Kowanyama means “place of many waters” in the Yir Yoront language. The community includes the Kokoberra, Yir Yoront [or Kokomenjen] and Kunjen clans, who each have language and other cultural differences. Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire consists of beautiful and unique wetlands and delta mangroves in the north, extending to forest country of the central peninsula.
Greater than 1000 people now live in Kowanyama, making it one of the largest communities on the Cape York Peninsula. Kowanyama’s Aboriginal people continue to identify strongly with their ancestral countries and with the languages, stories, songs, dances, and histories associated with those countries. Language groups associated with countries in the Kowanyama region are Yir Yoront, Yirrk Thangalkl, Koko Bera, Uw Oykangand, and Olkola.
For more information on Kowanyama, please visit the Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council website: kowanyama.qld.gov.au
Kowanyama Airport (KWM) is located south of Kowanyama on Chapman 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.
In 1905, Trubanamen Mission was established inland on Topsy Creek, now known as the old mission. Aboriginal peoples of the region were gradually drawn from their ancestral lands into the mission settlement.
Later, in 1916, Mitchell River Mission was founded on the present site of Kowanyama and the Trubanamen site abandoned. Some peoples continued to occupy their traditional lands, moving into Kowanyama as late as the 1940s.
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