About Mabuiag Island


Mabuiag (or Gumu as it is traditionally known) is situated in the western island group of Torres Strait and was formerly known as Jervis Island. Moa and Badu Islands to the south make up the remainder of the western island group. Mabuiag is approximately 100km north of Thursday Island in the Napoleon and Arnolds Passage of the Torres Strait.  


The main language spoken on Mabuiag is Goemulgau (Mabuylgau) Ya, a sub-dialect of Kala Lagaw Ya [Ka-la Lug-ow Ya]. Torres Strait Creole, Kala Kawa Ya [Ka-la Kow-a Ya] and English are also spoken throughout this region. Assistance may be required for complainants, witnesses, victims and defendants who come before the court.

History of Mabuiag

Mabuiag facts and figures

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

Native title information

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

[ Return to top ]

Visiting Mabuiag

Mabuiag Island is part of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC). The TSIRC asks all visitors to Mabuiag 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 Mabuiag

Mabuiag 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 Mabuiag Island airport, which has a 730 metre 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

The period of mourning after a death occurs on Mabuiag is known as Awm [Aw-m]. When there is a passing in the community, the family members to come together to be notified about the Sad News. Where a death occurs outside of the community, the in-laws (both males and females), referred to as Marigeth [Mari-get], gather families together and inform the families of the Sad News.

The community will gather together daily to share comfort and support each other until the day of the funeral and a feast is held afterwards to conclude the initial stage of the mourning period from death until the burial. During this time business does not generally take place in the community, however this does not apply to essential services such as policing, child safety, health, education and justice.

For Torres Strait Islander 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. 

[ Return to top ]

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.

For more information about your local Community Justice Group:

[ Return to top ]

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

[ Return to top ]

More information


[ Return to top ]