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: aurukun.qld.gov.au
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.
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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The Northern Peninsula Area is made up of five diverse communities; Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia and Umagico. All flights into this region are operated to Northern Peninsula (Bamaga) Airport. To find out more information about the Northern Peninsula Area please visit the NPARC website: nparc.qld.gov.au
Northern Peninsula Airport (ABM) is located south-east of Bamaga on Airport 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.
Bamaga Airport was created late 1942, in WWII as a substitute base for bomber planes, replacing the Horn Island Airport which was receiving heavy Japanese fire and rapidly deteriorating due to flooding.
Initially known to the Americans as ‘Red Island Point’, and as ‘Jacky Jacky’ to the Australians, it was later renamed to ‘Higgins Field’, in honour of Flight Lieutenant Brian Hartley Higgins 400620, RAAF, killed in air operations, May 1943.
There are two aircraft wrecks located near the airport, a Beaufort A9-190 Bomber lies North of the runway and a Douglas DC-3, VH-CXD now preserved as a war memorial can be found 3km North-West.
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Horn Island, with an area of 53 square kilometres, consists mainly of vacant Crown land. The Aerodrome occupies 6 square kilometres. On the eastern side of the island is a Gold mine, which was in operation until recently. The main urban area on the Island is the township Wasaga, with general stores, churches, a community hall, motel, modern hotel and bulk storage facility for cargo. The public wharf provides an interchange service between the aerodrome and the Thursday Island ferry. Adjacent to the Public wharf is the cargo wharf, built to primarily service the gold mine, but now used as a public cargo wharf. To find out more information about the Horn Island and it’s surrounding islands, please visit the Torres Shire Council website: torres.qld.gov.au
Horn Island Airport (HID) is located east of Horn Village on Airport Road. Check-in for Skytrans flights takes place at the main terminal. Check-in opens 90 minutes before departure of the flight and closes 30 minutes prior. Baggage is available for collection outside the terminal.
Outer Island Flights
From Horn Island airport, Skytrans fly to 11 outer islands throughout the Torres Strait. All outer island flights are operated in our fleet of Cessna C208B Grand Caravan. As some airports throughout this region are payload restricted, all passengers and luggage (including hand luggage) are required to be weighed before the flight departure.
Skytrans is the only airline offering connecting flights between Cairns, Cape York, and the Torres Strait. Passengers can book these flights online or via our reservations office on 1300 759 872. Residents of outer islands can book through fares using the local fare scheme. Find out more HERE.
When checking in for your first flight let our Customer Service Officer know that you have a through-fare to Cairns, Bamaga or an Outer Island and they will direct you on what to do from there. Depending on where you are going and how much time is between your flight you may get checked all the way through, if not you will be required to get your bag and recheck in for your next flight.
Thursday Island Transfers
Transfers between Horn Island and Thursday Island are available hourly through Torres Strait Tours. Bookings for these services can be made online, over the phone or in-person at Horn Island Airport.
As per Skytrans Terms and Conditions, Skytrans does not offer flight connections and/or baggage transfers to other transport providers, including Torres Strait Tours.
The aerodrome was first constructed before World War II by the American Armed Forces and was upgraded in June 1995 to its current form including the construction of the existing terminal when Council took over ownership from the Department of Transport.
When you fly over Horn as you come into land you may notice an old dirt airstrip that was used in World War II.
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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.
Have you been a resident of Kowanyama for more than 3 years? Find out how you can save on your flights HERE.
The Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council encompasses 354,000 hectares of country which includes pristine beaches and internationally significant rainforest areas. Located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula approximately 800 km north of Cairns by road, the residents of the shire are mostly from six traditional family (language) groups:
The Lockhart River Township is located about two kilometres inland from the glorious Quintell Beach and is surrounded by the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park. To find out more information about Lockhart River please visit the Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council website: lockhart.qld.gov.au
Lockhart River Airport (IRG) is located west of Lockhart River on Airport 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 45 minutes prior. Baggage is available for collection outside the terminal.
The Lockhart River Aerodrome was originally established by American troops during World War II and some remnants of the base still remain.
During World War II, American troops established a significant presence in the Lockhart area. Four airstrips at the bomber and communications base were constructed to enable bombers to embark on missions over the Coral Sea. Also used as a training base, thousands of Australian and US troops completed jungle training in the area prior to being deployed to South East Asia. The current Lockhart River Aerodrome is located on one of the original runways and the location of former Air Force campsites, administration facilities, demolition storage facilities, the cookhouse and bunkers can still be identified.
Have you been a resident of Lockhart River for more than 3 years? Find out how you can save on your flights HERE.
Pormpuraaw is on the west coast of Cape York about 500 kilometres from the tip of Australia, just south of the Edward River. It is the home of the Thaayore, Wik, Bakanh and Yir Yoront People.
Pormpuraaw Township consists of two neighbourhoods known locally as Mungkan side and Thaayorre side. They are united by schools, shops, administrative buildings and a number of shire council staff housing. The neighbourhoods originated at the time of mission settlement and reflect traditional linguistic and territorial affiliations. The majority of residents on the Mungkan side originate from along or north of the Edward River. The Thaayorre side accommodates speakers of Thaayorre, Yir Yoront and other dialects that lie along or south of the Edward River. For more information on Pormpuraaw, please visit the Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council website: pormpuraaw.qld.gov.au
Pormpuraaw Airport (EDR) is located west of Pormpuraaw on Wirran Street. 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.
Pormpuraaw (formerly Edward River) was established as an Anglican Mission in 1983. The Anglicans had established Kowanyama in 1905 but realised that there were conflicts arising as a result of bringing many tribes together from such a large area. The Anglican Missionaries then sought to establish a number of smaller missions in the area. The first mission was located at the present Pormpuraaw site and took hold. Like all cape missions, government rationed subsidies for aboriginal people at Pormpuraaw was about one-third of what was required to exist, so most of the men and boys were sent out to work on the cattle stations in the region. This enabled them to stay close to their traditional country.
At the same time, the Anglicans removed women and children from the cattle stations in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Dormitories were established to contain the women and children and provide schooling. Erratic rationing meant that most people were still required to hunt and collect food from the surrounding bush which helped maintain a cultural connection with the land. The reliance on bush food was especially critical during the war periods when rationing of fuel prevented the mission boat from going to Normanton for supplies.
In 1986 the Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Community Council gained title to the area by way of a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT). This enabled the council to have full local government authority over the trust area of 466,198 hectares. In 2004 Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Community Council became a Shire Council incorporated under the Local Government (Community Government Areas) Act 2004.