary Miss Jardine Green from the Daintree Camp, the Assemblies of God pastor William Arehurst and his wife offered to take over and establish a mission station near the old reserve. By 1941 the church had purchased 258 acres of land in the parish of Whyanbeel and a mission station was established some 19 miles from Mossman on the Mossman-Daintree Road.

Pastor H.S.G. Davidson ran the mission until December 1945. In 1947 the Assemblies of God Church offered to sell the mission to the Government but the purchase was not approved. The church then attempted to offer the mission to the government under a deed of trust but this option was also rejected. In 1950 Pastor Easton, who had replaced Davidson, successfully negotiated for the mission to be registered as an institution under the Social Services Consolidation Act (later cited as Social Services Act 1947) allowing the mission to receive child endowment allowances directly for those children in its care.


An Aboriginal reserve consisting of 15 acres was first gazetted in Dajarra in 1952. This reserve was cancelled in 1966 and a smaller reserve of 5 acres was gazetted in July of that year.


In 1909 approval was given to establish an Aboriginal Mission at Dalby. The mission was to be run by the Anglican Church. It is uncertain if this mission was ever established.

Deebing Creek - see also Purga

The Deebing Creek mission was founded by the Aboriginal Protection Society of Ipswich. Work started on the establishment of an Aboriginal mission at Deebing Creek around 1887. On 2 January 1892 130 acres in the County of Churchill, Parish of Purga was proclaimed a reserve for the use of Aborigines. In April 1892 a further 42 acres, previously gazetted as a water reserve, were added. In October 1892 an additional 41 acres were gazetted in response to:

a deputation from the committee of the "Ipswich Aboriginal Home" [ requesting] … that a small additional portion of land in the immediate locality ... be granted for the purposes of the mission.

Missionary Edward Fuller was the first manager of Deebing Creek which initially catered for Aboriginal people from the Ipswich area. By the turn of the century the mission superintendent reported that the inmates of Deebing Creek came from many different tribes with some children being sent to the mission from as far away as Burketown. Government records show that the mission was supplied with provisions by the Department from February 1891 to February 1894. In March 1894 to June 1896 a grant of £250 per annum was authorised.

In November 1896 the Rev. Peter Robertson, chairman of the Aboriginal Protection Association, requested and was granted additional funding for building and the purchase of more land and the annual grant to the mission was increased to £450. At the same time a gazettal notice made provision under the Industrial and Reformatory Schools Act of 1865 for the establishment of an industrial school which came to be known as the Deebing Creek Industrial School. The industrial school at Myora was closed and some of the children were transferred to Deebing Creek Industrial School.

In November 1914 a grant of £200 was made to assist in the transfer of the mission from Deebing Creek to reserve land at Purga. The reasons for the move were the abundance of good agricultural land and the greater distance from the town centre. The mission committee was still acquiring property and land for the mission, with the Chief Protector noting in a Departmental letter that 62 acres of farm land adjoining the Purga site had been purchased for £600 by the committee. In 1915 the mission was relocated to Purga.

See also

City of Ipswich Indigenous history


Doomadgee mission was originally founded in 1933 and was situated at Dumaji on the Bayley Point Reserve. The mission was administered by members of the Christian Brethren who had previously established a missionary home at Burketown in 1931. In 1935 it was decided that the mission site was unsuitable and following a cyclone in 1936 the mission 'was shifted to its present site on the Nicholson River'. In November 1936 90 square miles of land were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve. The Bayley Point Reserve became known as Old Doomadgee.

The population of the settlement grew rapidly with many Aboriginal people from Burketown, Turn Off Lagoon and local stations being removed to the mission. Conditions on the mission were extremely restrictive. In later years many people left for Mornington Island where the practice of separating people into dormitories for males, females and children stopped in 1954.

In 1969 the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs was appointed trustee of the reserve.   Administration of Doomadgee passed to the Queensland Government in 1983 but the church continued to work at the mission. An Aboriginal Community council was established in 1985 and in 1987 a deed of grant in trust was issued for an area of 178 600 hectares.


In 1877, 3 000 acres of land were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in the parish of Durundur. At that time more than two hundred Aboriginal people were camped there under the supervision of the Rev Duncan McNab. In 1878 an amendment to the original notice was made noting the size of the reserve as 2,130 acres. Durundur was closed on 1 March 1905 and the remaining inmates transferred to Barambah.

Edward River - see Pormpuraaw

Elim - see Hopevale

Embley River - see Weipa


A reserve of four acres was gazetted in the county of Wellington, parish of Eulo in the Cunnamulla mineral field on 8 March 1941.

* See the pdf version [Document in PDF format 93 kb] with full bibliographic references

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