Torres Strait Island communities A-C

The following brief histories provide researchers with information about the creation of missions and reserves in Torres Strait Island communities.

Albany Island | Aureed Island | Badu Island | Banks Island | Barney Island | Boigu Island | Browne Island | Campbell Island | Clarke Island | Coconut Island | Crab Island

Albany Island (Pabaju)

Albany Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in 1964.

Aureed Island (Skull Island)

Aureed Island, also known as Skull Island, was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in 1912.

In 1998 the Queensland Government granted freehold title to Aureed Island through the provisions of the Torres Strait Islander Land Act, 1991. On 7 December 2004 the Kulkalgal people were granted a consent determination in their claim on Aureed Island.

Badu Island

A west-central Torres Strait Island, which along with near neighbours on Mabuiag and Moa, Badu once had a feared reputation as an island of headhunters. Warfare, turtle and dugong hunting were the main occupations of Badu men until the 1870s. Pearlers established bases on the island during the 1870s and by the early 1880s the islanders were becoming dependent on wages earned as lugger crew. At the same time the first missionaries arrived at the people's request. At the peak of the shell industry in the late 1950s the Badu fleet of 13 boats employed a workforce of 200 providing work for many men, even from other islands. However once the shell trade declined many people moved to the mainland for work.

Banks Island see Moa Island

Barney Island

Barney Island, situated about two miles south from Mulgrave Island, was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in May 1952.

Boigu Island

Boigu is Australia's most northerly inhabited island, 6km from the Papua New Guinea coast. The island is swampy with surrounding mangroves. There are six clans - Samu (cassowary), Dhoeybaw (yam), Koedal (crocodile), Baydham (shark), Thabu (snake) and Karbay (heron).

Kiba and his brothers were the first men on Boigu. Missionaries from the London Missionary Society came to the Island on 8 July 1871 but were not welcomed by the Islanders.

The men of Boigu worked on luggers and cutters as swimmers, not divers. During the Second World War the men worked as labourers but they were not happy doing this so together with other men from the top western islands they formed a company of the Torres Strait Light Infantry. Every year on 10 June ex-service people celebrate the end of their army careers.

Browne Island

Browne Island, situated about two and a half miles south from Mulgrave Island, was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in May 1952.

Campbell Island (Zapker)

Campbell Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in 1958.

Clarke Island

Clarke Island, situated about one and a half miles south from Mulgrave Island, was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in May 1952.

Coconut Island (Poruma)

Coconut Island, also known as Poruma, belongs to the Central Islands Groups of the Torres Strait. It is a coral atoll bounded by shallow fringing coral reefs. In November 1912 the island was gazetted an Aboriginal Reserve consisting of an area of about 800 acres.

Tidal encroachment in the 1930s resulted in the emigration of many of the islanders to other islands. The traditional language spoken is the Kalau Lagau Ya. Crayfishing is an important industry here. A regular barge services the island with cargo and fresh commodities.

Crab Island

Crab Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in 1963.

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