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Our school


Students enrolled at the school live in the community proper or in the outlying areas including Reeves Creek, Mourigan, Oombunji Creek and Back Beach. Most students walk to school or ride a bike. Students in the outlying areas catch the school bus operated by the Yarrabah Council. Students at Yarrabah are currently all Indigenous.

A Special Education Unit (SEU) provides support for verified students.

School hours

Pre-prep: Morning group: 8.45 am - 11.30 am / Afternoon group: 12.00 pm – 2.40 pm

Primary: 8.50 am – 2.40 pm

Secondary: 8.50 am – 2.50 pm

Office Hours: 8.00 am – 4.00 pm


Yarrabah is located 57 km south east of Cairns, over the Murray Prior Range. Yarrabah State School is a P-10 school comprising of three separate campuses, a pre-prep, primary and secondary department. The pre-prep is located 500 m from the primary campus and the secondary department is located 3.8 km from the primary campus. In addition, a special education unit is located at the primary school.

Yarrabah can be reached by traveling south from Cairns through Edmonton for a few kilometres until you reach the Pine Creek Road (Yarrabah Rd) turn off. You then follow the road until you reach Yarrabah. The distance is about 37 km and it takes approximately 30 minutes from the turn off. About 10 km before Yarrabah visitors follow a winding road over the Murray Prior Range. The majority of the population lives in the community situated on the coast of Mission Bay between False Cape and Cape Grafton.

Language differences

Before contact with the British, there were 3 main languages being spoken in the Yarrabah/Cairns area: Yidinyi by the Yidinyji people; Gunggay by the Gungganyji people and Ngajan by the Dyirbal people. These tribes spoke dialects of a single language and were able to understand each other’s dialect.

When Yarrabah was "founded" on 17 June, 1872, tribes from all around the north were forcibly removed from their traditional camping grounds to build up the population of Yarrabah.

The adults were made to work on the settlement, while the children were put into either a boys or a girl’s dormitory. In the dormitories the children were not allowed to speak their native tongue but were forced to speak English. Thus began the Aboriginalisation of English. The people of Yarrabah made English into Aboriginal English by bringing into it their own accents, grammar and ways of speaking from their traditional languages.

Today the people of Yarrabah speak a dialect of English, Aboriginal English / Kriol. The children at Yarrabah State School all speak Aboriginal English / Kriol (Yarrie Lingo - their home language) with varying degrees of command of Standard Australian English (SAE).

Employment opportunities

Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) is a community-based teacher education program that supports Indigenous people through tertiary education to become registered teachers or qualified teaching assistants.

Employment opportunities present themselves in a range of faculties within our school including administration, grounds, education assistants and cleaners.