Torres Strait Island communities D-H

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

Darnley Island | Dalrymple Island | Dauan Island | Erub | Green Island | Hammond Island | High Island

Darnley Island (Erub)

Darnley Island, also known as Erub, is a volcanic island in the eastern Torres Strait. On 1 July 1871 Darnley became the stage for the "Coming of the Light" where the gospel was first introduced by the London Missionary Society to the Torres Strait region.

Before the "Coming of the Light" pearlers and beche-de-mer gatherers began visiting the island. Over many years these industries attracted an influx of seamen from the Pacific Islands, the Philippines and Malaya, many of whom married local women and settled on the island.

Early in the twentieth century the Queensland Government started installing various facilities such as a school, medical aid, post office and an Island Industries Board store. Darnley people have been at the forefront of the movement for adequate recognition of Torres Strait Islanders' rights with George Mye among the most prominent advocates of Islander interests from the 1960s to the 90s and Carlemo Wacando among the first to challenge the legal notion of terra nullius.

Control of the Island passed to the Darnley Island Council in 1985. A deed of grant in trust was issued to the Darnley Island Council (now known as Erub Island Council) on 21 October 1985 for an area of 570 hectares.

Dalrymple Island (Damut)

Dalrymple Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in 1912.

Dauan Island

Dauan belongs to the top western group of islands (Saibai/Dauan/Boigu) located 120km north of Thursday Island. Mount Cornwallis is the most northerly granite peak making up the unsunken mountain range of the Great Dividing Range. The soil is relatively fertile and supports local family gardens. It is noted for its cool, freshwater permanent springs. The surrounding waters yield abundant catches of fish. The language spoken is the Kalau Kawau Ya dialect, which has strong traditional kinship ties to Saibai and Boigu.

In 1871 two brothers, Garmai and Jawai (Dheobau clansmen), accompanied missionaries from the London Missionary Society to Saibai and influenced the islanders to accept the missionaries.

During the pearling era most of the men worked on pearling luggers and enlisted with the Torres Strait Light Infantry when World War Two broke out. Travel and trade have been in decline with Sigabudara, Mabudawan, Buji and Mari, and the coastal Western Province villages of Papua New Guinea.

In July 2000 it celebrated its successful Native Title Land claim to the island.

Erub see Darnley Island

Green Island (Elap)

Green Island, situated about one mile south from Mulgrave Island, was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in May 1952.

Hammond Island (Keriri)

A reserve was established on Hammond Island in 1881 (Ref. Queensland Government Gazette 1881, Vol 29, p1450). JFG Foxton, WE Parry-Okeden and WE Roth were appointed trustees of the reserve in February 1900.

Hammond is also known as Keriri by the traditional people of the Kaurareg and belongs to the Thursday Island Group. Members of the Kaurareg people were forcibly removed to the village of Poid on Moa Island in 1921 and 1922.

Hammond became the pearling station headquarters for a short time until its relocation to Thursday Island, and earlier in the 20th century gold was mined here. A cattle industry was set up later to supply the population of Thursday Island. 1929 saw the need to establish a Catholic Mission on Hammond for the children of the Filipinos and Malays whose forefathers were brought to the Torres Straits as indentured labour.

High Island (Warka)

High Island, situated about one mile south from Mulgrave Island, was gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve in May 1952.

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