A far north Queensland indigenous community will this weekend mark 50 years since residents were forcibly removed by the government.
Alma Mamoose remembers being overcome with grief when her family was forced to leave the far north Queensland community where her grandmother grew up.
“I was so sad. We cried,” the 70-year-old traditional owner says.
“It was a very sad time.”
In 1963 all the residents at Mapoon, a former mission near Weipa on Cape York, were forced to leave under the government’s assimilation policy.
Most of the houses were torn down or burnt to the ground.
This weekend marks 50 years since the community was closed.
Mrs Mamoose told AAP on Saturday the tight-knit community was split up, with many people relocated across Cape York and even as far as southeast Queensland.
In the 1970s and 1980s some of the community’s former residents, including Mrs Mamoose, decided it was time to move home and a gradual repatriation occurred.
A shop, school, council buildings, conservation centre and hall now stand in the community, which is home to a few hundred residents.
Mrs Mamoose says her grandmother was part of the stolen generation and was taken to the Mapoon mission by authorities when she was just five years old because she was mixed race.
“We used to sit under the almond tree outside her house in Mapoon when I was a child and she would tell me the story,” Mrs Mamoose said.
“She never knew who her parents were.”
Mrs Mamoose grew up in her grandmother’s house with her parents and siblings.
In 1963 the house was torn down after the family were relocated to Weipa, about 80 kilometres south.
Mrs Mamoose says she returned to Mapoon in the 1980s and now lives in a new house on the property where her grandmother’s house once stood.
“It was very important to me (to move home),” she said.
Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council Mayor Peter Guivarra says celebrations at the weekend in Mapoon will be “a celebration of survival”.
“Against all the odds Mapoon gradually regained its strength and energy,” he said.
“Mapoon has come full circle and has arisen from the ashes.”