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Thursday Island

About Thursday Island

Location

Thursday Island is situated approximately 40km from the mainland of Australia and is part of the ‘Prince of Wales’ island group or ‘inner Islands’ of the Torres Strait.    

Languages

Two distinct traditional languages are spoken throughout the Torres Strait Islands and Northern Peninsula Area. The western and central island groups communicate in Kalaw Lagaw Ya and its variant Kalaw Kawau Ya The language of the eastern islands is Meriam Mir. Each of these languages is spoken on Thursday Island along with Torres Strait Creole and English. The use of an interpreter may be necessary to assist complainants, witnesses, victims and offenders who come before the courts.

History of Thursday Island

Thursday Island facts and figures

Key social indicators from the 2016 Census for the Thursday Island community include:

TRAWQ (communities on Thursday Island's northern side including Tamwoy, Rose Hill, Aplin Waiben and Quarantine)

  • 47.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over had completed year 12 or equivalent
  • 34.7% of households with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were overcrowded.

Port Kennedy

  • 46.6% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 years and over had completed year 12 or equivalent
  • 23.5% 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:

TRAWQ (communities on Thursday Island's northern side including Tamwoy, Rose Hill, Aplin Waiben and Quarantine)

  • 26.2% of dependent children in families with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were from jobless families
  • 8.8% unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years
  • 33.7% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years worked in Health care and social assistance.

Port Kennedy

  • 12.7% of dependent children in families with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were from jobless families
  • 6.6% unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 15 to 64 years
  • 22.6% 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 Thursday 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 Thursday Island

Getting to Thursday Island

There is no airstrip on Thursday Island. There are regular flights from Cairns to Horn Island and a ferry service to take passengers across to Thursday Island. A ferry service from Seisia to Thursday Island is also available.

Seasonal considerations

The wet season in the Torres Strait starts around October and ends in April-May. The region is subject to cyclones during the wet season.

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 restrictions on Thursday Island. 

Local government

Search the local government directory for information about the Torres Shire 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 Shire Council

Phone: 07 4069 1336
Fax: 07 4069 1845
Email: admin[at]torres.qld.gov.au

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, photographs or stories of the deceased are not used without the express permission of relevant family members.

When there is a death in the Thursday Island community, the families of the deceased gather from the day of passing until the funeral. This is a time of mourning, and the immediate, as well as the extended family of the deceased, should preferably not be engaged until after the funeral.
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 Thursday Island is:

Thursday Island Community Justice Group
10 Pearl St, Thursday Island 4875
PO Box 794 Thursday Island 4875

Coordinator: Mr Amos Lewin
Directors/Chairpersons: Mrs Jennifer Thompson, Ms Ivy Bon, Ms Dorothy Elu, Mr Riley Gibia

Phone: 07 4090 3858
Fax: 07 4090 3111
Mobile: 0429 600 258
Email: ti_cjg[at]bigpond.com

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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.