Cape York Peninsula Lodge News

 In Uncategorized


Nathan Aniba began a Chef Apprenticeship in October last year after impressing Cape York Peninsula Lodge (CYPL) management with his strong work ethic.

Nathan has worked with the Lodge since 2016 in Groundsperson and Kitchenhand roles. The 37-year-old is now studying a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at TAFE Queensland – Cairns Campus.

CYPL Manager, Darren Smith, said the Lodge was originally looking to offer a school-based apprenticeship, which attracts Federal funding.

“Unfortunately, there was no interest at the time from Bamaga senior students but Chef Craig Drew recognised Nathan as a long-term and hard-working employee and offered him the opportunity,” said Mr Smith.

Nathan Aniba in the Lodge kitchen

“He is reliable, punctual and is a quiet achiever. He says very little but Chef considers Nathan to be among the best workers he has had in the kitchen over the past 25 years.”

Nathan says he wishes to gain knowledge and experience to enable him to travel while working as a Chef.


The BEL team was pleased to support the 2019 NPA Sporting Carnival Dan Ropeyarn Cup in October. This annual sponsorship provides around $10,000 worth of accommodation and meals at Cape York Peninsula Lodge for referees, trainers and officials.

The event provides a wonderful way for the community to come together and to also bring visitors to Bamaga.

Robbie Moore, Assistant Region Manager of Queensland Rugby League (QRL), has been a part of many past Ropeyarn Cup Carnivals.

“QRL supports the Carnival but without the sponsorship from BEL, we wouldn’t be able to fund the trip so it made the Carnival possible.

“It’s hard to get our referees to remote areas but it’s part of their training and very important for the pathways of future north Queensland referees. We want to use Indigenous referees wherever possible,” Mr Moore said.

Natasha Brunne from the Apudthama Injinoo Sporting Indigenous Corporation, said, “We are always grateful for Bamaga Enterprises’ massive support.

“Our visiting officials enjoyed their stay at the Cape York Peninsula Lodge and are looking forward to returning to the NPA to be a part of another successful Carnival in 2020.”


Nineteen-year-old Ujuaney Amey is currently undertaking a two-year hospitality traineeship at CYPL and has passed her six-month probation period.

She began the program in May 2019 for her Certificate III in Hospitality through TAFE Queensland – Cairns Campus, after responding to a BEL advertisement.

As part of the traineeship, Ujuaney will work and develop new skills across all departments of the Lodge, including the front desk and the restaurant.

CYPL Manager, Darren Smith, said that when Ujuaney started with the Lodge, she was quiet and shy.

“However, her confidence has grown and she is now a valued member of staff who is able to communicate confidently with staff at all levels.

“Cape York Peninsula Lodge is an essential community accommodation and restaurant facility for locals, tourists, corporates and government alike,” said Mr Smith.

“It’s important that we offer traineeships, apprenticeships and opportunities for community members to move into supervisory and senior management positions.”

Ujuaney already had a connection with the team at CYPL, having completed work experience at the Lodge in 2017.


Food & Beverage Supervisor at CYPL

Cassie Exton

Cassandra (Cassie) Exton was appointed F&B Supervisor at Cape York Peninsula Lodge in November 2019, having progressed through the ranks.

milar to Bamaga BP Store Manager, Bewan Idai, Cassie began as a waiter in the Lodge’s restaurant and was given the chance to develop her skills in 2019 with a six-month stint as acting F&B Supervisor.

According to Manager Darren Smith, Cassie excelled in the role. “A focus of the Lodge and Bamaga Enterprises is to train local talent and eventually equip them for management positions, and Cassie is a perfect example of this,” said Mr Smith.

Cassie answered a few questions for The BEL Bulletin.

What do you like about working at CYPL?

I like working here because I get to learn new things every day. With support from colleagues, I’m able to grow as a person, a leader and a team member.

Where have you worked previously?

Beforehand, I’d worked as a team member at Cairns Colonial Club doing ordinary restaurant duties, weddings and other functions.

Had you completed any study prior to taking on the role?

I’d previously studied Business with New Horizons, and I’m currently studying Child Care while working full time.

Where to from here?

I’ve always wanted to become a pre-school teacher.

What do you find interesting about CYPL’s guests?

Their stories. Working in the restaurant, I come across a lot of different people and it’s interesting to hear them speak of their adventures and how CYPL is a great part of it; knowing they appreciate our service and hospitality is great. I also love the surroundings here.

What do you love about Bamaga and the NPA?

Having the best fishing and camping spots. And the beaches.


The Lodge rooms, decks, restaurant and kitchen have undergone a $2.5 million upgrade and renovation over the past few years.

The Lodge gardens have now been overhauled after becoming dry and barren over several years. Bamaga Enterprises has invested $20,000 for new plants and shrubs, which have been planted and mulched over the wet season under the direction of the Lodge’s new Maintenance Supervisor, Marlon Nakachi.

New copper logs are also being replaced around the garden beds. As the plants grow, the Lodge gardens will come to life with more colour and ground coverage. To ensure that plants continue to thrive during the dry season, Marlon will oversee the installation of a new water pump and major watering system.

Marlon Nakachi


Bamaga Enterprises celebrated the work of its team in 2019 with an end-of-year party at Cape York Peninsula Lodge. Staff, spouses and their kids across all of BEL’s operations enjoyed a seafood buffet.

Luchan Choriatis

Deshanka Holmes (left) & Tracy Sands (right)