Mainland communities R-T

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

Ravenshoe | Rocky Island | Seisia | Small River | Somerset | South Brisbane | Stradbroke | Stuart Creek | Sweers Island | Taroom | Townsville | Trubanaman | Tully River

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


In 1951, 15 acres of land were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in the Parish of Ravenshoe.  The creation of the reserve was intended to secure better living conditions for local Aboriginal people who had been camping on land reserved as a national park.  By 1953 no new accommodation had been built on the reserve because of an apparent lack of funds and the families who remained at the old camp were threatened with removal to Woorabinda.  The removal was never carried out but in 1953 the huts at the old camp were destroyed. The Department of Native Affairs was then pressured to complete the construction of new buildings on the reserve by the Ravenshoe and District Progress Association and other town residents who unhappy with the treatment of local Aboriginal people.

Some accommodation was erected on the reserve. In 1959 the local council declared the area unsatisfactory for use as a reserve and moves were made to find a more suitable site. In June 1964 the existing reserve area was extended by about 17 acres.

Rocky Island

Rocky Island situated in Trinity Bay between Cape Grafton and False Cape was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in June 1907. In 1986 the reserve status of the island was cancelled.


In 1948 Red Island Point was settled by people from Saibai Island but in 1950 these people moved to Muttee Head. In 1951 more Saibai people moved to Red Island Point and in 1955 the Queensland Government was approached for building materials.

In July 1948 an area of 44 500 acres in the parish of Cowal and Filmer was set aside as an Aboriginal reserve. The reserve was created to accommodate those Torres Strait Islanders who had moved to the mainland.

In 1972 the Anglican Church of St. Francis of Assisi was dedicated. The name Seisia was adopted in 1977 (see north of the Jardine). A deed of grant in trust was issued to the Seisia Council on 29 October 1987.

Small River - see Injinoo


Somerset was established as a SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) mission in 1867 and closed in 1868. The Rev. F Jagg and a Mr. Kennett reached Somerset in February 1867 to commence a mission on behalf of the SPG. The mission was a failure and closed in 1868. In 1877 the government station at Somerset was moved to Thursday Island.

South Brisbane - see Brisbane Aboriginal Girls Home

Stradbroke Island (Myora)

In 1843 a Catholic Mission was established at Dunwich on Stradbroke Island. Four Italian Passionist missionaries, Fathers Joseph Snell, Luigi Pesciardi, Maurice Lencioni and Raymond Vaccari lived on the island for three years attempting to learn the local Aboriginal language and convert the Aboriginal people of Dunwich to Catholicism. In June 1846 three of the missionaries left Dunwich for Western Australia where the church intended to establish two new missions. The remaining missionary Father Raymond remained at Dunwich until July 1847 when he fled in a boat to Tweed Heads and joined the schooner Elizabeth Jane which was travelling to Sydney. The local newspaper the Moreton Bay Courier, reported that the mission had been a failure.

Myora Aboriginal Mission replaced the mission at Bribie Island in 1892 when 50 acres was gazetted as a Mission Station. Its inhabitants were mainly employees of the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum. In 1896 the industrial school was cancelled. 50 acres was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in July 1905. In 1922 there was a request from the Superintendent to change the name of the reserve to Moongalba. The mission closed in 1942.

Stuart Creek

2 000 acres were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in November 1877. This was amended to 1 400 acres in 1884. [further research required]

Sweers Island

Sweers Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in August 1934 and placed under the control of the Director of Aboriginal and Island Affairs in 1969.


The Taroom reserve settlement was established on 15 May 1911.  Mr. G.R. Addison was the first Superintendent.  The 1926 Annual Report announced the closure of the reserve was imminent and by 1928 all Aboriginal residents had been relocated to Woorabinda.


In 1948 the Director of Native Affairs Office was granted approval to purchase a property located six and a half miles from Townsville at Aitkenvale. The land was to be used as a home for Aboriginal people passing through Townsville. In March 1949 this property consisting of 60 acres was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve. Prior to the establishment of the Aitkenvale reserve many Aboriginal people visiting Townsville would stay at the camp at Rose Bay.

Trubanaman - see Kowanyama

Tully River

In 1886 1 000 acres of land on the Tully River (County of Cardwell and parish of Rockingham) were gazetted. This reserve does not appear on Roth's list of 1901 so presumably it had been cancelled. In 1938 the Local Protector of Aboriginals reported several Aboriginal camps in the Tully area including Davidson River, Timberimie, the junction of Jarra Creek and Tully River, Mount Tyson, Lower Tully and Feluga.

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

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