Bamaga

About Bamaga

Location

Bamaga is 1 of 5 communities that form the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) at the tip of Cape York. Injinoo, Umagico (Alau), New Mapoon and Seisia communities make up the remainder of the NPA. 

Languages

The main language spoken in Bamaga is Torres Strait Creole, although English and Kala Kawa Ya [Ka-la-ka-wa Ya] are also spoken. The use of an interpreter may be necessary to assist complainants, witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the courts.

History of Bamaga

Bamaga facts and figures

Key social indicators from the 2016 Census for the Bamaga community include:

  • 52.7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over had completed year 12 or equivalent
  • 28.6% of households with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were overcrowded.

The following figures are from the 2011 Census and will be updated later in 2017:

  • 21.7% of dependent children in families with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were from jobless families
  • 8.7% unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years
  • 23.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years worked in Other services.

For more 2011 and 2016 census information on education, employment, income, housing figures and more for Bamaga, build a statistical profile on Know Your Community.

Native title information

Search for native title information on the National Native Title Tribunal website.

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Visiting Bamaga

Getting to Bamaga

The Northern Peninsula Airport is located on Airport Road, southeast of Bamaga. The Northern Peninsula Area is accessible all year. The airstrip is also used by the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Royal Australian Air Force, and for local charters from Weipa, Horn Island and the Torres Strait.

Flights from Cairns direct to Bamaga are available most weekdays with a flight time of approximately 2 hours. A local radio station operates on frequency FM 91.9 from a studio in Bamaga. Telstra mobile phone coverage is available only in Bamaga, parts of Seisia and the Injinoo lookout.

Quarantine restrictions

When visiting Cape York you need to observe the quarantine regulations in these regions:

  • it is against the law to move plant and animal material, including fruit, from the Torres Strait to the mainland
  • restrictions apply on moving plant material, including fruit, south from Cape York.

For more information visit:

Seasonal considerations

Road conditions can be difficult in the NPA, particularly throughout the wet season when large potholes will appear and roads can be washed out or completely inundated by water. During the dry season, fires may also restrict vehicle access along roads.

Alcohol restrictions

Alcohol restrictions apply in Bamaga

Local government

Search the local government directory for information about the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council. 

Who to contact if you have questions about your visit

Regional Director (Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships)

Phone: 07 4069 1243
Mobile: 0400 769 868

Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council

Bamaga (head office)

Phone: 07 4090 4100
Fax: 07 4069 3264
Email: info[at]nparc.qld.gov.au

Cairns office

Phone: 07 4050 1800
Fax: 07 4050 1899

Sorry business and sad news

‘Sorry Business’ is a term used during the time of mourning following the death of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Torres Strait Islanders may use the terminology ‘Bad or Sad News’. The term can also refer to the past practice of forcibly removing children from their families. The intensity of mourning is reflective of the importance of the family or person who has died. The mourning process enables healing for the family and community involved.

The death of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person impacts on the whole community; however the experience of Sorry Business can vary within each community. Commonly the name of the deceased is not used for some time or the deceased person is called by another name. In some communities, photographs or stories of the deceased are not to be used without the express permission of relevant family members.

For Torres Strait Islander cultures, ‘Tombstone Openings’ are a time for celebration and symbolise the point that brings closure for the family of the deceased through the celebration of the person’s life. There is a lengthy mourning process from the time of the person’s death, culminating with the unveiling of the tombstone ceremony, which is followed by feasting and dancing. This process usually takes place about 1 or 2 years after the funeral; however some families may take longer to prepare for this event. 

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Community justice group

The role of the Community Justice Group (CJG) is to ensure that clients of the service are given appropriate cultural support for court matters. The CJG also provides cultural reports to the courts at sentencing and bail applications, assistance to the courts in managing community-based offences, and networking to implement crime prevention initiatives.

Members of the CJG work closely with a number of justice agencies including the Queensland Magistrates Court, Department of Corrective Services, Queensland Police Service, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. The CJG works to support the community’s understanding of and access to the justice system by working in conjunction with Shire Council by-laws and victim support agencies.

Key ways the CJG is able to assist the community and the courts include:

  • participation in community consultations relevant to the CJG’s role within the criminal justice sector
  • preparation and presentation of written and oral sentencing submissions to the court
  • defendant support and referral (including court support)
  • victim support and referral (including court support)
  • support for debtors wishing to access the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry.

The local CJG for Bamaga is:

Northern Peninsula Area Justice Services ATSI Corp (NPA)
C/- NPA Community Justice Centre (Bamaga Courthouse)
47 Lui St
Bamaga 4876

PO Box 177
Bamaga 4876

Coordinator: Mr Peter Austin
Directors: Ms Pattie Waisu, Ms Amy McKeown, Rev Mary Eseli, Meun Lifu, Mrs Agnes Mark, Ms Victoria Kennedy, Ms Beverley Jacobs, Mr Johannes Gebadi, Ms Polly Mooka and Ms Nola Lewin

Phone: 07 4069 3945
Mobile: 0488 056 308
Email: npacourt[at]bigpond.com

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Community services

Use the Queensland Government's one place service directory to find up-to-date contact information for local support services including:

  • legal advice and support services
  • youth justice and support groups
  • domestic and family violence support
  • drug and alcohol services
  • mens' and women's groups
  • accident, emergency and medical services

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More information

 

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Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.