Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

Boigu

About Boigu Island

Location

Boigu Island forms part of the north-western island group of the Torres Strait along with Dauan and Sabai islands. As the most northerly inhabited island of mainland Australia, Boigu Island is one of the closest islands to the border of Papua New Guinea. The island is relatively small and low-lying, stretching for 18km with an approximate area of 89.6km. The islands of Aubisi and Moimi are also located close to Boigu and while these islands are not permanently settled, they are still considered to be part of Boigu. 

Languages

The main language spoken on Boigu is the original dialect of Kala Kawa Ya [Kal-a Kow-a Ya]. Other languages spoken are Torres Strait Creole and English. Torres Strait Creole is a language derived from a mixture of traditional languages and English. As English is not a first language, assistance may be required for complainants, witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the courts.

History of Boigu

Boigu facts and figures

For 2011 and 2016 census information on education, employment, income, housing figures and more for Boigu Island, build a statistical profile on Know Your Community.

Native title information

Search for native title information on the National Native Title Tribunal website.

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Visiting Boigu

Boigu Island is part of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC). The TSIRC asks all visitors to Boigu Island to register their visit before they arrive. It is also recommended that visitors read the TSIRC's information on culture, protocols and heritage.

Getting to Boigu

Boigu is very remote and can be accessed by air or sea. The Torres Strait Island Regional Council is responsible for the day to day operations of the Boigu Island airport, which has a 730m sealed runway. A number of flight companies including private charters offer air services to the Torres Strait.  

Seasonal considerations

The Torres Strait can experience cyclonic weather, which can often restrict travel to the area.

Quarantine restrictions

When visiting the Torres Strait you need to observe the quarantine regulations. It is against the law to move plant and animal material, including fruit, from the Torres Strait to the mainland.

For more information visit the Australian interstate quarantine website.   

Alcohol restrictions

There are no alcohol management plans for islands in the Torres Strait. However, please check with the local council as some island communities may have preferred protocols in relation to the consumption of alcohol. 

Local government

Search the local government directory for information about the Torres Strait Island Regional Council. 

Who to contact if you have questions about your visit

Sorry business and sad news

‘Sorry Business’ is a term used during the time of mourning following the death of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Torres Strait Islanders may use the terminology ‘Bad or Sad News’. The term can also refer to the past practice of forcibly removing children from their families. The intensity of mourning is reflective of the importance of the family or person who has died. The mourning process enables healing for the family and community involved.

The death of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person impacts on the whole community, however the experience of Sorry Business or Bad News can vary within each community. Commonly the name of the deceased is not used for some time or the deceased person is called by another name. In some communities, it is respectful to request permission from the relevant family members before using photographs or stories of the person who has passed.

For Torres Strait Island cultures, ‘Tombstone Openings’ are a time for celebration and symbolise the point that brings closure for the family of the deceased through the celebration of the person’s life. There is a lengthy mourning process from the time of the person’s death, culminating with the unveiling of the tombstone ceremony, which is followed by feasting and dancing. This process usually takes place about 1 or 2 years after the funeral, however some families may take longer to prepare for this event. 

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Community justice group

The role of the Community Justice Group (CJG) is to ensure that clients of the service are given appropriate cultural support for court matters. The CJG also provides cultural reports to the courts at sentencing and bail applications, assistance to the courts in managing community-based offences, and networking to implement crime prevention initiatives.

Members of the CJG work closely with a number of justice agencies including the Queensland Magistrates Court, Department of Corrective Services, Queensland Police Service, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. The CJG works to support the community’s understanding of and access to the justice system by working in conjunction with Shire Council by-laws and victim support agencies.

Key ways the CJG is able to assist the community and the courts include:

  • participation in community consultations relevant to the CJG’s role within the criminal justice sector
  • preparation and presentation of written and oral sentencing submissions to the court
  • defendant support and referral (including court support)
  • victim support and referral (including court support)
  • support for debtors wishing to access the State Penalties and Enforcement Registry.

The local CJG for Boigu Island is:

Boigu Island Community Justice Group
C/- Boigu Island Council
Boigu Island 4875

Coordinator: Markie Marama
Director/Chairperson: Pabai Pabai
Phone: 07 4069 4066 or 0427 834 623(chairperson) or 07 4069 4066 (coordinator)
Fax: 07 4069 4732
Email: ethel.anau[at]tsirc.qld.gov.au

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Community services

Use the Queensland Government's one place service directory to find up-to-date contact information for local support services including:

  • legal advice and support services
  • youth justice and support groups
  • domestic and family violence support
  • drug and alcohol services
  • mens' and women's groups
  • accident, emergency and medical services

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More information

 

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