The Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) is made up of five indigenous communities, settled by clans from across Cape York and the Torres Strait. The region consists of five communities; three aboriginal comunities and two Saibai Islander commuunities.
Injinoo The first established settlement was that of five semi-nomadic tribes, who came together in peace to settle Injinoo at the mouth of Cowal Creek (meaning Small River). These clans were the Anggamuthi, Atambaya, Wuthathi, Yadaigana and Gudang clans. Their decendants, the people of Injinoo, are the traditional owners of the land.
Umagico Was formed by one of Injinoo’s founding families, the Williams, who wanted to live seperate to the community. When the people of Lockhart River were forced from their own land, they were given permission by the traditional owners to settle in Umagico. The community’s name means ‘Black headed python place’.
Bamaga When the people of Saibai Island, in theTorres Strait began to fear for their future supplies of fresh water, a few families decided to relocate to the mainland. The Injinoo people granted permission for them to settle in ther area now known as Bamaga. The community was named after it’s founder, Bamaga Ginau and is now the administrative hub of the NPA, as it is in the center of the five communities.
New Mapoon The people of Mapoon (now known as Old Mapoon), were forcibly removed from their homes in the 1960s. Some went south to resettle near Cairns, some were moved North and were granted permission to settle the community of New Mapoon. The community is named after ‘Mandingnou’, the original name of the area where new Mapoon is located, meaning ‘Place of spring’. The people of Mapoon still have very strong ties to their homeland, and some have moved back to resettle in the area of their original community.
Seisia The final community to be settled in the NPA, Seisia is another settlement of Saibai Islander people. The island people preferred to live by the sea, so as more families followed in pursuit of fresh water and land, they resettled at the site of the old Red Island Wharf. The name Seisia is made up from the first letter of each of the brothers Sagaukauz, Elu, Ibuai, Sunai, Isua and Aken, the founding brothers of the commnuity.
Since the Dreamtime, indigenous culture has been passed down from generation to generation through story telling, song, dance and visual art. Cultural traditions are practised throughour the NPA and the people have a strong connection to the country and the sea. The NPA is home to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art including carving, lino printing, painting and cultural artefacts.
photos courtesy of Jessica Saxton, NPARC Media