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Poruma

About Poruma

Location

Poruma, also known as Coconut Island, is situated in the central island group of the Torres Strait along with Masig, Iama and Warraber. Poruma is a narrow coral island approximately 1.4km long and 400m wide, bound by shallow, fringing coral reefs. 

Languages

The main language spoken on Poruma is the original dialect of Kala Kawa Ya [Kal-a Kow-a Ya]. Torres Strait Creole and English are also spoken. Assistance may be required for complainants,  witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the court.

History of Poruma

Poruma facts and figures

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

  • 61% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over had completed year 12 or equivalent
  • 22.9% 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:

  • 6.5% of dependent children in families with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were from jobless families
  • 0% unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years (25 from 95 people not in the labour force)
  • 30.2% 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 Poruma, 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 Poruma

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

Poruma is very remote and access is via boat or air. Commercial and charter flights are available from Horn Island. 

Seasonal considerations

The region is subject to seasonal cycles with heavy monsoonal rains throughout summer.

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. 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 death occurs in the Poruma community, an announcement to members of the family and the community is made by an elder, a local priest or the councillor. After being informed of the death, the community shuts down.

In-laws (both males and females) referred to as Marigeth [Mari-get] play a very important role during the period following the death. 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.

On the day of the funeral, the community shuts down again and a feast is held afterwards to conclude the initial stage of the mourning period from the death until the burial. The terminology used for the wake in the central islands of the Torres Strait is ‘Thoerbaw-Ay [Thur-bow Ya]’.
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

Poruma does not currently have a community justice group.

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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.