Community Profile

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The Yarrabah Community lies to the East of Cairns. By road it is placed about 60 kilometres from Cairnsyarra CBD, however, it is only approx. 12 kilometres if measured in a straight line. It takes about 45 minutes to travel by car from the Cairns CBD to the Yarrabah Community.

Our coastline runs east from False Cape around Mission Bay, past Cape Grafton and Kings Point and then south to Palmer Point. The total coastline is in excess of 60 kilometres.

Geographically, our land area could generally be described as a long slender shape bounded in the west by the Murray Prior Range and the coast on the east. It has an overall length of about thirty (30) kilometres and is about 2.5 kilometres wide in the south, but broadens out to almost 8 kilometres across the northern part.

It has an area of about 154 square kilometres. The Township of Yarrabah is for the most part located adjacent to Mission Bay. Originally, European influence began in earnest with the establishment of an Anglican Mission on this same location on the 17th of June, 1892.

Over the years, subsequent state government administrations forcibly relocated aboriginal and some South Sea Islander peoples from far and wide, to Yarrabah. As a consequence, most local residents can claim both traditional and historical ties to the area.

The first Aboriginal Council was established in the mid 1960’s, principally as an advisory body. The Community received its DOGIT land tenure status in 1986 and is now self-governing under The Community Services (Aborigines) Act 1984. DOGIT stands for Deed of Grant of In Trust, and the trustee is the Council of the day. Because residents do not have title on an individual basis, there is no rate base for our Council.

The community has an official population of 1968 people as confirmed by the ‘96 census, however, this figure is suspected of being less than accurate due to a degree of floating population between communities and non-registration during times of census taking.

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