Mainland communities N-Q

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

Nerang | New Castle Bay | Noosa | Normanton | Palm Island | Pascoe River | Pormpuraaw | Purga | Queerah Aboriginal Mission

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


In August 1871 an Aboriginal Industrial Mission located on the Nerang River was gazetted. Some years later in 1877 a mission funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church was established. During the next year some land on the reserve was cleared for planting but in January of the following year the reserve was cancelled.

In February 1914 a reserve for the preservation of a bora ground within the Nerang Shire was gazetted.

New Castle Bay (Cape York Peninsula)

In October 1915 25 600 acres was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve for the use of the Indigenous inhabitants of New Castle Bay. This reserve was cancelled in January 1932.

Noosa - see Fraser Island


In 1891 an area of about three acres was excised from the cemetery reserve and gazetted as a reserve for the burial of Aboriginal people. Another Aboriginal cemetery consisting of ten acres was gazetted in 1954. During the 1930s Ivor Thomas, a member of the Australian Inland Mission, sought assistance from the government to assist Aboriginal people in the Normanton district and called for the establishment of a reserve. In March 1939 an Aboriginal reserve was created at Normanton consisting of 180 acres.  In October 1948 an Aboriginal reserve at Normanton consisting of 112 acres was gazetted.

Palm Island

Located 65 km north of Townsville, Palm Island was home to a small population of Aboriginal people before becoming an Aboriginal reserve in 1914.  Calls for Palm Island to be proclaimed as a reserve were made as early as 1889 when the Secretary of the Aboriginal Protection Association of Townsville wrote to the Colonial Secretary asking for a reserve to be established on the island, but no action was taken.

In June 1914 Great Palm Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve. No Aboriginal people were removed to the island until 1918 when the remaining inhabitants of the Hull River Aboriginal reserve were sent to Palm Island after the settlement was destroyed by a cyclone. Over the next two decades hundreds of Aboriginal people from across Queensland and a smaller number of Torres Strait Islander people were removed to Palm Island.  The anthropologist Norman Tindale visited Palm Island in 1938 and recorded the genealogies of people representing some 44 tribal groups with some people having been removed to Palm from as far away as Brisbane and Cloncurry. The annual report for the year ended 1938 gave the population of the Island as 1248, making Palm Island the most populous reserve.

In March 1921 Great Palm Island and Eclipse Island were gazetted as Aboriginal Reserves.  In December 1922 Palm Island was gazetted as an industrial school.

Palm Island was re-gazetted as an Aboriginal Reserve on 16 July 1938 and on 20 September 1941 the small islands surrounding Great Palm Island, including Curacoa, Eclipse, Falcon, Esk, Brisk, and Havannah, were also gazetted as reserves for the benefit of Aboriginals of the State.

Pascoe River - see Lockhart River

Pormpuraaw (Edward River)

Situated on the west coast of Cape York the Edward River Mission was established by the Anglican Church in 1938.  JW Chapman was the first superintendent of the mission. A previous attempt at establishing an Anglican mission in Western Cape York, situated between the Coleman River and Malaman Creek, failed in 1932. A cyclone destroyed much of the Edward River Mission in 1964. State Government funds were used to rebuild the settlement and in 1967 the Anglican Church transferred control of the mission to the Government.

In 1986 an elected Community Council assumed local government responsibilities, acquiring title over the Trust area which encompassed 466 198 hectares by way of Deed of Grant in Trust. In 1987 the community changed its name to Pormpuraaw.

Purga  - see also Deebing Creek

In 1915 the inhabitants of Deebing Creek were moved to a new site at Purga. The mission was controlled by the Salvation Army. On 30 June 1948 Purga was closed and the reserve status of the land was rescinded. An Aboriginal cemetery consisting of 4.8 perches was gazetted in March 1968.

Queerah Aboriginal Mission

Queerah Aboriginal Mission was located on a property at Edmonton which belonged to C.T. Crowely who was, in the 1940s, the Member for Cairns and a member of the North Queensland Aboriginal Welfare Committee. Referred to as an independent mission, Queerah received no assistance from the Queensland government.

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

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