Palm Island Queensland

Aboriginal “medicine man”. Palm Island, Queensland, 1930. Photo by E.O. Hoppe.

Before settlers arrived in North Queensland, Palm Island belonged to the Manbarra people. Descendants of the Manbarra were still living on the tropical island, 65 km NE. of Townsville, when in 1914 the Queensland Government gazetted the Island as a reserve.

Palm Island was named for the cabbage tree palms growing there by Captain James Cook in 1770. It became a settlement for people from very different tribal groups who were brought here in the forties and fifties by the white administration, especially children of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry, the "stolen generation". It is now a self governing Aboriginal community.

Palm Island Pier has daily ferry links to Townsville

Great Palm Island, also known as Palm Island, or by the Aboriginal name Bwgcolman, is a tropical island with a resident community of about 2,000 people.
It is the main island of the Greater Palm group, and consists of small bays, sandy beaches and steep forested mountains rising to a peak of 548 metres (1,798 ft).
The ocean surrounding the island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park where extraction and fishing are regulated.

Palm Island is rich in natural beauty, both fauna and flora.Palm Island's rich volcanic soil supports tropical flora such as mangroves, eucalypt forest, rainforests, hoop pine, mango, banana, pawpaw (papaya) and wild plum trees. The surrounding bays have a diverse marine fauna including coral trout, crayfish and coral reefs.

Palm Island is home to two clan groups, Manbarra (traditional owners) and the larger group Bwgcolman, which incorporates all other Aboriginal and Torres Strait families/clans who have historical links to the island.

Short Joes Horse Trails can take mainland visitors for an eight- hour horse ride to places inaccessible by road: Bamboo Creek, Wallaby Creek , or a cooling swim in a waterhole. There is also bushtucker lunch of possum, goat, goanna, turtle at the end of the horse trek

Sunferries currently conduct three return ferry services to Palm Island per week departing on Monday,Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

This service takes approximately 2 hours travel time each way. Due to the fact that vessel access to the Palm Island jetty is tidal, the timetable for this service can change weekly

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