History - Kalpowar

The Kalpowar Reserve for Aboriginal and Recreation Purposes (Lot 1 on SP156403) was created as part of a negotiated settlement between the State and the Native Title holders in this part of Cape York Peninsula. The settlement included the allocation of land to national park and Aboriginal freehold land, the rationalisation of roads and the dedication of two reserves.

The area was originally part of the Kalpowar Holdings, a group of properties, acquired by the State for conservation purposes. Historically the area has been used for camping and boat launching access. Continued public access to the area has been provided for, as the reserve is dedicated for community purposes, specifically Aboriginal and Recreation Purposes.

The Alka Bawar (Kalpowar) Aboriginal Corporation (ICN8206) (ABKAC) is the sole Trustee of Lot 1 on SP156403, Reserve for Aboriginal and Recreation Purposes. The Trustee is in the process of adopting the following Model By-Laws, as set out in schedules 1, 4 and 5 of the Land Regulation 2009:

  • Model by-law about protection and use of trust land
  • Model by-law about business and management of trust land
  • Model by-law about financial management of trust land

For more details about these by-laws and the fines that may apply, please visit: www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/state/reserves/by-laws

Description and Location of Land

The reserve is identified as Lot 1 on SP156403 is about 125km north of Laura and lies beside the Marrett River.

This reserve consists of a 60m wide strip along a road of  approximately 40km long leading to two riverside camp grounds beside the Marrett River and two camping areas (with 9 individual Campsites) south of Bathurst Head. (see on map).

The lands adjacent to this reserve is Aboriginal freehold land held by the Kalpowar Land Trust (Lot 7 on SP156403) and a Reserve for Aboriginal, Beach Protection and Environmental Purposes for which the Corporation and QPWS are joint trustees (Lot 4 on SP156403). The Aboriginal Freehold Land is private property and the Traditional Owners ask that the public do not access, camp, pig hunt, light fires, shoot cattle or traverse on their country. Bathurst Bay is also private Aboriginal Freehold and no camping or access is prohibited.

The gazetted primary use of the reserve is for Aboriginal and recreation purposes. The existing uses of the reserve are proposed to continue. They are:

  • Public access and use of designated camping areas for nature-based recreation.
  • Use by Kalpowar people in accordance with traditional law and custom.
  • Access by the Kalpowar people and their invitees to adjacent Kalpowar Land Trust lands.

Natural, cultural and social attributes
The area features spectacular Chenier ridges and coastal wetlands with adjacent patches of rainforest, corypha palm woodlands and grasslands. The grasslands support populations of endangered white-bellied crimson finches.

Story places, middens, ceremonial sites, art sites and burial sites occur in areas near the reserve and play an important role in linking the Kalpowar Aboriginal people with their spiritual past.

Conditions of use 
Members of the public visiting the reserve are required to pay camping fees through this booking site and are only permitted to camp at the designated camping areas (as detailed on the map).

The Corporation as the Trustee reserves the right to seasonal closure of the reserve during the wet season. Note that during the wet season, December to April, the road through Lakefield (Rinyirru) National Park (CYPAL) is closed and the gate is locked at Kalpowar Crossing.