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Coen
Queensland
Coen-cape-york-queensland-australia.jpg
Population 416 (2011 census)
Postcode(s) 4892
Elevation 199 m (653 ft)
Location
  • 2,210 km (1,373 mi) NW of Brisbane
  • 551 km (342 mi) NW of Cairns
  • 248 km (154 mi) NW of Laura
LGA(s) Shire of Cook
State electorate(s) Cook
Federal Division(s) Leichhardt
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
30.2 °C
86 °F
20.0 °C
68 °F
1,183.3 mm
46.6 in
Localities around Coen:
Archer River Lockhart River Lockhart River
Archer River Coen Coral Sea
Holroyd River Yarraden Coral Sea

Coen is a town and locality in the Shire of Cook, Queensland, Australia. The town of Coen is inland on the Peninsula Developmental Road, the main road on the Cape York Peninsula in far northern Queensland. In the 2011 census, Coen had a population of 416 people.

Geography

The locality of Coen is on the western side of Cape York Peninsula with the Coral Sea forming its eastern boundary. Part of the northern boundary follows the Archer River, while the Coen River forms part of its western boundary. The Peninsula Developmental Road runs roughly north to south through the locality.

History

In 1623, Jan Carstensz, the navigator of the ship Pera of the Dutch East India Company named a river on Cape York Peninsula after Jan Pieterszoon Coen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Today that river is known as the Archer River and the name Coen River is given to one of its tributaries.

Gold was discovered on the Coen River in 1876. Coen came into being first as a small fort built by gold miners and prospectors in May 1877 but this first gold rush quickly came to an end, and the settlement did not recover until 1883. It became a centre for several small goldmines in the region but, in 1893, the rich Great Northern mine boomed and the town became a more substantial place.

Coen Post Office opened on 20 June 1893 (a receiving office had been open from 1888).

The Great Northern mine continued operations until 1916 and produced some 52,000 troy ounces (1,617 kg) of gold before it closed.

On 3 July 2014, Barry Port retired from the Queensland Police. He was Australia's last Aboriginal police tracker. In his 36 years working for the police, he has tracked criminals, missing people and stowaways.

Facilities

Today Coen provides services to the region, and is an important supply point on the long unpaved road leading to Weipa and other northern communities. It is a popular stopping point for tourists driving to the tip of Cape York - the northernmost part of the Australian mainland.

It has an airstrip at Coen Airport (24 kilometres (15 mi) north of the town), public library, hotel/motel, guest house, two general stores and fuel outlets, hospital, post office, police station, camping grounds, primary school kindergarten, ranger base and more. There is a scheduled air service to Lockhart and Cairns four times a week.

Attractions

Small gold mine near Coen. 1990
Small gold mine near Coen. 1990

Coen is an ideal destination for birdwatchers: there are good accommodations and a large and varied bird fauna with representatives from rain forest, monsoon forest and coastal forests.

Heritage listings

Coen has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

  • Coleman Close: Coen Carrier Station

Footnotes

  • Wynter, Jo and Hill, John. 1991. Cape York Peninsula: Pathways to Community Economic Development. The Final Report of The Community Economic Development Projects Cook Shire. Cook Shire Council.
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