New Mapoon IKC: Making history

Celebrate two decades of Indigenous Knowledge Centres at our free showcase, 20 Years Strong

The New Mapoon IKC opened on 16 August 2002. It was the first IKC established in the Northern Peninsula Area and the fourth established in Queensland.

IKC Administrator Pauline Lifu has been with the IKC for most of its 20-year history and is the longest-serving staff member in the IKC network. Ms Lifu has been at the forefront of developing a local history collection at the IKC, which includes material from all five Northern Peninsula Area communities: Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia, and Umagico.

Pauline Lifu at State Library reviewing photographs in the John Oxley Library in 2008,

"Keeping local history has been my passion for a long time," explained Ms Lifu. "I love to keep local history to show the next generation and generations to come."

Elders, families, and children highly value the local history collection, which is utilised to learn about the different cultures of the NPA.

"School children do research and learn about their history. Families can read their stories, share knowledge, and know their family history," said Ms Lifu.

An example of local history bringing the community together can be found in a 2010 Culture Love program, Our Journeys. The three-week cultural skills development program focused on the journeys founding members of NPA communities undertook to arrive in the region.

Press Play & Culture Love NPA, Our Journeys, 2010.

One of the program's outcomes was oral history recordings of Elders with a memory of the forced relocation from Mapoon to New Mapoon by the Queensland Government in the mid-20th Century. Ms Lifu had a vital role in the program, helping Elders and others from the community prepare for the recordings.

Ms Lifu explained that being involved in local history projects comes with responsibility. "I want community to trust me looking after things that they are so passionate about," she said. But for Ms Lifu, the rewards are just as great. "It makes me feel good - like I've achieved something."

The New Mapoon IKC is one of five IKCs operated by the NPARC in partnership with the State Library of Queensland. The IKCs are located at Bamaga, Injinoo, Seisia and Umagico.

Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) region

The NPA region is made up of five Indigenous communities, Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia and Umagico. There are IKCs located in each community.

Learn more about the region here, 

State Library of Queensland website:

Queensland Government website:

Exploring the collection

If you’d like to explore some of State Library’s collection items relating to New Mapoon, we have a few suggestions in the links below:

Celebrating 20 years of IKCs

In 2002, the first Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) were developed in partnership with then Aboriginal Community and Island Councils across Queensland. Seven IKCs were opened in 2002 with many more to follow over the years.

This year thirteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Shire and Regional Councils will celebrate the role their IKC/s play in their communities, as libraries, meeting places, hubs and keeping places.


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