Kowanyama

About Kowanyama

Location

Kowanyama is located on the far west coast of Cape York, 600km north-west of Cairns. The community is positioned on the banks of Magnificent Creek, which joins the South Mitchell River. 

Languages

The Kowanyama community has 3 main language groups, which are defined by their relationship to the river:

  • Kokoberra
  • Kokomnjen
  • Kunjen

There are 2 associated clan/language groups:

  • Kokoberrin
  • Yir Yoront [Yi Your-ntarl]

Aboriginal English is also spoken in Kowanyama. The use of an interpreter may be necessary to assist complainants, witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the courts.

History of Kowanyama

Kowanyama facts and figures

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

  • 16% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over had completed year 12 or equivalent
  • 32.1% 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:

  • 40.9% of dependent children in families with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were from jobless families
  • 15.6% unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years
  • 60.7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years worked in the Public administration and safety industry.

For more 2011 and 2016 census information on education, employment, income, housing figures and more for Kowanyama, 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 Kowanyama

Visitors to Kowanyama should watch the Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council's induction video. The video has important information about the community's cultural protocols, environment and outback safety.

Getting to Kowanyama

Flights to Kowanyama are available through Hinterland Aviation and Skytrans. Chartered or private flights are also available. Kowanyama Airport is located on Champan Road. Access to Kowanyama by road is generally only accessible for 4 or 5 months during the dry season. Road access can be difficult during the wet season and is sometimes impossible, as roads can be inundated by water or washed out. Fires can also restrict vehicle access along roads.

Seasonal considerations

Kowanyama is subject to cyclones and heavy rainfall from October to April/May.

Alcohol restrictions

Alcohol restrictions apply in Kowanyama

Local government

Search the local government directory for information about the Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council. 

Who to contact if you have questions about your visit

Principal Engagement and Project Officer (Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships)

Phone: 07 4082 2003
Mobile: 0428 717 921

Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council

Kowanyama Central

Phone: 07 4083 7100
Fax: 07 4060 5124
Email: admin[at]kowanyama.qld.gov.au

Cairns office

Phone: 07 4040 4500
Fax: 07 4040 4556

Sorry business

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. Advice should be sought from the Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council when arranging to visit the community to determine the possible impact of current sorry business. In instances where council representatives cannot be reached, please contact the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnership's representative. Essential services such as policing, child safety, health, education and justice still continue throughout this period.

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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 Kowanyama is:

Kowanyama Justice Group Inc
Chapman Road Kowanyama, 4892

Contact:

Coordinator: Maxine Adams
Director/Chairperson: Ms Marlene Flower

Phone: 07 4060 5011
Fax: 4060 5499
Mobile: 0457 353 515
Email: kowanyamajusticegroup[at]hotmail.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.