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First Nations cultures


Indigenous Knowledge Centres

Erub: Coming of the Light

By Indigenous Services | 30 August 2022

On the 30th August 2002, Erub (Darnley Island) became the second IKC to open in the Torres Strait. The IKC was established in a partnership between the Erub Island Council and State Library of Queensland. Erub Island Council was amalgamated into the newly created Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) in 2008.

The IKC has been operational and enjoyed by the community for the past 20 years. The IKC has participated in many projects including, Culture Love, a school holiday arts program delivered by TSIRC, State Library and Arts Queensland.

Culture Love

In 2009, State Library partnered with Erub Erwer Meta Art Centre and the Erub IKC and delivered Culture Love for students from Tagai College – Darnley Island campus. It was held over the week of 29 June to 3 July. The program included screen-printing, painting of a mural, and traditional dancing focusing on topics ranging from Coming of the Light to Native Title determination. The purpose of the activities was to help young people understand the significance cultural events play in uniting, strengthening, and maintaining culture. Activities included re-telling the story of the song and dance composed by Kupua Gutchen in 2002 and 2003, that became a wall mural with images from the story and screen-printing images on tablecloths.

Culture Love, 2009

Coming of the Light

The Coming of the Light recognises the adoption of Christianity through islands of the Torres Strait that commenced on 1 July 1871. The London Missionary Society set out to convert people to Christianity from the 1840s. On 1 July 1871, the Reverend Samuel MacFarlane, a member of the Society anchored at Erub accompanied by South Sea Islander evangelists and teachers.

Coming of the Light, Erub

The acceptance of the missionaries and Christianity into the Torres Strait led to profound changes that affected every aspect of life from that point onwards. Other island communities of the Torres Strait celebrate the Coming of the Light on other dates based on the arrival of missionaries.

Exploring the collection

If you’d like to explore some of State Library’s collection items relating to Erub Island, we have a few suggestions in the links below:

Explore the images of life on Erub Island through the lens of Sarah Scragg.

Children from Erub participated in an innovative project to trial the Children’s Picture Diary methodology in 2005 at the Darnley Island State School.

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.

This digital story records the ceremony held on Erub on 29 December 2019, to mark the tombstone opening of Jacob George Mye MBE OAM.

The Erub IKC is one of ten IKCs operated by the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) in partnership with the State Library of Queensland. The other IKCs are located at Badu, Boigu, Dauan, 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 IKC/s play in their communities, as libraries, meeting places, hubs and keeping places.

IKC 20 years banner


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