Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of CouncilsEconomic profile
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About the area

Name origin

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning “place of trees”.

Location and boundaries

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire is located in Far North Queensland, about 50 kilometres east of the Cairns CBD, and 1,700 kilometres north of the Brisbane CBD. Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire is bounded by the Coral Sea in the north and east, and the Cairns Regional Council area in the south and west.

Included areas

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire includes the locality of Yarrabah.

Economic region
Yarrabah Aboriginal (S)

Land use

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire includes an Aboriginal community and surrounding rural areas. The majority of the population is Aboriginal. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 160 square kilometres.

Settlement history

Traditionally, indigenous people lived in the area, and continue to do so. In 1893 Yarrabah was established as an Anglican Mission at Mission Bay on the Cape Grafton Peninsula. In 1960 control of the mission was relinquished. In 1986 a Deed of Grant in Trust was granted, creating the Yarrabah Aboriginal Council. The population increased gradually from the early 1990s, rising from about 1,800 in 1991 to about 2,600 in 2016.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire were the Gunggandji and Yidinji Aboriginal people who continue to live throughout the area and have strong traditional ties with the land.

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