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The Bwgcolman (pronounced 'Bwookamun')[1] is the name recently given to the indigenous Australians who were deported from many areas of the Queensland mainland,[2] and confined in resettlement on the Palm Island group after the establishment of a reserve there in 1918.


Bwgcolman, meaning 'Palm Island' in Manbarra, is a collective name adopted for those many Palm Islanders peoples who, as distinct from the Manbarra, were subject to coercive displacement from a wide-ranging number of aboriginal communities on the mainland, a descriptive term that is used in recent claims for native title.[3] The term was devised by the Manbarra elder Dick Palm Island in order to give a collective identity to the 46 groups who found themselves frequently in conflict because of their disparate linguistic and cultural backgrounds.[4]


The original inhabitants of Palm Island are the Manbarra people. Indigenous Australians from throughout Queensland were resettled on Palm Island by the Queensland Chief Protector of Aborigines under provisions of The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897 (Queensland). The traditional background of these people is often not known, although individuals trace descent from some 43 different tribal groups.[5]

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