Masig

About Masig (Yorke Island)

Location

Masig, also known as Yorke Island, is a coral cay situated in the eastern area of the central island group of the Torres Strait. The island is approximately 2.7km long and 0.8km at its widest point. 

Languages

The predominant language spoken on Masig is Torres Strait Creole. Other languages include Kulkalgaw Ya, which is a dialect of Kala Lagaw Ya, and English. The use of an interpreter may be necessary to assist complainants, witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the courts.

History of Masig

Masig facts and figures

Key social indicators from the 2016 Census for the Masig community include:

  • 50.6% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over had completed year 12 or equivalent
  • 19.3% of households with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were overcrowded.

The following figures are from the 2011 Census and will be updated later in 2017:

  • 22.5% of dependent children in families with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were from jobless families
  • 11.9% unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years
  • 34.7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years worked in the Public administration and safety industry.

For more 2011 and 2016 census information on education, employment, income, housing figures and more for Masig, 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 Masig

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

The Torres Strait Island Regional Council operates the airstrip on Masig. Travel to the island is via Horn Island Airport. A number of flight companies operate flights throughout the Torres Strait.

Seasonal considerations

The wet season in the Torres Strait starts around October and ends in April-May. The region may be subject to strong weather conditions at this time.

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 managment plans for islands in the Torres Strait. 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

Regional Director (Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships)

Phone: 07 4069 1243
Mobile: 0400 769 868

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Phone: 07 4034 5700
Fax: 07 4034 5750
Email: info[at]TSIRC.qld.gov.au

Sorry business and sad news

When a member of the Masig community passes away, several customs and traditons will take place.

The entire community shuts upon hearing the Sad News as well as on the day of the funeral. The announcement to members of the family and the community is made by an elder, a local priest or the councillor. In-laws (both males and females) ,referred to as Marigeth [Mari-get], play a very important role during the initial mourning period. Their tasks are organising meals, funeral arrangements and ensuring that family and community members are safe and supported. The community gathers together daily to share, comfort and support each other until the day of the funeral. A feast is held after the funeral to conclude the initial stage of the mourning period.

During this time business does not generally take place in the community. 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. 

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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 Masig is:

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

Coordinator: Songhi Billy 
Chairperson: Moses Mene

Phone: 07 4069 4128 (Moses Mene)
Fax: 07 4083 2761
Mobile: 0458 095 337 (Moses Mene) or 0487 828 846 (Songhi Billy)
Email: songhi.billy[at]tsirc.qld.gov.au or ned.mosby[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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Is your feedback

Please submit your comments on the department's Compliments and Complaints section.

Please submit your comments on the Queensland Government website Contacts form.