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History

The original site for the township of Bamaga was at a site known as "Muttee Heads" some 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the present Bamaga township. This site was established after World War 2 by people from Saibai Island in Torres Strait, led by a man named Bamaga, after Saibai Island was devastated by abnormally high tides.

In 1947, the Bamaga township was moved to its present site as a result of a need by the founding people for a larger supply of fresh water. With local industries and an airport (on Urradhi traditional land) Bamaga became the administrative centre for the Northern Peninsula Area which was made up of the three Aboriginal communities of Injinoo, Umagico and New Mapoon, and the Islander communities of Seisia and Bamaga. All five are Deed Of Grant In Trust communities with their own community councils.

The People

According to the 2011 Census there are 1046 people in Bamaga, with just under half (47.2%) being male and just over half (52.8%) being female.

845 people identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander making up just over 80% of the local population.

The traditional languages are predominantly KalawKawawYa, Brokan (Torres Strait Creole), and English, particularly for education and government business.

bamaga history

Saltwater people

Bamaga was established after Saibai Island in the Torres Strait was devastated by abnormally high tides