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Yarrabah residents, 1931
|Population||2,559 (2016 census)|
|LGA(s)||Aboriginal Shire of Yarrabah|
Yarrabah, traditionally Yagaljida in the Yidin language spoken by the indigenous Yidinji people, is a coastal town and locality in the Aboriginal Shire of Yarrabah, Queensland, Australia. It is an Aboriginal community about 53 kilometres (33 mi) by road from Cairns CBD on Cape Grafton. It is much closer by direct-line distance but is separated from Cairns CBD by the Murray Prior Range and Trinity Inlet, an inlet of the Coral Sea. At the 2016 census, Yarrabah had a population of 2,559.
Gunggay (also known as Gunggandji, Kongandji, Kongkandji, Gungganyji, Idindji and Yidiny) is an Aboriginal language of Far North Queensland. The Gunggay language region of Cape Grafton includes the landscape within the local government boundaries of the Cairns Regional Council and Yarrabah Community Council.
An Anglican church missionary, Ernest Gribble (1868–1957) in 1892 began to regularly visit an Aboriginal group who inhabited the Yarrabah area living a very traditional lifestyle. These visits by Gribble were to encourage the tribe to move to a mission settlement he was setting up. With the help of the tribe's leader, Menmuny, the tribe moved to the mission now known as Yarrabah Community. The mission was settled in 1893. Over time, many people (including some South Sea Islanders) were relocated[clarification needed] from homelands in the surrounding area to Yarrabah.
In 1957, the Yarrabah residents staged a strike to protest poor working conditions, inadequate food, health problems and harsh administration. The church expelled the ringleaders and many others left voluntarily, never to return. A few years later, the Government of Queensland assumed control of the mission. As a result, still today most of Yarrabah is Crown Land. Native Title claims here are hard to put forward, due to the very fragmented ethnic composition of this community, with many Aboriginal people in Yarrabah having been settled here from other areas, including interstate.
In 1965, an advisory council was set up which allowed Aboriginal people to give "advice" to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, but it had no actual power and the government continued to control all aspects of local people's lives. In 1979, several community members joined a union but were stood down.
Eventually, on 27 October 1986, the community received Deed of Grant in Trust land tenure, making it subject to the Community Services (Aborigines) Act 1984, which allowed for self-governing Aboriginal Community Councils with a range of powers and controls over the land. With the passage of reforms in 2005, the Council became an "Aboriginal Shire" and gained the authority of a legal local government.
Following the 2001 Cape York Justice Study findings, Yarrabah became one of many indigenous communities in Queensland to be subject to an alcohol management plan. Restrictions on alcohol possession commenced on 6 February 2004, with a review by 2006. A 2012 survey for another review showed the community was divided on easing restrictions.
On 23 July 2007, Yarrabah hosted the Cabinet of the Queensland Government in the first ever Cabinet meeting to be held in an indigenous Australian community. On 1 October 2007, the Howard Coalition Government chose Yarrabah as the first recipient of what was said to be a 'landmark housing and welfare reform agreement'.
In 2009 as part of the Local Government Reform Agenda in Queensland, the Council gained recognition as a local government council.
The population of community was given to be about 630 indigenous persons in 1952.
According to the 2016 Census the town had a population of 2,559 people. However, note that official estimates of population may be undercounts due to both language barriers and the transient nature of residence of the outstations.
Of those, 97.4% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The median age of Yarrabah residents was 23, compared with 38 nationally. The majority of the Yarrabah workforce was engaged as either labourers or as community and personal service workers, and worked in local government administration or social assistance services. The median individual income was $224 per week compared with $534 per week for the Cairns statistical district.
84.8% of people spoke only English at home. Other languages spoken at home included Kriol at 6.7%. The most common responses for religion were Anglican 84.6% and No Religion 7.4%.
The Yarrabah community has a state pre-school, primary school and high school, which extends to Year 10 only. The nearest school for students continuing on to senior years (Year 11–12) is located in Gordonvale. Pupils who attend the Gordonvale High School commute to and from it with a free-of-charge school bus, which is the only public transport available for Yarrabah residents. A few decades back a ferry service used to take pupils to and from school in Cairns, before the road to Yarrabah was sealed. This service is no longer in use.
The Yarrabah community has a public library which serves a number of purposes including access to computers and the Internet, equipment to watch movies on DVD, and educational links including a Homework Centre (a Federal Government initiative) and access to the RATEP (Aboriginal Teacher Education Program) at James Cook University in Townsville for those training to be teachers.
The Yarrabah community has its own newsletter entitled Yarrabah News, published monthly since the late 1970s.
Yarrabah has one small supermarket run by local people, two hot food take-away shops, a local bakery and a drive-in pub, as well as a service station. For most other commercial needs, people need to travel to Gordonvale, Edmonton or Cairns. The road to the community is bitumen sealed and is accessible all year round despite weather conditions.
Ergon Energy powers the station and the residences. Ergon Energy power lines power the whole community as far as the Oombunji suburb (5-10 kilometres from the Community). Residents who live further than Oombunji and other places/suburbs in Yarrabah such as Wungu ('sounds of corroboree dance'), Back Beach, Buddabaddoo, King Beach, Turtle Bay and Jilji have to use power generators for electricity. People who live in these outer places/suburbs can also adapt to live without power. The area is subjected to power blackouts especially during the wet season. During the blackouts there are no cooking facilities. Some blackouts have been known to last up to five days.
Yarrabah's medical needs are serviced by a multi-disciplinary primary health care centre, which handles emergencies and general practice care, but does not have inpatient facilities. It is staffed 24 hours a day by staff who mostly commute from Cairns.
A police station and a police citizens youth club are also within the township. Issues of concern include violence, alcohol/substance abuse, domestic violence, and high unemployment. Previously youth suicide was higher than surrounding areas.
The township has had a brass band since 1901 to the 1950s, until resurrected in 2013, making their debut at the inaugural Yarrabah Band Festival. The festival itself is now held annually around October, drawing a crowd of about 4000 persons.
Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council operates an Indigenous Knowledge Centre library service located at Lot 207 Noble Drive which opened in 2015. The $1.9 million facility was built both for and by the people of Yarrabah, offering learning opportunities even during its construction. Funding for the Centre was secured in 2012 by Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt, who officially opened the Yarrabah Knowledge Centre on 19 November. Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Science and Innovation, was also in attendance.
The Yarrabah Menmuny Museum, opened in 1996, is located in the Jilji suburb. The museum's name comes the local tribe leader of the late 1800s, Menmuny, who was also given the title 'King John' Menmuny, who died circa 1919. A later elder was 'King' Albert Maywee.
Yarrabah used to be serviced by the Paradise Bus, which is based in Babinda and privately run. As of 2016 this bus service only provides a regular service along the Bruce Highway, about 30 km from Yarrabah, which joins the community of Gordonvale (south of Cairns), with the suburb of Edmonton and the Cairns CBD.
A ferry service used to be in place at Yarrabah, back in the days when there were no sealed roads to reach Cairns. Locals used to call this ferry a 'flatty'. It used to carry school children back and forth from Yarrabah to the city of Cairns. A project to build a new wharf at Yarrabah is in place, after the Queensland Government allocated 7 million dollars to this purpose. It is expected when this new wharf becomes operational, regular and reliable water transport will be resumed for Yarrabah, which lies only 11 kilometres by sea from the Cairns waterfront.
Youth can be occasionally riding some of the brumbies of the area, without saddles.
Notes and references
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Yarrabah (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 May 2019. Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
- Dixon 2011, p. 229.
- "Yarrabah - town in Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire (entry 38504)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
- "Yarrabah - locality in Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire (entry 45792)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
- "A History of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council". Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
- This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map". State Library of Queensland. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "Queensland school anniversaries (2017)". Queensland Government Department of Education and Training. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
- "Community alcohol limits: Yarrabah". Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. The State of Queensland. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Freedom of information request" (PDF). Department of Premier and Cabinet. The State of Queensland. 6 July 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Yarrabah Mayor reveals division over easing grog bans". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- Queensland Cabinet Meets in far north, news.com.au;
- Yarrabah, Govt to sign welfare deal news.com.au website. Retrieved 2 October 2007.
- "World of Its Own: Queensland Aboriginal Village". The Age. Victoria, Australia. 20 December 1952. p. 11. Retrieved 10 May 2020 – via Trove.
- Limerick, Michael (2009). "Yarrabah Shire Council Governance Case Study" (PDF). p. 94. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
- MASON, Grace (14 November 2017). "Yarrabah health service to be shut down overnight". Cairns Post. Cairns Post. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Yarrabah turmoil: Brawls, beatings and mobile phones". Cairns Post. 4 September 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "From lateral violence to lateral love: the online project restoring pride to Yarrabah". SBS. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Police bombarded with bricks, bottles, eggs as violence erupts in Aboriginal community Yarrabah". Courier-Mail (Brisbane). 21 March 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- HARTLEY, Anna (28 December 2018). "Far north Queensland Indigenous community reflects on two decades of tackling suicide crisis". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Advertising". Morning Post (Cairns). Queensland, Australia. 5 January 1904. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2020 – via Trove.
- "Excursion to Yarrabah". Cairns Post. Queensland, Australia. 12 December 1924. p. 4. Retrieved 10 May 2020 – via Trove.
- "TO Yarrabah Mission Monster Celebration". Cairns Post. Queensland, Australia. 24 June 1933. p. 3. Retrieved 10 May 2020 – via Trove.
- 2015 'Chris Tamwoy to play Yarrabah Festival', Torres News (Thursday Island, Qld. : 1957-2015), 2 November, p. 7. , viewed 10 May 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255548448
- SEXTON-McGRATH, Kristy (9 November 2014). "Yarrabah Band Festival: Return of the brass band brings thousands out to Indigenous community". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- MacALPINE, Todd (29 September 2017). "Yarrabah Band Festival". NQ Music Press. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "Yarrabah Knowledge Centre". State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
- "Yarrabah Knowledge Centre". Public Libraries Connect. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- "Yarrabah's $1.9 million Indigenous Knowledge Centre officially opens". Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
- "Menmuny Museum". Yarrabah Aboriginal Community - Queensland. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
- "40 years among blacks". The Australasian. Victoria, Australia. 2 August 1930. p. 5 (METROPOLITAN EDITION). Retrieved 10 May 2020 – via Trove.
- "Ministers Fraternal". Cairns Post. Queensland, Australia. 6 August 1936. p. 8. Retrieved 10 May 2020 – via Trove.
- "Yarrabah Jetty project". Department of Transport and Main Roads. State of Queensland. Retrieved 10 May 2020.
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