In 1924 people were collected from throughout Cape York and placed on the mission at Lockhart River which became a centre for sandalwood trade. When the Second World War broke out the Europeans left and the Aboriginal people were told to go back to the bush and fend for themselves. In 1947 the mission was reestablished with drastic changes inflicted on how the people should live and behave. In particular, tribal groups were forced to combine into a single community.
In 1964 the church handed over the mission to the Queensland Government who tried to relocate the people to Bamaga. The people refused to go but in 1971 were forced to move away from the traditional area of the coast. No consideration was given to traditional owners of the land and this move resulted in much discontent and friction.
The community has DOGIT status and is governed by its own community council.
Councillors of Lockhart River Community:
- Chairperson: Johnson Chippendale
- Deputy Chair: Paddy Creek
- Cr Gregory Omeenyo
- Cr Dorothy Omeenyo
- Cr Lucy Hobson
- Cr Gregory Pascoe
- Cr Charles Giblet
- Council Clerk: Wayne Butcher
Lockhart River Aboriginal Council
c/o Post Office
Lockhart River QLD 4871
Telephone: (07) 4060 7144
Facsimile: (07) 4060 7139