Coen Campus

The Coen community has a strong commitment to education. The community has gained national recognition for its high performance in school attendance and academic achievements as one of two inaugural communities involved in establishing the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy.
Coen campus is a primary school encompassing Prep to Year 6 and does not offer secondary education in the community. Students often travel to Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns or Rockhampton to attend boarding school.
Approximately 50 students are enrolled at the Coen campus. The school is staffed with a full entitlement of teachers, Indigenous Cultural Tutors and teaching assistants. As Coen campus is such a small school, the teaching team are supported by a teaching Principal. Coen is renowned for high attendance patterns and the principal is assisted by a visiting student case manager to support students and families with daily engagement and school readiness. This strong support has been integral to the success of our educational reform.
Levels of schooling: Pre-prep–Year 6
Campus Principal: Glenn White

Coen community

Coen is a small inland town on the Peninsula Development Road, and is a popular tourist stop on the way north to the Tip. Coen is a mainstream non-‘deed of grant in trust’ (DOGIT) community that falls within the Cook Shire. The Cook Shire covers 115,000 square km, making it the largest local government area in Queensland. The main road in Coen is situated on the old telegraph line that ran from Laura to Bamaga during the late 1800s, and today extends through to Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland.
Coen is situated on the northern end of the Great Dividing Range and is surrounded by mountains. The township is 240 km from Laura and approximately 580 km north west of Cairns.
The river’s name, which the settlement adopted, was chosen more than 200 years earlier by a Dutch explorer on the West Coast, after the Governor of Batavia (Dutch East Indies) who was Jan Pieterszoon Coen.​


Aboriginal people have occupied and continued to practice their own cultural traditions on and maintained the land in Cape York Peninsula for many thousands of years. The Indigenous people of the region comprise several language groups living in discrete areas including the Kaanju (southern and northern), Umpilla, Lama Lama, Wik Munkan and Ayaputhu.
Coen is situated within a number of important ‘story’ or creation sites, threaded throughout the local landscape’s rivers, rocks and hills. Local elders maintain custodial obligations and responsibilities of these places.
Following a number of land transfer and purchases through State and National Parks, from the 1980s the Indigenous Land Corporation has seen the return of significant outstations and/or land parcels to most language groups residing in Coen.

Welfare reform

Coen is part of the Cape York Welfare Reform program.

Alcohol management plans

Since 2003, legalised restrictions to the type and quantity of alcohol that may be brought in to a number of Indigenous communities have been in place. These restrictions vary from community to community. The law applies to all residents and visitors to the community. The aim of alcohol reforms is to reduce alcohol-related harm, especially to children, women and other vulnerable community members. This is being achieved through alcohol restrictions and improved services and partnerships between government and community, including support for positive community actions. It is important that all employees are fully aware of the restrictions for communities and the subsequent implications for living and working in the community.
Coen does not formally have an AMP however carriage of alcohol is restricted. Further information can be obtained from the Queensland Government.Please ensure that you have checked these recently as some plans have been re-negotiated.
Last reviewed 26 March 2020
Last updated 26 March 2020