- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Thursday Island, colloquially known as TI, or in the native language, Waiben, is an island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago located approximately 39 km north of Cape York Peninsula. It has an area of approximately 3.5 square km. The Muralag peoples are the traditional owners of the land and seas surrounding Thursday Island. The highest point on Thursday Island, standing at 104 m above sea level, is Milman Hill, a World War II defense facility.
The island has been populated for thousands of years by the Torres Strait islanders, though archaeological evidence on Badu, further north in Torres Strait, suggests that the area has been inhabited from before the end of the last Ice Age. A lucrative pearling industry was founded on the island in 1885, attracting workers from around Asia, including Japan, Malaya and India, seeking their fortune. While the pearling industry has declined in importance, the mix of cultures is evident to this day. The pearling industry centered on the harvesting of pearl shell, which was used mainly to make shirt buttons before the industry was changed with the invention of plastic. During World War II, Thursday Island became the military headquarters for the Torres Strait and was a base for Australian and United States forces. January 1942 saw the evacuation of civilians from the island. Residents of Japanese origin or descent were interned.
The residents did not return until after the end of the war, and many ethnic Japanese were forcibly repatriated. The island was spared from bombing in World War II, due, it was thought, to its being the burial place of many Japanese pearl shell divers, or possibly the Japanese thinking there were still Japanese residents on the island. However, neighboring Horn Island was extensively bombed. There was an air base there, used by the Allies to attack parts of New Guinea.
The Coral Adventurer spends the day on the island with guests able to explore its rich history and cultural influence. There are beautiful foreshore walks and an excellent cultural arts center, Gab Tutui. Optional tours of the WWII history and relics on Horn Island are a part of the expedition.
Traditional custodians: The Muralag peoples
Cape York is not only the broad name of the extensive region of North Queensland, but it is also the name of the northernmost point of Australia or "the tip."
In local indigenous language, it is called "Pajinka," and it is a beautiful spot to trek to with views over emerald waters to nearby York and Eburac islands. A trek to "the tip" is a trip that is somewhat of a pilgrimage for many Australians each year over the dusty roads of Cape York.