It is estimated that there were about 200 Manbarra people at the time of James Cook's visit in 1788. By the end of the 19th century they numbered about 50, apparently because many had left the island to go fishing for bêche-de-mer with Europeans. In 1909 the Queensland Chief Protector of Aborigines visited the island, apparently to check on the activities of Japanese pearling crews in the area, and reported the existence of a small camp of Aborigines.
- Administrative Appeals Tribunal (15 March 2004). "The Manbarra People and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Anor (2004) AATA 268". Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII). Retrieved 2007-02-04., paragraph 10 Cite error: Invalid
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