Boigu: An IKC with a point of difference
By Indigenous Services | 22 June 2022
Boigu Island is the most northerly inhabited island of Australia, located only a few kilometres from Papua New Guinea (PNG), a location that surely sets this IKC apart. Each weekday, PNG island traders travel 45 minutes by boat to Boigu Island to sell their products. We are fortunate that in 2013, then IKC Coordinator Tanaio Anau gave us a glimpse into this unique way of life in her engaging Island Traders video.
Unfortunately, due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, trading has paused to minimise the spread of the virus. We hope to see this cultural practice recommence in the future.
Torres Strait Island Regional Council and the Boigu IKC have partnered with State Library on many occasions over the years, but we especially loved the vibrant outcome of the 2013 Culture Love Program, designed around the theme 'War and Church', developed in consultation with the Divisional Manager and Elders on Boigu Island.
During the project local Elders/Artists were employed to work alongside State Library staff to build their skills in developing and delivering creative arts and language workshops with children and young people in their communities. The Culture Love initiative provided opportunities for children and young people to work alongside Elders, local artists, knowledge experts and visiting arts workers to celebrate the arts and their cultural heritage.
Outcomes showcasing the project include a wonderful ten-minute video highlighting the dance, music, video, spoken word/storytelling and visual arts activities throughout the week, as well as the enchanting exhibition of artworks by young people hanging their masks on the Skull Tree at night. Elders’ traditional stories were also recorded throughout the event and 100 T-shirts screen printed in five local totem designs.
Exploring the collection
If you’d like to explore some of State Library’s collection items relating to Boigu Island, we have a few suggestions in the links below:
- Boigu Island trading day photographs
Twelve digital images showing a visit by traders from Papua New Guinea to Boigu Island. The photographs show a woman weaving a palm leaf into a hat, wares displayed by the traders and the departure of the traders from Boigu Island.
- TR 1791 Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Strait Islands Material 1964-1998
Material relating to Margaret Lawrie and the Torres Strait Islands, including the book, Myths and Legends of the Torres Strait, which includes a section on Boigu Island.
The Boigu IKC is one of ten IKCs operated by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) in partnership with State Library of Queensland. The other IKCs are located at Badu, Dauan, Erub, Hammond Island, Iama, Kubin Village, Mabuiag, Poruma and Warraber.
Celebrating 20 years of IKCs
In 2002, the first Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) were developed in partnership with then Aboriginal Community and Island Councils across Queensland. Seven IKCs were opened in 2002 with many more to follow over the years.
This year, thirteen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Shire and Regional Councils will celebrate the role their IKCs play in their communities; as libraries, meeting places, hubs and keeping places.
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