About the Island(s)

Mornington Shire Council comprises of twenty two islands, with Mornington Island, Bentinck Island, and Sweers Island the largest. The only township, Gununa on Mornington Island, is serviced by regular passenger flights from Mt Isa and Cairns, and a barge operation from Karumba.

The islands and surrounding seas are the traditional lands and waters of the Lardil, Yangkaal, Kaiadilt and Gangalidda peoples. They have successfully and sustainably managed their land and waters for millennia.

The region remains one of the most pristine anywhere; featuring internationally renowned art works, rich cultural heritage, harmonious multicultural (predominately indigenous Australian) communities and one of the best fishing destinations in Australia. The land is covered by native flora like tea tree with swamp flats providing a habitat for many species of wildlife.

There are windswept beaches lined with sea oaks, rocky outcrops and mangroves. The abundant fish and marine life, such as turtle and endangered dugong, makes the region a must visit for any keen fishermen, divers and eco-enthusiasts. The Lardil, Kaiadilt, Yangkaal and Gangalidda people manage a number of land and sea projects aimed at maintaining the unique natural environment and supporting future generations to live off the land.

This region is remarkable – unlike anywhere else in Australia. Permission to visit must be sought from Mornington Shire Council six weeks prior to any intended visit, and visitors need to have made all accommodation arrangements PRIOR to arrival. There are no established camping facilities within the Shire.

Fast Facts

Mornington Shire Council is one of Australia’s most untouched and desirable ecotourism destinations.

Council is working hard to deliver best practice nature based experiences that contribute to the conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage.

Mornington Shire Council embraces a partnership approach between the tourism industry, government, community and Traditional Owners.

Under an Alcohol Management Plan, alcohol must not be taken into the area. Heavy penalties apply.

Gununa Airstrip Latitude 16° 40′ S Longitude 139° 10′ E

Mornington Shire Council operates accommodation for visitors (clean, self contained) featuring one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge with air-conditioning.

The supermarket in Gununa operates from 9-12, then 1-4pm daily, except for Sundays.

Although it is well equipped with produce, the grocery selection is limited compared with regional areas.

If you have dietary requirements, you may wish to bring your own food.

Gununa has a bakery, which produces fresh breads daily and butcher selling fresh meat.

There is a kiosk located at the grocery store.

444km north of Mt Isa

200km west of Karumba

125km north-west of Burketown

At the heart of everything is the land…

It is the way we think and feel about the land that makes us Aboriginal. It is the only way to keep our culture. For many, many years our ancestors worked out how we should live in this country. How we should use everything around us and what to do to keep our relationship with it strong. These are the things the Europeans don’t understand about the way the bush can help us. These things can help Europeans too when their own way of living makes their lives sad. We can teach Europeans all about these things. They are the things we have always known. Today my people can see more than one way of living. Now there are many things in our lives that were not there before.

Our lives are changing but this does not mean we should forget the things that it took us thousands of years to work out. These things keep us clear and straight and make us strong inside. They show us the proper way for Aboriginal people to live. Our bodies must keep doing the dances and living in the bush, and making the artifacts that keep our skills alive. These things are what we need to keep the head and the body together until we are given back our land and the land can make us whole again.

The late, Larry Lanley Jagarairee Mornington Shire Council.


Create. Believe. Get Involved.

You are part of our community

Council must meet the expectations of the community and play its part in responding to the challenges and opportunities confronting the region.

And, Council remains firmly committed to its vision for the Mornington Shire, first articulated in 2014: let’s move the region forward, together.

And together, we can achieve great things.

There are many ways to get involved with the community through local Council events.

Council hope, through a collaborative effort, we exceed the needs of residents and visitors through a series of projects and festivals; keeping traditions strong while maintaining our respect for land and sea and building on our economy.

Council encourage you to be an active voice and participate.

Join in the conversations: voice concerns, celebrate positive outcomes, learn from mistakes, be proactive, keep our culture alive, work towards an even better tomorrow and assist council in making our region be one of Australia’s most sustainable and liveable remote indigenous shires.

As part of Council’s commitment to nurturing the creative abilities and skills of the community, particularly young Australian’s, our team are working to provide:

  • support for the training and education leading to the discovery of new skills, innovative ideas and the advancement of knowledge
  • assistance towards facilities and equipment that may be needed to become internationally competitive
  • support for the training and skills development of next generations – building on local sustainability
  • incentives to work in partnerships, forming alliances with Council

Council is a local service provider, an advocate and a regulator, but it cannot be all things to all people. Council has a specific and limited range of tools available to assist the community. By focussing on excellence in delivering its services, council makes a meaningful and tangible contribution to the strength and wellbeing of the region.

Mornington Shire Council – supporting an engaged, resilient and inclusive community that embraces diversity.



Mornington Shire Council © 2020