Mapoon was the first mission established by the Presbyterians in Queensland, in 1891. It began with the help of Moravian missionaries who also initiated other mission work with the Church at the time.
Mapoon remained a Presbyterian mission until the Queensland Government forced its closure in 1963, against the will of the community but with the cooperation of the church. The final act of closure saw the government burn down the settlement, including the church building and people’s houses.
People resettled at a new township built for them, called New Mapoon, as well as at places like Napranum, Normanton and Cairns.
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After Mapoon’s closure, there was always a strong desire by a number of the ex-residents to go back and live at Mapoon. Beginning in 1974 and through the 1980s people slowly resettled Mapoon, against the policy of the state government at the time.
The leaders began their own Marpuna Corporation which gradually built up the community to a stage where people could resettle permanently. Government recognition followed.
Mapoon is now an Aboriginal reserve with a population of 310 according to the 2016 census.
There is a small worshiping church group of around 30 people. The ministerial placement is a combined one with the Weipa Uniting-Anglican church. The Rev Craig Mischewski will be the minister for both congregations. The congregation has a group of young lay leaders.
Church Building Appeal
The 2015 Uniting Church Assembly re-launched a building appeal for a new church at Mapoon.
The Mapoon Council has approved a location for a new church building which will be used by the community not only as a worship centre but for other meeting activities.