Thursday Island situated approximately
39 kilometres off the top of Cape York. T.I, as the islands'
more affectionately known by the locals, is nestled in the
protective embrace of the Prince of Wales group of Islands
in the Torres Strait and is a hilly Island of almost 5 kilometres,
it's multi-cultural population numbers around 4000.
Thursday Island holds some great Australian
History from playing an important role in WW II, acting as
the defence centre for Australia and the near-by Horn Island
being a strategic air-base to the traditional inhabitants
of this group of Islands that stretch from Cape York to the
PNG coastline. These Torres Strait Islanders (being the correct
name for this culturally unique group) lived, fished, traded
and where possible on the islands tended vegetable gardens,
all for them and their families to survive by. They were masters
of the sea and it's many products. The first ever contact
between the Islanders and Europeans wasn't until 1606 when
the Spanish navigator, "Torres" sailed through the
Strait which was subsequently then named after him.
Today Thursday Island owes its present day
identity to the rough and tumble of the early pearling industry
(now declining), (although some pearls are still produced
from seeded culture farms) which turned this quiet administrative
centre into a cosmopolitan township. An interesting blend
of Torres Strait culture, European modernisation and a strong
indo-pacific influence has now shaped this remote pearl into
a fascinating destination. The main industry now is Fishing,
Cray-fishing, Prawning and Trochus.
Thursday Island is an Island that sets
it's own pace, allowing you to relax without the constant
demands of 'City Living'. Here you can enjoy some of the comforts
of home but on a much smaller scale and with some real culture
thrown in. There is an Art Gallery, Museums,Markets, Restaurants
where you can sample the local delicacies including the famous
'Painted Cray', Cafes, Bakeries, Shopping Facilities, Hotels,
Motels, Seafood Factories, Tackle stores for the anglers and
much, much more.