Torres Strait Islands

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Torres Strait Islands
Map of the islands
Map of the islands
Waters Torres Strait ( Pacific Ocean )
Geographical location 9 ° 53 '  S , 142 ° 35'  E Coordinates: 9 ° 53 '  S , 142 ° 35'  E
Torres Strait Islands (Oceania)
Torres Strait Islands
Number of islands 270
Main island Thursday Island
Total land area 1000 km²
Thursday Island with city.
Thursday Island with city.

The Torres Strait Islands are a group of islands in the Torres Strait marine passage between the northern tip of Australia , Cape York , and the south coast of Papua New Guinea . Most of them belong to the Australian state of Queensland . Some islands along the south coast of New Guinea belong to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

They include over 270 islands, of which only 21 are inhabited (19 on the Australian side and Daru and Parama Island on the Papua New Guinea side). The main island is Thursday Island ( Waiben ) on the Australian side . Daru as the provincial capital of the Western Province of New Guinea is even bigger. The largest island in terms of area is the neighboring and barely populated Prince of Wales Island .


The islands were part of the land bridge between New Guinea and Australia until about 6000 years ago. About 1000 years ago they were settled by Melanesian seafarers.

In 1606, six months before Luiz Vaéz de Torres , after whom these islands were named, the Dutchman Willem Janszoon discovered the islands with his ship, the Duyfken . In 1770 the Torres Strait Islands were occupied by the British under James Cook as part of Australia.

Political structure

The islands of the Torres Strait Islands, which mostly belong to Australia (some northern islands like Daru belong to Papua New Guinea , they are close to its coast), administratively belong to the municipality of Torres Shire and are divided into five administrative units (island regions) from north to south :

  1. Top western group
  2. Western group
  3. Central group
  4. Eastern group
  5. Inner Islands group (with the main island Thursday Island)


On the islands in addition to the official language is English , among other Mabuiag, Meriam and the common language Torres Strait Creole (one the Tok Pisin related Papua New Guinea Creole language ) spoken. In 2001, the population of all islands, with the exception of Daru and Parama, which belong to Papua New Guinea, was 8069. Of these, 6214 were Torres Strait islanders ( Melanesians or Papua ) or Aboriginal people .

The islands have long suffered from ongoing migration to mainland Australia.


Web links

Commons : Torres Strait Islands  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files