Kowanyama is a town on the Gulf of Carpentaria side of Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Australia. At the 2011 census, Kowanyama had a population of 1,207 people.
The community is situated on the banks of the Magnificent, a tributary of the Mitchell River, 20 km inland from the coastline of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The township is accessed by an all-weather airstrip, as well as unsealed roads in the dry season from Pormpuraaw in the north, Normanton in the south and Cairns from the east.
In 1905, Trubanamen Mission was established inland on Topsy Creek, now known as the Old Mission. Aboriginal peoples of the region were gradually drawn from their ancestral lands into the mission settlement.
Later, in 1916, Mitchell River Mission was founded on the present site of Kowanyama and the Trubanamen site abandoned. Some peoples continued to occupy their traditional lands, moving into Kowanyama as late as the 1940s.
With a population of over 1200 people, Kowanyama is the largest discrete Indigenous community on Cape York Peninsula being almost twice the size of nearby Pormpuraaw by population. In July 1987, the Queensland Government implemented legislation for a DOGIT over the lands in the Mitchell River delta, an area of 250 km².