is the largest township north of Jardine River.
Being the largest community, it is the adminstrative
centre of NPA.
As opposed to the neighbouring Injinoo
and Umagico, it is not
Aboriginal, but a Torres
Strait islander community.
Originally it was a community of Saibai islanders -
right from the northernmost Torres Strait.
Like all the communities up here, there is not much especially for
travellers. But I don't think there has to be.
Just stopping and
some time in the
Australia's largest islander community is interesting
enough if it's your first time experience.
mostly the practical
reasons like the supermarket, the tavern
and the resort (now called the Cape York
Peninsula Lodge), there is also a nice bakery
- but at
a closer look there are also some things to see.
Particularly monuments - if you
are a keen plaque reader, there is some interesting things to read, and
it helps to know a bit of the local history.
The whole area north of Jardine River used to be Aboriginal land
divided between five semi nomadic tribes that at one stage settled where
Injinoo is today. The whole area was the land of Injinoo people,
including what was called Ichuru
- the place where Bamaga is today.
World War History
came the Second World War. Australia was the next Japanese target after
PNG, and northern Australia obviously was the first front, with
northern Cape York peninsula being a busy war zone. Today
are many different relics and monuments.
Ichuru was still Injinoo land, even after the WWII. It was about five
years after the end of the war as Saibai islanders got flooding and
freshwater problems back home, and the Injinoo Aboriginal people kindly
let them move in. That started Bamaga and Seisia.
Across the street from the supermarket, Bamaga Tavern is the only
pub in the NPA, and it has had a nice facelift in the
The public bar renovated and
colourful, and the bistro,
as before, serving big meals.
Bamaga Resort is now called the Cape York Peninsula Lodge, there are
hotel rooms as well as cabins on the grounds next to Mosby Creek.
But the main thing for us
locals, is the Lodge Restaurant,
which has a buffet night a week, plus an a la carte menu with some
healthiest and least fatty choices in the NPA.
You might like to enjoy a night of this on your travels :-)
But a great place for lunch - right in the main street - is the
Over the years it's been called the Bamaga Bakehouse, See Hop, and
Kai, and now that Bernie is back in town, so are her famous local
crayfish pies :-)
whole NPA (Northern Peninsula
Area) used to be Aboriginal land divided between five semi
nomadic tribes - Atambaya,
Anggamuthi, Yadaigana, Gudang and Wuthathi. The tribes fought a fair
bit, but at one stage a group of people from different tribes came to
peace and decided
to settle where Injinoo
The whole area was the land of
Injinoo people before, during and after the WWII,
including Ichuru -
the place where Bamaga is today.
came the Second World
War. The First World War didn't reach Australia,
over in Europe. But the WWII did come to Australia, which was the next
Japanese target after PNG. Northern Australia obviously was the first
front, particularly the Top End of Northern Territory and Cape York
Island was the second most bombed base after Darwin, so the tip of Cape
York peninsula was a busy battle field. Today there are many air plane wrecks
around the town, along with fuel dumps and other remnants.
Just like Horn
Bamaga also got its air
strip during the war, which today still is a working airport.
At the airport, there is also
a monument for Jackey
Jackey - the Aboriginal friend of Edmund Kennedy and the
only survivor of the Kennedy expedition, after whom the airfield was
is another monument
for a small passenger
plane that in May 2005 left this airport for Cairns, but crashed
south of Papua New Guinea, Saibai
Island is an Australian island, just like all other Torres
Strait islands. It may look fairly big on the map but is largely
of lots of swamplands and flooded areas.
After the WWII some particularly
coinsided with Saibai soldiers returning from the war, telling the
locals that there may be a solution if they move to the tip of
The Saibai leader, Bamaga Ginau, made
the decision after a meeting to relocate to the mainland for the safety
of their future generations. In 1946, two luggers were bought, to take
the leader and a few families of
to the tip of Cape York.
After asking permission from Injinoo people, they first settled at
Mutee Head, while better places were found and built. In 1949, just
after they found Bamaga, the leader Bamaga
Ginau became sick
and was taken to Thursday
Island hospital, where he passed away.
I don't have to mention how the township got its name!
As the housing was
gradually built most families moved slowly from Mutee
Head to Bamaga. In 1954 most
completed and more people also arrived from Saibai Island.
Today, with a mixed population
of about 800, it is the largest of all the communities in
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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This site uses British
English, which is the English we use in
best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information on this
website is correct, this site is not to be blamed should there be a
My main project is still to improve every single page on this website with more information and more, better photos. With almost 300 pages and so many photos to go through, it is very time consuming work, but it gradually happens, every day, right now :-)
This is the ORIGINAL Cape York Travel Guide run Locally on the Peninsula.