It is a dynamic Aboriginal community surrounded by tropical native bushland and mountain ranges united by sandy coastlines and coral reefs.
Yarrabah originated as the Bellenden-Ker Mission by Reverend John Brown Gribble in 1882 and was later named Yarrabah Mission. During that time, Aboriginal people and some South Sea Islanders from many different groups and areas across Queensland were forcibly relocated to Yarrabah. Today, the community has a population of 2,559 and many families in the community claim historical and traditional ties to the area that encompasses about 158.8 square kilometres.
The region’s first Aboriginal Council was established in the mid 1960’s and the Aboriginal Shire Council later became Local Government under the Local Government Act 2009.
The region’s first museum, the Menmuny Museum was built in 1996 and was dedicated to housing an archival collection revealing the traditions and impact of Christianity on the Yarrabah community.
The remnants of the mission times are an important collection gathered for the people, by the people. Some of the material in the collection was transferred from the Queensland Museum.
The Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Precinct was established in 2002 to provide facilities for local artists to strengthen art and cultural practice across weaving, painting and ceramics.
Well known for its pottery, Yarrabah Arts Centre continues to produce outstanding work and increase its profile in the national and international Indigenous arts market, strengthening local economic development in support of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council’s long-term strategic planning.
These plans enrich traditional practice and offer opportunities for national and international visitors wishing to learn more about the rich Indigenous culture of tropical north Queensland. In partnership with the Department of Communication and the Arts, Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support (IVAIS) program and Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts (BIA) – Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Precinct deliver an exciting and ambitious visual arts program focused on strengthening the sustainability of the Art Centre, preserving culture and providing economic opportunities for artists.