Aurukun is situated approximately 100 km south of Weipa in far North Queensland, Australia. The town faces west to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
In the wet season, roads are impassable. Aurukun is isolated by distance from mainstream Australian life.
The population of Aurukun Shire in 2005 was approximately 1100 people, with approximately 900 indigenous individuals who belong to five distinct tribal groups. The traditional language is predominantly Wik Munkin with a mixture of other dialects. English is taught in the school. Aurukun has a plethora of clan and tribal names. There are some twenty families from 13 tribal groups, which are split into two factions – the “Top end” and “Bottom end”. Violent conflict between the two groups creates problems in the community on a regular basis.
Aurukun is located on bauxite-rich land. Without consideration of the protests of the community, the Queensland Government passed a bill to authorise mining. In 1975 the community was placed under direct State government control. In 1978 they were given a 50-year lease on their land under the administration of the shire clerk and other white staff, but were nominally under the control of an elected Aboriginal Council.