The Bloomfield River Mission was situated on the Bloomfield River in the Daintree region, north of Cooktown. Formerly known as the Aboriginal Mission Station, the Lutheran Church took control from the government in 1887 and closed the Mission in 1902. Children were housed in dormitories on the Mission for educational purposes.
Problems plagued the Mission from the beginning. The Aboriginal people resisted settlement at the Mission and the government judged the management by the Lutheran Society in South Australia as unsatisfactory. Government funding for the Mission was gradually reduced until it was completely withdrawn in 1900.
An article in the Brisbane Courier in 1900 stated that the government was not happy with the management of the Mission and would not supply more funding until new management was put in place. The Mission was abandoned in 1902.
The Bloomfield Aborigines continued to interact with Europeans, trading their labour for goods and tools. They maintained their traditional culture and remained independent until 1957 when the Wajul Wajul Mission was established at Bloomfield.
1886 - 1887 Aboriginal Mission Station, Bloomfield River
1887 - 1902 Bloomfield River Mission
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Bloomfield Mission Station: Serious Charge Against a Missionary', Queenslander, 6 September 1890, p. 439, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20285709; 'Bloomfield Mission Station', Brisbane Courier, 23 June 1900, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19031738; Ganter, Regina, German Missionaries in Queensland - Bloomfield (Wujal-Wujal), Griffith University, 2009, http://missionaries.griffith.edu.au/qld-mission/bloomfield-wujal-wujal; Swain, Tony and Rose, Deborah Bird, Aboriginal Australians and Christian missions: ethnographic and historical studies, Australian Association for the Study of Religions, South Australian College of Advanced Education, Sturt Campus, 1988; Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and Multicultural Affairs report on unlicensed Mission dormitories for the Queensland Redress Scheme (2009).
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 1 March 2014, Last modified: 4 June 2014