Far North Queensland Mission


Lutheran ministry in Far North Queensland serves the Aboriginal people at Hope Vale, Wujal Wujal and Coen as well as urban Aboriginal people in Cairns. It is estimated that approximately 3000 people are under the spiritual care of the Lutheran Church in Far North Queensland. The mission employs a full-time coordinator, David Spanagel.

Our mission

Through the pastor, Aboriginal church leaders and resident volunteers in mission, the Lutheran Church provides for the spiritual needs of the people under our care and others who may be searching for meaning or help in their lives.

Our history

Lutheran involvement in the area began in 1885 when missionary Johann Flierl stopped off at Cooktown on his way to New Guinea. He received government permission to start a mission station, which he called Elim.

The Immanuel Lutheran Synod in South Australia supported work among the Guugu Yimidhirr people by sending Pastors C A Meyer, George Schwarz and Wilhelm Poland. Elim became known as Hope Valley and later Hope Vale.

Visiting FNQ communities

It is possible to visit Hope Vale anytime as the road is either sealed or high-standard unsealed. Visiting Wujal Wujal is possible almost anytime, too, but in the green season it is wise to check road conditions before leaving Cairns. There is a daily air service from Cairns to Cooktown. Travel to Hope Vale and Wujal Wujal is then generally done by hire car.

Travel to Coen is possible between May and Christmas-time. In other months visitors must ascertain road conditions before leaving Cairns.

Visitors should observe common courtesy when arriving at these communities and announce that they are in the town either to the mayor or council clerk.

Volunteer opportunities

Lutherans are invited to volunteer for service in the Far North Queensland communities of Wujal Wujal and Coen from four weeks to three months. In the first instance, please contact David Spanagel (details below).

Contact us

David Spanagel
Coordinator Queensland District Committee for Far North Queensland Mission
Phone 0419 023114 or 07 4093 0054
Email david.spanagel@lca.org.au

Hope Vale
Phone 07 4060 9197
Wujal Wujal

Phone 07 4060 8097

Phone 07 4060 1119


The story of the Black and White Cockatoos

At the Queensland District Convention of Synod held in Cairns in 1998, a banner featuring a black and a white cockatoo was an eye-catching centrepiece. Aboriginal Pastor George Rosendale, who often uses Aboriginal stories to illustrate aspects of the Christian faith, designed the banner. This symbolism offered a powerful focus for reconciliation and healing. Read the story.