An Englishwoman in the Torres Strait, 1969-70 (Elaine Sinnamon collection)

Nurse Elaine Sinnamon (nee Street) with baby Warren outside Thursday Island Hospital, Queensland, 1969. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0094

State Library of Queensland recently received a donation of images and other artefacts collected by a young Englishwoman during her time in the Torres Strait between 1969 and 1970. Elaine Sinnamon (nee Street) was born in Derbyshire, England in 1941. After training as a registered nurse in London, Elaine travelled to Australia in 1967 as one of the "Ten Pound Poms".

Nurse Elaine Sinnamon (nee Street) in Sydney. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0114

She resided in Sydney before taking up a position at the Thursday Island Hospital in 1969. While living on Thursday Island, Elaine met her future husband, Michael Sinnamon, an employee at the local branch of the National Bank of Australasia. She lived and worked on Thursday Island from 1969 until December 1970, when she returned to England to visit her family prior to her marriage.

Elaine Sinnamon (nee Street), Cape York, c.1969. John Oxley Library. State Library of Queensland collection. Image Image 30394-0001-0007r

Far North Queensland from the air.30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0007r

Cowal Creek. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0009r

The collection consists of 177 colour slides depicting various images of the Torres Strait and Cape York. These images have been digitised and can be viewed online through State Library's catalogue.

Thursday Island from the air. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0076

View from Milman Hill, Thursday Island. Horn Island in the distance. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0023

Hawkesbury Island (Warral Island). 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0058

House on Daru Island. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0018

Elaine Sinnamon on Thursday Island, Queensland, 1969. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image 30394-0001-0105

Elaine also collected a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait artefacts from her time in the Far North, including a Torres Strait hand-carved snakeskin drum, a juju shaker made from juju seed pods, wooden fishing spears (possibly from Cape York) and two turtle shells. The collection also features 5 hand-carved wooden faces which were acquired on Daru Island and are believed to be of Papuan New Guinean design.

Juju shaker from the Torres Strait. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Snakeskin drum from the Torres Strait. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Turtle shell from the Torres Strait. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Five wooden faces from Daru Island. 30394 Elaine Sinnamon Collection ca. 1969. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Myles Sinnamon - son of Elaine Sinnamon and engagement officer at State Library of Queensland

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
We also welcome direct feedback via Contact Us.
You may also want to ask our librarians.

Interesting photos. I am pleased to see this history saved. My mother ( Valma Stephan, went up as a nurse to Thursday Island and Hopevale in the forties). She went on to nurse in PNG in the fifties. These were strong women with strong social justice passion.

Myles, this is a great insight into another experience in Queensland. The photos provide a beautiful image of the north.

Thank you for sharing your photo's of your mum's adventures. Your Grandma used to read us your mum's letters home. She was an inspiration to us all.