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Aurukun Shire Mayor and Councillors take office

[by Liz Inglis]


The newly sworn-in Aurukun Shire Council team (from left) Deputy Mayor Craig Koomeeta, Cr Jayden Marrott, Mayor Barbara Bandicootcha, Cr Leona Yunkaporta and Cr Eloise Yunkaporta. Image: supplied



In 1970, Lynda Holden faced the daunting prospect of keeping her baby while young, unmarried, and pregnant [supplied by Catherine Szentkuti] 150,000 adoptions took place between 1950 and 1975. It is estimated that one in 15 was forced. Lynda Holden tells her own heartbreaking story and exposes this shameful chapter in Australian history.


Aboriginal people made pottery, sailed to distant islands thousands of years before Europeans arrived [by Sean Ulm, Ian J. McNiven and Kenneth McLean, The Conversation] In new research published in Quaternary Science Reviews, we report the oldest securely dated ceramics found in Australia from archaeological excavations on Jiigurru (in the Lizard Island group) on the northern Great Barrier Reef located 600km south of Torres Strait, showing that the pottery was made locally more than 1,800 years ago.


Farmer charged with harming Aboriginal heritage over change to Lake Bolac stone arrangement [Peter de Kruijff, ABC] John Clarke (pictured) from the corporation has previously told the ABC the stones at Lake Bolac were believed to be a major gathering place before European colonisation.

Aurukun Shire Council Mayor Barbara Bandicootcha and Councillors Craig Koomeeta, Jayden Marrott, Leona Yunkaporta and Eloise Yunkaporta were sworn into office today before holding their first post-election Council meeting in the community.


Cr Craig Koomeeta was re-elected Deputy Mayor. Mayor Barbara Bandicootcha, 49, is from the Puutch clan and has been a Director of the Native Title body Ngan Aak-Kunch Aboriginal Corporation (NAK) for more than a decade with the past eight years as Chair. She is married and has four children living in Weipa and nine grandchildren. Mayor Bandicootcha grew up in different Cape York Peninsula communities as her parents moved around but returned to Aurukun in 2008. She wants work readiness programs introduced into the community and support to keep local people within the workforce.


Deputy Mayor Craig Koomeeta, 46, from the Apalech clan, is serving his third term on Aurukun Shire Council. His first stint was from 2000 to 2003 under Jacob Wolmby when he was just 22 years of age, and he was elected again in 2020 under Keri Tamwoy. Cr Koomeeta’s father Edwin Merkool Koomeeta, his older brother Waal Waal Koomeeta and his older sister Vera Koomeeta also served as councillors. He is currently a Project Officer for the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and is advocating for a community-controlled health centre.


Councillor Jayden Marrott, 26, has been re-elected for his second term on Aurukun Shire Council after serving under Keri Tamwoy. From the Wanam clan, Mr Marrott has been a resident of Aurukun since 2010. A founding member of the Aurukun Youth Advisory Committee, Cr Marrott wants to show that young people can make a change in their community. After attending John Paul College to participate in their sporting Horizons Program, Cr Marrott worked for community agencies and the Aurukun Shire Council in various roles.


Councillor Leona Yunkaporta, 35, is a Kugu woman from the Wanam clan and grew up in Aurukun where she lives with her partner and two young children. She was recently appointed Family Domestic Violence Coordinator with the Aurukun Community Indigenous Corporation and has worked for State and Federal government departments in the community. Cr Yunkaporta grew up with strong female role models in her family and wants to empower women within her community to overcome barriers and break the cycle of violence.


Councillor Eloise Yunkaporta, 38, is Wanam on her father’s side and Apalech on her mother’s side. She is the Office Coordinator for Cape York Employment. Cr Yunkaporta is passionate about her language and has been specialising in Wik Mungkan language projects in media and communications for government departments and the Cape York Institute for more than five years. She was part of the Returning Generations with APN teaching weaving and feather flower making to the children and has a Certificate 4 in professional dance.

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