CLCAC's Darkest Day

On 24 November 1999, a charter plane left Mornington Island carrying 4 of CLCAC’s Directors and a staff member to a Board Meeting in Normanton. The flight departed at about 9.15am. Other pilots operating aircraft in the area reported that the weather conditions were not favourable that day for a flight to the south of Mornington Island, however the weather was not particularly bad. At 9.35am the pilot reported that he was diverting to Burketown but the aircraft did not arrive in either Burketown or Normanton. No further report from the pilot was recorded.

A subsequent search found articles, identified as being from the plane, in the water to the south of Bentinck Island, however the aircraft was never found.

On that terrible day, the communities of the Gulf and CLCAC lost some its most valuable members. On board the plane were key elders and members of the Mornington Island community that had served on CLCAC’s Board for a number of years and played a key role in providing evidence in preparation for the Wellesley Islands sea claim.

The Gununa community maintains a permanent memorial at the Mornington Island airport to thosethat lost their lives that day and each year a memorial  service is held on the island on the anniversary of their deaths.

In Memorium

  • Lelkandu Nelson Gavenor of the Yangkaal People
  • Andrew Marmies of the Lardil People
  • Olive Loogatha of the Kaiadilt People
  • Brothers Graham Wilson and Gavin Wilson of the Lardil People

They were all leaders in our community and members of the CLCAC, committed to regaining control and legal rights to their traditional country.

We will always honour and remember them and we dedicate the 30 Year CLCAC Celebration to their memory.