is a small inland town on the main road heading up the Cape York Peninsula
in far northern Queensland
. It is in the Cook Shire Local Government Area
. At the 2006 census
, Coen had a population of 253.
Gold was discovered on the Coen River in 1876. Coen came into being first as a small fort built by gold miners and prospectors in May 1877 but this first gold rush quickly came to an end, and the settlement did not recover until 1883. It became a centre for several small goldmines in the region but, in 1893, the rich Great Northern mine boomed and the town became a more substantial place.
The Great Northern mine continued operations until 1916 and produced some 52,000 troy ounces (1,617 kg) of gold before it closed.
Today Coen not only provides services to the region, and is an important supply point on the long unpaved road leading to Weipa and other northern communities, but is also a popular stopping point for tourists driving up to the tip of Cape York - the northernmost part of the Australian mainland.
It has an airstrip at Coen Airport (24 km north of the town), hotel/motel, guest house, two general stores and fuel outlets, hospital, post office, police station, camping grounds, primary school kindergarten, ranger base and more. There is a scheduled air service to Lockhart and Cairns four times a week.
Today Coen is an ideal destination for birdwatchers: there are good accommodations and a large and varied bird fauna with representatives from rain forest, monsoon forest and coastal forests.
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- Roberts, Jan. 1981. Massacres to Mining: The Colonization of Aboriginal Australia. Dove Communications, Blackburn, Victoria. Rev. Australian ed. Previous ed.: CIMRA and War on Want, 1978, London. ISBN 0-85924-171-8.
- Premier's Department (prepared by Connell Wagner). 1989. Cape York Peninsula Resource Analysis. Cairns. (1989). ISBN 0-7242-7008-6
- Ryan, Michelle and Burwell, Colin, eds. 2000. Wildlife of Tropical North Queensland: Cooktown to Mackay. Queensland Museum, Brisbane. ISBN 0-85905-045-9 (set of 3 vols).
- Scarth-Johnson, Vera. 2000. National Treasures: Flowering plants of Cooktown and Northern Australia. Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery Association, Cooktown. ISBN 0-646-39726-5 (pbk); ISBN 0-646-39725-7 Limited Edition - Leather Bound.
- Sutton, Peter (ed). Languages of Cape York: Papers presented to a Symposium organised by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra. (1976). ISBN 0-85575-046-4
- Wallace, Lennie. 2003. Cape York Peninsula: A History of Unlauded Heroes 1845-2003. Central Queensland University Press, Rockhampton. ISBN 1-876780-43-6
- Wynter, Jo and Hill, John. 1991. Cape York Peninsula: Pathways to Community Economic Development. The Final Report of The Community Economic Development Projects Cook Shire. Cook Shire Council.