Community Life

Pormpuraaw is on the West Coast of Cape York, about 500 kilometres from the tip of Australia, just south of the Edward River. It's the home of the Thaayorre, Wik, Bakanh and Yir Yoront people.
Pormpuraaw (formerly Edward River) was established as an Anglican Mission in 1938. The Anglicans had established Kowanyama in 1905 but realized that there were conflicts resulting from bringing tribes from such a large area together. Therefore they sought to establish a number of smaller missions in the area. The first was located at the present site of Pormpuraaw Mission and took hold.

Like all Cape Missions, Government rationing subsidiaries for Aboriginal people at Pormpuraaw was about one third of what was required to keep them, so most of the men and boys were sent out to work on cattle stations in the region. This enabled them to stay close to their traditional country. The Anglicans also took women and children whom were removed from cattle stations in the Gulf of Carpenteria. Dormitories were established for schooling and containing women and children. However, erratic rationing meant that most of the people were still required to hunt and collect food from the surrounding bush, which helped maintain cultural connection with the land. The reliance on bush food was especially critical during the war, when rationing of fuel prevented the mission boat going to Normanton for supplies.
In 1986 the Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Community Council gained title to the Area by way of a Deed of Grant in Trust. This enabled the council to have full Local Government authority over the trust area of 466,198 hectares'. In 2004 Pormpuraaw Council became a Shire incorporated under the Local Government (Community Government Areas) Act 2004.