Doomadgee, an Aboriginal community of about 1050 people, is in the Gulf country, 100 km west of Burketown. It was named after Dumaji, a sandy coastal mound in the land held by the Gananggalinda people.
In 1930 a mission was established at Burketown by Len and Dorothy Akehurst, members of the Christian Brethren Assembly. Two years later, mainly at the prompting of the Aborigines, the mission was transferred to Dumaji (Doomadgee), 100 km north-west of Burketown, opposite Mornington Island.
Within two years the administration officials proposed another move to a site on the Nicholson River, west of Burketown. When a cyclone severely damaged coastal Doomadgee in 1936, the transfer to Nicholson River (New Doomadgee) followed. Life for the inhabitants was closely supervised, with emphasis on Christianisation. A report in 1950 described the girls' dormitories, where the main permitted amusement was hymn singing. The strict regime continued into the 1970s. The mission put a different slant on the situation, observing that 'the spiritual and material results ... are the product of sacrificial labour'. There was a hospital, a school (1933), a cattle run (1200 head and 60 horses), a 65 acre garden, some cottages, but a general shortage of vehicles and equipment (1953). A sympathetic view expressed in 1994 is that the Akehursts removed the Aborigines from the Burketown ration economy, avoided the evils of assimilation or extinction, and kept the children in close proximity to their parents.
New Doomadgee's population increased markedly during the 1950s-60s and the township's facilities increased: a store, bank, post office, rodeo ground and a bakery.
Doomadgee has a retail store, preschool, primary and secondary education, a hospital, and accommodation facilities for which bookings and permits are required. Local government is provided by Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council (2008), formerly an Aboriginal Community Council.
Doomadgee's population counts have been:
Doomadgee: a report of the development of a work of God amongst the Aborigines of north Queensland, Fitzroy, Victoria, 1953
Doug McNaught, Other days, other ways, Baulkham Hills, NSW, Bekasume Books, 1994
David S. Trigger, Whitefella comin': Aboriginal responses to colonialism in northern Australia, Sydney, Cambridge University Press, 1992