The Milbi Wall Story


To acknowledge the significance of the first known European contact with the Aboriginal people of the area, Cook Shire Council decided, as a reconciliation project, to have a Memorial to tell from an Aboriginal point of view.

Cook Shire Council invited local Aboriginal people to tell their story in ceramic tiles and build a Story (Milbi) Wall right at the spot where, in 1770, Captain James Cook and his crew first set foot.

Milbi is the Guugu Yimithirr (local Aboriginal language) word for story.

The Milbi Wall was developed by a group of local Aboriginal artists and storytellers, with assistance from a well-known potter and the Gungarde Aboriginal Corporation.

The 12 metre long Milbi Wall was built in three sections.

Part 1 explains the Creation Stories and shows how the Endeavour River and Cooktown were made.

Part 2 commemorates the first historic meeting between Aboriginal people on the Cape York Peninsula and Captain Cook, his crew and the naturalists and scientists that accompanied him. It traces the history of Aboriginal people from the early settlement times and the gold-rush days, until the Second World War.

Part 3 depicts the important 1967 referendum when the Australian people overwhelmingly recognised the right of Aboriginal people to equality with all other Australians and it shows the advances Aboriginal people have made as well as recognising the problems they have faced.


The Yirrmbal runs along the top of the the wall, linking the three sections. It reminds us that reconciliation is about having a united Australia where Aboriginal heritage is respected and we have justice and equity for all.

The project has provided a team of Aboriginal people with new skills in pottery and tile-making. A new local enterprise for local Aboriginal people.

The Project is, in part, funded by the Department of Local Government, the Council for Reconciliation, Gungarde Aboriginal Corporation and the Cook Shire Council.

In the true spirit of reconciliation, lots of local people and businesses and neighouring Communities have actively supported the Project.

Milbi Mementos are made by the Aboriginal artists and are available from the Gungarde Gallery, Charlotte Street, Cooktown.