The township of Coen is located in central Cape York, approximately 600 kilometres north-west of Cairns and comprises 14.5 square kilometres. It is not a discrete Aboriginal community and is part of Cook Shire. The township had an estimated resident adult population of 251 people as at 30 June 2017[1],[2].

Today, the residents of the Coen area originate from several different language groups. These include:

  • The Lamalama people from the Port Stewart/Lakefield National Park area.
  • The Northern Kaanju or Wenlock people from upper Wenlock River and Batavia Downs.
  • The Southern Kaanju people from parts of the McIlwraith Range area.
  • A number of Wik groups, particularly the Mungkana from Merepah and topside Mungkana peoples with interests in parts of Rokeby National Park (Langi Outstation).
  • The Olkolo people with interest in Glen Garland Station to the south west of Musgrave.
  • Town based people and Ayapathu people with links to the south of Coen.
  • A variety of individuals or small groups with links to other areas, the Umpula of Lockhart River and a cluster of languages from around Princess Charlotte Bay such as Kugu Thaypan.

Most of the major language and family groupings have clear outstations and land claim or land acquisition aspirations.

English is now the major language spoken in Coen, however, some of the other Indigenous languages still spoken in the area are Lamalama, Wik Mungkan, Ayapathu, Kaanju, Olkala, Southern Kaanju, Umpula and Morobalama.

If you are planning a community visit then our Coen Community Engagement Guidelines which can be located under Policies and Guidelines might be helpful.


  1. Australian Statistical Geography Standard 2016 boundaries used are local government areas for Aurukun, Doomadgee and Hope Vale, and statistical areas level 1 (SA1s) of 3139616 for Coen and 3116408 for Mossman Gorge.
  2. Adults 18 years and over provided by QGSO, Queensland Treasury, based on the ABS unpublished preliminary ERP data by age and sex at the Statistical Area level 1 for 30 June 2017.

Coen Commissioners

Community Community Thumbnail
Family Family Thumbnail
The Future The Future Thumbnail