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First Nations cultures


Indigenous Knowledge Centres

Yarrabah: CLS to IKC

By Indigenous Services | 25 November 2022

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.

Yarrabah has a long history of providing a library service to the community. Before the establishment of IKCs, the then Yarrabah Aboriginal Council operated a Country Lending Service (CLS) as far back as 1984. In 2003, Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council (YASC) asked State Library of Queensland to transform the CLS into an IKC and lobbied for funds for a new building. The CLS was operational until it suffered irreparable damage during Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

Yarrabah CLS

Yarrabah Knowledge Centre

Yarrabah Knowledge Centre (YKC)

In 2012, the State Government agreed to provide $1.9 million in funding to help construct a new multi-purpose building, including space for a library. YASC opened the Yarrabah Knowledge Centre (YKC) in partnership with State Library on 25 November 2015. With a new space, new furniture, an abundance of resources and a refreshed collection, the YKC has been a hub of activities. Ms Glenys Murgha, YKC Coordinator 2015-2017 and Ms Pamela “Pammy” Mundraby, YKC Coordinator 2017 to present, have continued to ensure the YKC is a place of learning, sharing, creating and preserving knowledge through training, activities and programs. Learn more about the YKC in Pammy’s Welcome to Yarrabah Knowledge Centre video below.

Programs and Activities

Pammy schedules many programs involving parents and children. A popular one is First 5 Forever (F5F), which helps parents, grandparents and carers to talk, sing, read and play with children from 0-5 years old.


Exploring the Collection

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

Tindale Genealogical collection

Norman Tindale was an anthropologist based at the South Australian Museum. He recorded vast amounts of genealogical and other information about Indigenous communities from all over Australia, the majority collected during the 1920s and 1930s.

Mick Richards Far North Queensland Indigenous communities photographs

Images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Central and Far North Queensland.

32045 C. R. Pittock photographic slides of Yarrabah and North Queensland

Collection of twenty-three 35mm colour photographic slides taken by Clarence Roy Pittock while visiting Queensland in 1967. It is likely that Mr Pittock was on a Rotary excursion when the slides were taken. Thirteen of the slides show Yarrabah Aboriginal Mission in north Queensland, featuring children, boating, the harbour, a monument, the chapel and other scenes. Four slides depict Aboriginal rock art at Koombal Park near Yarrabah. Other slides show Barron Falls, Townsville Botanic Gardens, Lake Cootharaba and Coffs Harbour.

APA-50 Foxton Photograph Album 1899

Album contains photographs by H.W.Mobsby, taken during the Home Secretary, J.F.G.Foxton’s tour through the Torres Strait Islands. Images include: Thursday Island views; the residence of the Hon. John Douglas on Thursday Island; Horn Island; Mapoon Mission; Weipa Mission Station; views on Daru; Murray Island; Yarrabah Mission Station; Cape Bedford Mission Station; Darnley Island including dancers; Mabuiag Island; and pearlers.

Yarrabah News / Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council

The Yarrabah News provides Council updates and social and organisational events taking place in the community.

COVID-19 Far North Queensland photographs

This collection of images depicts community response to COVID-19 restrictions in and around Cairns in North Queensland. The collection documents the impact of the crisis on the area and how North Queenslanders had to change their lives. The photos show 'social distancing', empty public spaces, and closures of roads and businesses.


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