(Video still coming for Mornington Island Radio …. just as soon as we can get our crew up there)
Mornington Island Shire is a group of islands including the North Wellesley (Mornington, Sydney and Wallaby) and South Wellesley (Bentinck and Sweers) Islands in the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, 125 km north of Burketown, 200 km west of Karumba and 444 km north of Mount Isa. The Shire has an area of 1232.4 square km (which includes 28 traditional family land outstations). The township of Mornington Island is Gununa.
The population of 1124 comprises primarily of people of the Lardil, Yungkal and Kaiadilt tribes. The original people of Mornington Island were the Lardil tribe which formerly occupied the North Wellesley Islands. Yangkal tribal lands consist of the islands between Mornington and the mainland. The Kaiadilt tribal group occupied the South Wellesley Islands
The Lardil people had little or no contact with the outside world before the early 1900s. The township now known as Gununa began in 1914 when the Presbyterians sent missionaries and Lardil and Yangkal peoples were brought together. In 1948, a tidal wave devastated the water supply and the Kaiadilt people were also brought into the settlement.
The Uniting Church managed Mornington Island from the early 1900s. But in 1978 the Queensland Government decided to take control of the Island. The community protested against the state government’s decision and went to the Commonwealth Government for support. By the end of the year, the federal government and Queensland agreed on self-government for the island.
Mornington Island based community services include a community health service, child safety support officer, environmental health support, women’s shelter, state school to year 10 and TAFE.