The community of Aurukun is located on the north-west coast of the Cape York Peninsula, 178km (2hrs 30mins) by road south of the mining town of Weipa and 811km (11hrs) from Cairns. Nearly the entire population (99.6%) lives within the township.

The shire has an area of 7500 sq. km. and is bounded by the Holroyd River and Pormpuraaw Deed of Grant in Trust lands to the south, Cook shire and Archer Bend National Park to the east, the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west and Cook shire to the north. It has about 107 km of Gulf of Carpentaria coastline. Aurukun is one of the larger communities in the Cape with a population of approximately 1200. Most residents are Traditional owners of the shire and surrounding lands. There are 5 spiritual clan groups: Apalech, Winchanam, Wanam, Chara and Puutch. There are 15 outstations that are occupied during the dry season. To find out more information about Aurukun please visit the Aurukun Shire Council website:


Travel Information

Aurukun Airport (AUU) is located west of Aurukun town centre on Kang Kang Road. Check-in for Skytrans flights takes place at the main terminal. Check-in opens 90 minutes prior to departure of the flight and closes 30 minutes prior. Baggage is available for collection outside the terminal.


Aurukun History

Cape Keerweer, on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast, was the site of the first attempted European settlement in Australia.

In 1605, the Dutch ship Duyfken, under Captain Willem Janszoon, sailed down the west coast of Cape York Peninsula and made the first recorded Dutch landing in Australia at Cape Keerweer, south of Aurukun. Janszoon planned to build a city at the site. However, after exploitative actions by the crew, fighting broke out with the local people, several sailors were killed and the Duyfken departed.

Aurukun was established on 4 August as a Presbyterian mission (formerly known as the Archer River Mission station) in 1904. Aboriginal people were relocated from large surrounding areas to the mission settlement over several decades. Today’s township is on the site of the original mission.

On 22 May 1978, the Local Government (Aboriginal Lands) Act came into force, constituting the Aurukun Shire Council. The Act granted a 50-year lease to the Council over most of the land in the original Reserve, a large part of the traditional lands of the Aurukun people.

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