Cassowary Coast Region Community


Traditional Owners :

Mamu, Girramay, Djiru, Gulnay, Jirrbal and Bandjin peoples

Languages :

The following Aboriginal languages are present in the region: Bandjin, Djiru, Girramay, Gugu Badhun, Fulnay, Jirrbal, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, and Warungnu. Although English is widely spoken, Aboriginal English is primarily used throughout the community.

Population :

A population of 28,726 as of a 2016 census of the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Community Location :

70 Rankin St, Innisfail QLD 4860, Australia

About Cassowary Coast Region Community

Cassowary Coast Region is named after an endangered flightless bird that lives in the region. This community is located in the Far North Queensland, south of Cairns. The region includes towns, rural and coastal communities and covers an area of approximately 4,700 square kilometres. It covers the towns of Innisfail, Mission Beach, Tully, and Cardwell.


Cassowary Coast boasts of its multicultural diversity, amazing rainforests, islands, reefs, balmy climate, and abundant water supply.


The traditional owners of the community are the Mamu and Girringun Aboriginal people. The former has five clans which are the Bagirgabara, Dulgubara, Dyiribara, Mandubara, and Waribara. On the other hand, the Girringun has nine clans namely the Bandjin, Djiru, Girramay, Gugu Badhun, Gulnay, Jirrbal, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, and Warungnu. Despite the number of clans sharing the same region, they are all coastal rainforest people who share a common lifestyle.


The Mamu People are custodians of the The Mamu Rainforest Canopy Walkway located within the Wooroonooran National Park on the Palmerston Range.


The Girringun Aboriginal Corporation is in charge of the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, based in Cardwell that promotes & preserves the culture of traditional owners. The said Art Centre nurtures the talents of the artists and artisans that include weavers, jewellery makers, painters and sculptors.


The Indigenous population of Cassowary Coast region is estimated at 8.3%, which is 6% higher than Queensland’s average. The multicultural diversity of that population is emphasised with 8.7% speaking languages aside from English.


One of the best things about North Queensland is its climate which makes it possible for anyone to have an amazing holiday at any time of the year. However, the weather still varies in other parts of the country, so knowing what to expect can help. Remember, there are only two seasons: wet and dry.


The wet season starts in November and ends in April. Although monsoon troughs and storms are common during this time of year, it actually rarely rains all day. Tourists can still typically enjoy sunny days with a storm in the afternoon or evening. The wet season brings out the bright colours of the rainforest and also the waterfalls are breathtakingly full. It is also the time of the year when the water around the Great Barrier Reef is its calmest; therefore, making it the ideal time for snorkelling and diving.


The month of May signals the start of the dry season which ends in October. During this time, the air tends to be cooler, but it may still reach up to 20 degrees which rarely drops to 17 degrees. Enjoy low rainfall and gorgeous sunny days, which makes this season the most popular time to visit North Queensland. Plus, the ocean is also free from marine stingers so tourists can swim almost anywhere even without protective suits and nets.







Image Attribution: self [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

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How to Get There

The Cassowary Coast Region is situated between two major cities, the Cairns in the North and Townsville in the South. Bruce Highway connects the coast to the other parts of the nation and passes through many of the region’s townships namely: Innisfail, Tully, Mission Beach and Cardwell.


By Self-drive


From Cairns: Get on Bruce Hwy/A1. Distance is about 88km which can be driven for about 1 hour. 

From Townsville: Distance is about 239 km. Head west on Bruce Hwy/A1.  Drive time is about 3 hours.

By Train


Take the Queensland Rail Travel that runs regularly between Cairns and Brisbane with stops in Innisfail, Tully and Cardwell.


Phone: 1800 872 467


Check the Train Timetable 


By Bus


Premier Motor Service Coaches operates regularly between Cairns and Brisbane with stops on the Cassowary Coast at Innisfail, Mourilyan, Silkwood, El Arish, Mission Beach, Tully and Cardwell.  Departing from Cairns' Central Railway Station and the first stop will be at Anzac Park, Innisfail.


By Taxi


You can get a taxi serviced by Cairns Taxis along Maranoa St near Parramatta Park. The taxi will take you to Innisfail for approximately 1 hour and 7 minutes. Estimated cost range is $ 220 - $ 270.


By Sea


Cassowary coast region can also be accessed by sea through a commercial port at Mourilyan Harbour.


The settlers who moved into this region from 1889 onwards were exceptionally diverse. The first influential group were Anglo-Celtic, but they were soon joined by "Kanaka" South Sea Islanders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait workers, Chinese miners who developed the banana industry and retail businesses, French merchants and German timber and sugar producers.

Hull River Aboriginal Mission was an Aboriginal Mission established in the early 1900s in what is now called Mission beach, a coastal town in the Hull River National Park, Queensland, Australia. "Mission Beach" was derived from the Aboriginal settlement which was referred to by the members of the local community members as " The Mission". 

The Hull River area lies within the traditional tribal territory of the JiDjiru speaking Aboriginal people who were close neighbours to the Jirrbal, Gulngay and Mamu speaking people from the adjacent rainforests. During the settlement, there were probably less than a fifth of the original people still in the area.

The Hull River Aboriginal Settlement was a Queensland Government settlement that operated from 1914. As the settlement became established, more people were brought to live there. In the year it was established, 41 Aboriginal people were brought in.

By the end of 1915, There were already about 400 Aboriginal people, of which was 20 from Mourilyan, 159 from the Tully and Murray Rivers and other towns. By 1916, the settlement had about 490 Aboriginal people.

On March 10, 1918 a severe tropical cyclone passed the region that devastated and damaged almost  every building in the town. All the boats at the settlement were destroyed. Several people were swept away and drowned. Some were killed by collapsed buildings, and flying debris. Some headed to the bush to hide but did not survive.

The Great Palm Island located 37 miles off the coast north-east of Townsville, was recommended by the Government Health Inspector in 1918 to become the designated reserve for Aboriginal people to replace the Hull River Settlement. Great Palm Island was free of malarial swamps and had a good supply of fresh water. The government had decided not to rebuild the settlement. In June 1918, the people in Hull River were taken to the new location. Policemen had also taken some people in the bush to be transported to Palm Island. Even as the years passed, Aboriginal people were continued to be taken from areas of Cardwell and Tully to Palm Island.

In 1939 a township was surveyed by D. Ryland; it was named “Kenny”, and the first lots went on sale at the Tully Court House in December of the same year. The town became ”South Mission Beach” since none of the locals called it Kenny.

Today the Jirribal people still occupy their original territory at Murray Upper, south of Tully, maintaining a language and hunting and gathering lifestyle dating back perhaps 40,000 years.

The Mamu and Girringun Aboriginal were established as the traditional owners of the Cassowary  Coast. These two corporations take the lead in matters that affects the Aboriginal people of the area while preserving their culture and tradition, at the same time, caring for the land.