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A special collaboration between Cairns Museum and Yarrabah State School will offer visitors to the CBD attraction, a unique glimpse into the social and cultural history of the Yarrabah Indigenous community. 

Opening on Thursday, December 6, the Djabu Gilga Yigan Land Sea Sky exhibition, will feature works by past and present students and employees who are aged from 12 to 61 years.

Jason Evert, principal at Yarrabah State School, described the exhibition as a collection of homages, snapshots and contemplations on Yarrabah – a place once known as Iyirriba, ‘a meeting place’ in the language of the area’s Gunggandji people. 

“People can expect to take away a sense of Yarrabah – what it looks like, its geographical features, what it means to live there, and an understanding of the diverse range of ‘peoples’ who comprise this community,” Mr Evert said.

“Yarrabah offers enormous cultural and artistic potential to Tropical North Queensland and being so close to Cairns, a world tourist destination, is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this potential.

“The school’s role in bringing together the school community, both past and present, and various groups and agencies within the community to promote Yarrabah through Cairns Museum to a regional, national and international audience is a first.”

Clive Skarott, president of the Cairns Historical Society, said the exhibition provided a platform from which the people of Yarrabah could share their stories, history and culture with a wider audience.

“This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for Cairns Museum. It gives voice to the people of Yarrabah, allowing them to tell the stories that define what it means to be connected to their country,” he said.

Djabu Gilga Yigan Land Sea Sky evolved from the school’s proposal to the Cairns Museum for an exhibition that would facilitate positive engagement of the school and community with the wider Cairns region.

Yarrabah State School has also invited members and friends of the Cairns Historical Society to spend a day at Yarrabah on Wednesday, December 12, to meet local guides, Elders and school students who will share their places, stories and histories.

The Cairns Museum is located in the School of Arts building on the corner of Lake and Shields streets in the Cairns CBD. It is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. For more information contact the Cairns Museum on 4051 5582 or visit



For more information, images or interviews contact:

Tanya Snelling

Strategic PR

P 0417 202 663





Date: Thursday, 6th December

Time: 4.15pm

Photo opportunity: Dancers from Yarrabah State School will form part of official proceedings to open the exhibition.

Vision opportunity:  Dancing / Exhibits

Interview opportunities:

Jason Evert – Principal, Yarrabah State School




The seaside community of Yarrabah is about 60km by road east of Cairns but only about 12km across the inlet. Arguably the largest Indigenous community in Australia, Yarrabah is a dynamic, diverse and constantly changing collective of people. A proportion of the community is reasonably mobile and throughout their lives move between Yarrabah, Cairns and other communities for family, work, school or cultural gatherings.


People from the following diverse backgrounds have participated in the exhibition, and it should not be taken as a definitive guide for the cultural composition of Yarrabah: Gunggandji tribe, Ydinji tribe, Lama Lama, Kuku Djungan, Djabugay (Tjapukai), Jirrabal, Western Yulanji, Clan Dunghutti, Pia Drum Clan (Mer Island), Clan Tolga, Bwlgoman tribe, Borroloola, Birri Gubba, Yam Island (Torres Strait), Kuku Yalanji, Kuku Yimitji, Yirrganydji, Vanuatu, Barbarum and South Sea Islander.

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