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Thursday Island And Torres Strait

Thursday Island And Torres Strait
After reaching the Tip of Cape York Peninsula, freshening up in one of the surrounding rock pools and taking pics of the sign with your vehicle nearby, so that you will have super bragging rights for when you get home, there is not a great deal left to do. Maybe it's time for a sojourn to Thursday Island in order to recuperate from the many days of harsh travelling by 4WD and to enjoy some of the wonders that the Torres Strait Islands have to offer.

Back at Bamaga, arrangements can be made to order ferry tickets to TI from Seisia Jetty. The fare is about Au$47 per person, kids are half fare and there is a pensioner concession for Queensland residents. Vehicles and stuff can be secured at the Seisia camping grounds.

Thursday Island, affectionately called TI, is just 39km off the northern coast of Cape York Peninsula and was established as the commercial and administrative centre of the Torres Strait group of Islands in 1877 by the Government of Queensland. The Island occupies a land mass of about 3 km sq and supports a population of around 3,000 people. Thursday Island has a full range of facilities where one can find air conditioned accommodation, several hotels, supermarket and a hospital.
Air conditioned buses are used to provide a scenic tour of the island for a reasonable rate. The tours operate mainly during the dry season and are liable to a quota system.

There are many points of interest on Thursday Island, by joining a bus tour one can learn about some of the historical features of the island, such as Green Hill Fort. Due to a suspected invasion by Russia, fortifications were built on Green Hill in 1898. Green Hill is a slightly elevated area that provides a panoramic view of TI and some of the neighbouring islands in Torres Strait.
These days, the bunkers that lie underground, adjacent to the 6 inch BL guns, are being used as a museum with displays of many historical items ranging from European settlement, the early pearling days, military and shipping memorabilia.

The Thursday Island Customs House is a two storey stone building, prominently located on the southern coastline. It was built in 1938 to replace the original timber building that was constructed in 1885. There is a certain amount of history attached to the building which was used by the military as a command post during World War 2, when all civilians were evacuated from the island.

Thursday Island Port is a community port situated in a natural harbour that is a haven for dugong, turtles, a variety of birds and other wildlife species. The port services many islands in the Torres Strait as well as being the entry point for all imports to Thursday Island. It is also the base for the customs, coastal patrol and the navy.

Charter boats operate from the port, providing fishing excursions to many of the reefs in the surrounding waters, scenic tours of Torres Strait and a number of it's islands as well as a daily passenger service to Seisia on the mainland. Melanesian Torres Strait Island people have inhabited Thursday Island for thousands of years before European settlement. The island was originally called Waiben and it is thought that Captain Bligh called it Thursday Island when he passed by after the mutiny on the Bounty.

Put Thursday Island on your list of places to visit when reaching the Tip of Cape York Peninsula.

By: Oze Parrot

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