Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Desley Boyle today joined the Yarrabah community to unveil a new sign recognising one of Queensland’s Indigenous heroes.
“Reverend James Noble, Australia’s first Indigenous Anglican clergyman certainly fits the bill as an Indigenous hero,” Ms Boyle said.
“The Bligh Government has provided $3,000 towards this project fulfilling a promise made at the Yarrabah Community Cabinet to replace the original sign which was blown away in a cyclone.
“I congratulate local MP Curtis Pitt who has worked on behalf of the community to ensure this project was followed through.”
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said Reverend Noble played a very important role in Reverend Ernest Gribble’s efforts to establish the Yarrabah mission.
“With his wife Angelina, he performed religious duties, performed missionary work and helped Indigenous people resettle at Yarrabah,” Mr Pitt said.
“He spoke more than 15 dialects which helped him with his negotiation work between local Indigenous people and other parties.
“Reverend Noble moved to the area at the end of the 19th century and quickly became essential to Reverend Gribble’s efforts to establish a mission.
“Reverend Noble was licensed as a lay reader in St John’s parish in Cairns and in 1904 helped Indigenous people from Fraser Island resettle in the area.
“He has played an invaluable role in the history of our region.”
Great-grandson Hilton Noble said his family was very proud of Reverend Noble’s achievements.
“My great-grandfather was a Kokoberra man and the first Aboriginal manager, supervisor and caretaker of Yarrabah, which was also known as Bellenden Ker mission, when Ernest Gribble was away or sick,” Mr Noble said.
“Ernest Gribble founded the mission at Yarrabah and also used my great-grandfather as a tracker and interpreter.”
Mr Pitt said Reverend Noble was born on the Statton River near Kowanyama, studied at Scone in NSW and worked as a stockman in his distinguished and varied career.
“Yarrabah’s PCYC was named the James Noble Complex in honour of Reverend Noble and his work throughout Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” Mr Pitt said.
“Established in the 1990s as a drop-in community centre, the James Noble Complex is now one of the leading PCYCs in Queensland.
“Activities include after school and vacation care, a gym, fitness classes, local events like ‘dive in movie nights’ as well as hosting local celebrations such as Youth Week.
“The PCYC also received $27,272 through the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for purchase of sports equipment and resources to continue this great work.”
Ms Boyle said the Bligh Government had provided more than $3500 towards the sign.
“The Bligh Government is currently working with other Traditional Owner groups across Queensland to acknowledge their connections to land and sea and history as part of our reconciliation efforts,” Ms Boyle said.
“This includes renaming main roads, trust land under the Land Act 1994, state forests, national parks and other conservation areas.”