An Englishwoman in the Torres Strait, 1969-70 (Elaine Sinnamon collection)
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".
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 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.
Myles Sinnamon - son of Elaine Sinnamon and engagement officer at State Library of Queensland