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100 Year History

100 year history

West Kimberley

Mowanjum Uniting Church congregation celebrated its centenary over the weekend of 3-5 May.  The Mission was established by the Presbyterian Church in October 1912 at Port George IV in far north West Australia. In 1916 the community was moved to Kunmunya and then to Wotjulum on the Kimberley Coast. In the mid 1950s the community was once again relocated, this time to a site near the Derby airport. This site was named ‘Mowanjum’ which means settled at last. In the early 1980s the community was moved again to another small lease. They retained the name of Mowanjum.

Present day Mowanjum is a community of approximately 385 people. Three language groups form the community: Worrorra, Wunambal and Ngarinyin. Visitors from all over Australia shared in the events held over the weekend which included the welcome and the evening meal on Friday at the Mowanjum Uniting Church; a gathering at Old Mowanjum to recognise and remember the contribution and stories of those who helped form the community; and an ecumenical worship at Mowanjum Church. The use of Indigenous languages was a feature of the service and apart from the local languages, readings and hymns were offered in Pitjantjatjara and Djambarrpuyŋu.