Historical Queensland church project wins funding after 15 years 1024 603 Layla Kirchhoff

Historical Queensland church project wins funding after 15 years

Today, in collaboration with Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council, the Western Cape Communities Trust has announced an incredible $1.65 million investment to rebuild the historical (landmark) Mapoon Church in one of Queensland’s most scenic Top – End regions.

The major investment comes after fifteen years advocating for funding for the significant project.

The WCCT Transition Manager Michelle Kostecki says the aspirations of residents and traditional owners (past and present) to rebuild the church has finally become a reality, regardless of the rejected funding applications they received. 

“The CEO, Mayor and councillors continually look for opportunities to build capacity, strategic partnerships and unity for the community, and the Northern Sub-Regional Trust (NSRT, part of WCCT) is proud to have the financial capacity to support their significant project under community development,” says Ms Kostecki.

Recognising traditional ownership and cultural heritage (site protection), the funding will directly support renovations and the entire redevelopment of a new church in the remote area.

Mayor Aileen Addo says the community is “truly grateful” for the investment.

“For fifteen years, residents of Mapoon Aboriginal Shire, along with other organisations, have been working hard to secure funding support to rebuild the historical town church,” says Cr. Addo.

“Destroyed during the removal of families (in Mapoon) in the 1960’s, the church is an essential infrastructure of high importance, both  culturally and spiritually.”

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council CEO Naseem Chetty says the Council has aimed to gain support from both State and Commonwealth Governments for funding support, but has been unsuccessful on every instance.

“It has been a lengthy and tiresome process to gain support for such a culturally (and spiritually) significant historical site,” says Chetty.

“Such critical infrastructure is essential for many around Australia (and the world)… this investment is met with great recognition to the WCCT.”

The Red Beach site for the new building has been pre-approved by all interested parties, with community consultations to commence early in 2019.

“The funding will greatly support our progression and allow our residents a place to worship, pay respects and hold funerals,” says Chetty.

“Also, the project will directly employ approximately 9 local (indigenous) residents on a full time basis, which is an excellent outcome and part of our region goals to empower our community.”

Airstrip funding will improve connectivity 1024 611 Layla Kirchhoff

Airstrip funding will improve connectivity

Some of Australia’s most remote communities will be better connected to vital supplies, transport and medical services thanks to the Federal Government’s Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program.

Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the (RAUP) program was about improving the safety and accessibility of airstrips across remote Australia to better connect communities to the services they need to survive and thrive.

“For many Australians living in remote communities, airstrips are needed to get essential supplies, mail deliveries and potentially lifesaving medical services, as well as connect with education and employment opportunities and travel long distances,” says the Deputy PM.

And, under program funding round 5, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council was awarded amongst the nation’s highest funding, with $975,000.00 invested to support safety works including; new fencing, runway extension, sealed runway and emergency power generators.

Mayor Aileen Addo says the Council worked hard to secure the support, “and we are always extremely excited to welcome investment in our region”.

“The funding will improve safety and access to Mapoon aerodrome, ensuring residents remain better connected to the essential services they need,” says Cr Addo.

Royal Flying Doctor Service Chief Executive Dr Martin Laverty says the remote Australia health service simply “couldn’t operate without this essential funding program”.

“Safety improvements such as night lighting or navigation aids for the Flying Doctor to land in health emergencies at otherwise unserviceable airstrips are of huge importance… the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program saves lives,” explained Dr Laverty.

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council CEO Ms Naseem Chetty says the organisation is “making big moves to support local indigenous residents”.

“At Council, we are driving change and working hard to strengthen the region, we are in an exciting space and moving in the right direction,” says Chetty.

“It is important for all communities to have great transport links and even more so here, in the pristine Mapoon region, where our local airstrip is a crucial piece of community infrastructure.”

For many Australians living in remote communities, airstrips are needed to get essential supplies, mail deliveries and potentially lifesaving medical services, as well as connect with education and employment opportunities and travel long distances.

The aerodrome safety works are set to commence shortly.


Paanja draws record crowds 492 512 Layla Kirchhoff

Paanja draws record crowds

Over the weekend the Paanja Festival was held in the pristine top end town of Mapoon, proudly supported by Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council.

Over four days more than 3000 festival goers rocked out to local and national bands at the 55th anniversary.

The festival commemorates the forced removal of Indigenous people from Mapoon in 1963, and currently sits right up there amongst the four best events in the Cape York peninsula area, along with Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival and Cooktown Discovery Festival.

Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council CEO Ms Naseem Chetty says along with Laura, Pannja is an excellent event to experience the rich Australian Indigenous culture.

“This event is blossoming; we have had record crowds attend, stellar performances and a truly unique vibe this year at Paanja,” says CEO Chetty.

“This year’s event surpassed all expectations and the festival, (contributing an estimate of over $1.3 million annually to the local, remote economy), has truly come of age.”

“Everyone involved had an incredible time, from stall holders to Council support staff, from attendees to artists.”

Mayor Aileen Addo says, it’s been another amazing festival with overwhelming positive feedback from our artists and crowd alike.

“Mapoon has come alive, Paanja is a colourful, cultural celebration, showcasing our heritage as well as some amazing traditional dance performances from across Australia.”

“It is wonderful to see Paanja grow; from a local community festival to an internationally recognised event where artists are reaching out  – keen to be a part of the unique experience.”

And, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council is working hard to deliver for the region; supporting and establishing events like Paanja to shift the region towards greater ownership, empowerment and prosperity.

“Paanja instils great pride and cultural knowledge to all guests that attend, while advancing real employment opportunities for our local creatives and our families – we are blessed to live in one of Australia’s most authentic regions.”

Paanja Festival 2023 aims to be even bigger and better, visit for more information

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Stay in Mapoon

Stay in our pristine region BOOK HERE

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Paanja Fest shaping up to be region’s best

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ANZAC 2018

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Yarn Time Dec 2017

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Funding secured under the Building Better Regions funding program to construct new ‘short-stay’ accommodation in Mapoon. $1.5M secured to develop site and build 6-8 new self-contained structures to support increasing accommodations options in Mapoon.

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MASC Meetings

Shire residents are duly notified of council Ordinary Meeting dates for 2017.

Unless specified in a separate notice – all Ordinary Meetings of Mapoon council will occur on the third Tuesday of every month.

Special Meetings will occur in accordance with the LGA09 and LGR12.

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Road Works – Cape York Program

Visitors and motorists to Mapoon will recognise the continues works to improve the road infrastructure in Mapoon.

Trathalarrakawana St out to Cullen Point received a two coat bitumen seal and this incorporated the turn area at the camp grounds and parking at the boat ramp.

Hudson St also received attention with formation and two coat bitumen seal application. This work has eliminated dust and linked the school and clinic on Clermont St with the sports hall on Wheeler St.

Plans and drawings are being developed for the following project sites:

  • Wheeler St
  • Thuungoo Rd
  • Air Strip upgrade

MASC acknowledges the Queensland and Australian Government for their financial support for the road program. MASC also thanks and recognises the team at the Department of Transport and Main Roads.