Pormpuraaw (formerly Edward River) was established as an Anglican Mission in 1983. The Anglicans had established Kowanyama in 1905 but realised that there were conflicts arising as a result of bringing many tribes together from such a large area. The Anglican Missionaries then sought to establish a number of smaller missions in the area. The first mission was located at the present Pormpuraaw site and took hold.Like all cape missions, government rationed subsidies for aboriginal people at Pormpuraaw was about one third of what was required to exist, so most of the men and boys were sent out to work on the cattle stations in the region. This enabled them to stay close to their traditional country.
At the same time the Anglicans removed women and children from the cattle stations in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Dormitories were established to contain the women and children and provide schooling. Erratic rationing meant that most 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 periods when rationing of fuel prevented the mission boat from 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 (DOGIT). This enabled the council to have full local government authority over the trust area of 466,198 hectares. In 2004 Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Community Council became a Shire Council incorporated under the Local Government (Community Government Areas) Act 2004.