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Aboriginal Culture - Hope Vale & Elim Beach

Wanhtharra nyundu! Welcome to Guugu Yimithirr country! Hopevale (Dyuubi) and Elim Beach (Thiithaarr) are on Guugu Yimithirr country, a tribal nation which stretched from the River Annan, south of Cooktown, to Princess Charlotte Bay in the north.

Child at HopevaleThis is a region rich in Aboriginal story-places, special geographical landmarks and ancient rock art. 

Hope Vale was built in the late 1940s and today has a population of around 1,500 people. It was originally a Mission run by the Lutheran Church, who brought Aboriginal people from all over Australia, so now there is a mixture of languages and culture in the community, although Guugu Yimithirr is the language most spoken after English.

Cape Bedford and Elim was the original location of the Lutheran Mission founded in 1876. The buildings no longer remain, but a large wooden cross marks the place of the original mission. It is a very beautiful area, and today many Hope Vale people have a shack here and go fishing at weekends.

The best way to enjoy this beautiful area is to spend time with the locals.

Visit the Hope Vale Arts and Cultural Centre. This is the centre for local artists, craftspeople and dancers, and there is always a great display of locally-produced art and artefacts for sale. You can sit on the balcony and have a yarn with the artists as well.

Visit the Nugal rock art sites in the hills high above Hope Vale. Previously inaccessible to the public, they can now be visited in the company of Nugal-warra Elder and story-keeper, Willie Gordon of Guurrbi Tours. Willie’s tours are now listed as One of Australia’s Ultimate Must-Do Experiences, and are not to be missed. 

Share a bush feast and a yarn with Irene Hammett of Maaramaka Walkabout Tours. Irene is a Bulgun-warra woman who lives on the outskirts of Hope Vale. She has a wealth of interesting and entertaining stories about her culture and growing up in the area.

Thiithaarr-warra Elder, Eddie Deemal, has a water-front campground on Elim Beach, and loves yarning with visitors when he’s not wading offshore spearing supper. This is the perfect base from which to visit the spectacular Coloured Sands.