Mainland communities H-K

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

Halifax Bay | Herberton |Hinchinbrook Island | Hopevale | Hughenden | Hull River | Injinoo | Kowanyama

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

Halifax Bay

In June 1889 a reserve for camping and Aboriginal people was gazetted at Halifax Bay near Saltwater Creek. The reserve was known as the Perinon Run and consisted of about seven square miles. This reserve was cancelled in January 1911.


In March 1937 an area of five acres was set aside on the right bank of the Wild River as an Aboriginal reserve. In 1969 the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs became trustee of this reserve.

Hinchinbrook Island - see Fraser Island

Hopevale (Cape Bedford)

In 1885 Lutheran missionary J. Flierl was travelling to New Guinea when his passenger ship was wrecked near Cooktown.  Flierl had previously been at Killalpaninna which was an Aboriginal mission in South Australia. Despite his unscheduled stop at Cooktown he set about establishing a mission close by at Cape Bedford on land which had previously been reserved as an Aboriginal reserve in 1881. Flierl left the mission in 1887 passing the responsibility of managing the mission to George Schwartz who remained at the mission, subsequently called Hope Valley for more than 50 years. The reserve area was amended several times and by 1934 the size of the reserve was 225 300 acres.

When the Second World War broke out George Schwartz was interned. In May 1942, 254 Aboriginal people were evacuated without warning, with the majority removed to Woorabinda. The mission was subsequently taken over by the Australian Army, R.A.A.F., United States Army and the Civil Construction Corps. Many of the Cape Bedford people died while at Woorabinda and the survivors were not allowed to return to the mission until 1949. A new site was established on land previously owned by the Cooktown Plantations Company about 25 km from the old mission. The new mission site was finally gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in September 1952.

In 1955 the Hope Vale Mission Board made a complaint about the encroachment of Starcke Graziers onto land belonging to the mission. Eventually the area occupied by the Starcke Graziers was excised from the reserved land but in return Starcke land was surrended to the mission.


In October 1915 an area of four acres, three roods and 37 perches was set aside as a reserve for the use of Aboriginal people in the County of Douglas, parish of Hughenden. This reserve was cancelled in 1937 and a new reserve gazetted in the parish of Wongalee. In 1969 the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs became the trustee of the Hughenden reserve.

Hull River

In September 1913, 2 900 acres of land on the Hull River were gazetted as an Aboriginal Reserve. On 15 September 1914 John Martin Kenny, who had previously been a non-commissioned officer of the native police and a overseer at the Cape Bedford mission, was appointed Superintendent at Hull River. On 10 March 1918 the settlement was demolished by a cyclone and the superintendent was killed along with 12 Aboriginal people from the settlement. According to a report on the destruction of the settlement over 400 Aboriginal people lived on the reserve at the time of the cyclone.  The Hull River settlement was not rebuilt and many of the people were relocated from the reserve to Palm Island in 1918.

Injinoo (Cowal Creek)

In the Annual Report of the Chief Protector of Aboriginal for 1918 it was noted that the people of the old Seven Rivers and Red Island tribes had established without aid or intervention by the government, a settlement on Small River (later known as Cowal Creek) at Cape York. The Anglican Church established a mission at Cowal Creek in 1923 and a teacher named Satraika from Mabuiag in Torres Strait was appointed to the school.

In October 1915, an Aboriginal Reserve at Cowal Creek comprising 53 120 acres was gazetted. In 1936 the then sub-department of Native Affairs took control of the reserve.  A Deed of Grant in trust was issued on 27th of October 1986 for an area of 79 542 ha.

Kowanyama (formerly Mitchell River Mission)

In 1904 the Anglican Church established a mission at Trubanamen near Topsy Creek which runs into the Mitchell River. Around 1917 the mission was moved because of saltwater seeping into the local waterholes and creeks. The superintendent of the mission, JW Chapman and two Aboriginal men, Peter Bendigo and Pindi chose a new site for the mission some 15 miles from the old mission on Magnificent Creek. The name Kowanyama meaning "many waters" was given to the new site but for many years the mission was referred to as the Mitchell River Mission. The name Kowanyama did not come into official usage until around 1971 when control of the mission passed from the Anglican Church to the Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs. In July 1987 a deed of grant in trust was given to the people of Kowanyama for an area consisting of 250 sq km. Today the community is administered by the Kowanyama Aboriginal Council.

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

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