Torres Strait Island communities I-M

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

Keriri | Long Island | Mabuiag | Masig | Mauar | Moa Island | Mount Adolphus Island | Muraleg | Murray Islands

Keriri see Hammond Island

Long Island (Sassie/Sasi)

Long Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal Reserve in November 1912 containing an area of about 1 600 acres.

Mabuiag (Jervis Island)

Mabuiag together with nearby Badu and Moa make up the west-central group of Torres Strait islands. The Mabuiag people had a reputation for hostility to outsiders until their acceptance of Christianity in the early 1870s. In 1877 the mission moved to Badu where the water supply was better. Later the missionaries persuaded the people to join them at Badu which became the main settlement. By 1898 Mabuiag people were labouring on pearling luggers for wages while many followed work to Thursday Island and further to the mainland. An official presence on Mabuiag began during the mid-1920s when Queensland Government posted teachers to the Island. An Island Industries Board store opened in 1946.

Masig see Yorke Island

Mauar see Rennel Island

Moa Island (Banks Island)

Moa is a large island 10km east of Badu. St. Paul's Anglican Mission was established on Moa Island in 1908 to care for the religious needs of the many Pacific Islanders who had been placed there on a reserve.

Kubin Village One of two settlements on Moa, Kubin is a community largely made up of people moved from Muraleg (Prince of Wales Island) and other nearby Torres Strait Islands in the early 1870s along with survivors from Hammond Island who were moved to Poid, on the southwestern corner of Moa Island in 1921.

Poid was abandoned after the Second World War; one group moving back to their Narupai (Horn Island) homeland and the remainder moved east to Kubin under the leadership of Wees Nawia. Kubin residents retained their links with the Thursday Island, Bamaga and Cowal Creek (Injinoo) communities and with their help established a number of business enterprises. In 1978 the housing cooperative, MAW Corporation, was formed but two years later it was in conflict with the Department of Aboriginal and Islander Affairs (DAIA) Queensland for building houses at Kubin. DAIA Director, PJ Killoran ruled that only Island councils would build on reserve land and that rents from houses would go to the DAIA-controlled island fund.

St Pauls Village
St Pauls is the other settlement on Moa. After the forced repatriation of Pacific Islander labourers following the federal government's introduction of a restrictive immigration policy in 1904, the Queensland government set aside a reserve on Moa's eastern shore for those who managed to remain in Queensland, many of whom had married Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people.

In 1908 the Anglican Church began developing St Pauls Mission. They also established the St Pauls Native Training College. A community council was established under the Torres Strait Islander Act 1939, and in 1985 the St Pauls community gained ownership of their land through a deed of grant in trust.

A deed of grant in trust was issued to Kubin Village Council and the St. Pauls Council in October 1985.

Mount Adolphus Island (Mori)

Mount Adolphus Island was gazetted as an Aboriginal Reserve in November 1912 containing an area of about 1,900 acres.

Muraleg see Prince of Wales Island

Murray Islands (Mer, Dauar, Waier)

Murray Island, also known as Mer, is the home of the Meriam people. Permanent settlement by outsiders began in 1872 when the London Missionary Society posted two Pacific Island teachers on Mer. The Society started the Papuan Institute there for training workers for the New Guinea mission field. The Queensland Government annexed the islands in 1879 and from the 1890s maintained a presence there via a resident teacher-supervisor. In 1992 Meriam people brought the Mabo/Murray Island native title case. It was the 10-year struggle in the courts by Meriam people that finally discredited the notion of terra nullius, placing the wider issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty on the national political agenda.

Library membership

Become an SLQ member now to access our services, collections and facilities.

Library Shop online

Discover an eclectic range of books, gifts, reproduction prints and more at the Library Shop.