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Mabuiag, also known as "Mabuyag" and natively "Mabuyaagi", formerly "Jervis Island") is one of the Torres Strait Islands in Queensland, Australia. Mabuiag is also a town and locality in the Torres Strait Island Region local government area.[2][3] In the 2016 census, Mabuiag Island had a population of 210 people.[1]

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Native name:
Mabuyaagi, Gœmu
Landsat image of the Bellevue Islands, with Mabuiag in the centre
LocationArafura Sea
ArchipelagoBellevue Islands
Total islands11
Local government areaTorres Strait Island Region
Population251 (2006)
Ethnic groupsMabuiag people
Mabuiag Island
Mabuiag Island
Coordinates9.9535°S 142.1922°E / -9.9535; 142.1922
Population210 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density33.3/km2 (86.3/sq mi)
Area6.3 km2 (2.4 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10:00)
  • 23 km (14 mi) N of Badu Island
  • 30 km (19 mi) NNW of Moa Island
  • 69 km (43 mi) N of Thursday Island
  • 863 km (536 mi) NNW of Cairns
  • 2,247 km (1,396 mi) NNW of Brisbane
LGA(s)Torres Strait Island Region
State electorate(s)Cook
Federal division(s)Leichhardt
Localities around Mabuiag Island:
Torres Strait Torres Strait Torres Strait
Torres Strait Mabuiag Island Torres Strait
Torres Strait Badu Island Moa Island


The island is in the Bellevue Islands group, 100 kilometres (62 mi) north of Thursday Island in the Napoleon Passage and Arnolds Passage of the Torres Strait. It has other traditional names as well, such as Gœmu (strictly speaking the name of the South-East part of Mabuiag).

This island is one of the Torres Strait Islands, originally named by Captain William Bligh, "Jervis Island", and so labelled on early English language maps.[4]


Archaeological excavations have shown that people arrived on Mabuiag at least 7300 years ago. During this period, Islanders were able to survive by fishing and hunting dugong.[5] The island continued to be occupied by small communities for the subsequent 5000 years, with pottery (usually associated with Melanesian peoples) found at two sites, Mui (East coast of Mabuiag) and Mask Cave (on adjacent islet, Pulu) dating from approximately 2000 years ago. The past 1000 years witnessed expansion in site use, including formation of multiple ethnographically-significant 'villages', including Gœmu, Wagedœgam and Dhabangay. During the past 400–500 years large, highly structured mounds of dugong bone, as well as shell and stone arrangements provide evidence for emerging totemic divisions[6]

The "Footprints before me – Torres Strait Island Missions and Communities" webpage tells the following history of Mabuiag Island and the people living there[7]

Kala Lagaw Ya (more correctly Kalaw Lagaw Ya (KLY) and Gœmulgaw Ya) is one of the languages of the Torres Strait. Kalaw Lagaw Ya is the traditional language of the Western and Central islands of the Torres Strait. The Kalaw Lagaw Ya language region includes the torritory within the local government boundaries of the Torres Shire Council.[8]

Kalaw Lagaw Ya, alt. Gœmulgaw Ya, is specifically the dialect of Mabuyaagi (Mabuiag) and Badhu (Badu), there not being a traditional name for the language as a whole. Kalaw Lagaw Ya is used in academic literature as a cover term for the whole language, and is one of the two indigenous languages of Torres Strait; in earlier works it was also called Mabuiag. The Gœmulgaw Ya region includes the island territory of Mabuiag within the local government boundaries of the Torres Shire Council and Mabuiag Island Council and by extension Badhu.[9]

In 1606, Luís Vaz de Torres sailed through, and navigated, Torres Strait islands, along New Guinea's southern coast.[10]

"The Mabuiag people had a reputation for hostility to outsiders until their acceptance of Christianity in the early 1870s. In 1877 the mission moved to Bau where the water supply was better. Later, the missionaries persuaded the people to join them at Bau, which became the main settlement. By 1898, Mabuiag people were labouring on pearling luggers for wages, while many followed work to Thursday Island and further to the mainland. An official presence on Mabuiag began during the mid-1920s when Queensland Government posted teachers there. An Island Industries Board store opened in 1946".

Mabuiag Island State School opened on 29 January 1985. On 1 January 2007 the school became the Maubuiag Island campus of Tagai State College, an amalgamation of 17 Torres Strait Island schools.[11][12]


The island is one of the only ones in the Strait to have an airport, though its runway is the smallest in Australia to have commercial service. The runway as Mabuiag Island Airport is only 390 metres long.


The Torres Strait Islands Regional Council operates an Indigenous Knowledge Centre with public library facilities on Main Street, known as Ngalpun Ngulaygaw Lag Resource Centre 'Our Place of Learning'.[13][14][15]


Tagai State College has 17 campuses throughout the Torres Strait. Its Mabuiag Island campus (Mabuygiw Ngurpay Lag) provides primary (Early Childhood-6) education at School Street (9.9546°S 142.1895°E / -9.9546; 142.1895 (Tagai State College - Mabuiag Island Campus)).[16][17]

There is no secondary school on the island. The nearest secondary school is on Thursday Island.[12]

Security Issues

On 5 February 2008, after working on the island for a couple of months, a 27-year-old nurse from New South Wales was attacked and raped in her sleeping quarters by a resident of the island; previously, she had frequently emailed her superiors on Thursday Island about the lack of adequate security on the island.[18] The incident prompted a review of security on the island and an inquiry into the sexual attack was launched by the Government of Queensland. In February 2009, more than a year after it had begun, the inquiry's findings had still not been released, while the alleged rapist, Dennis Kris, 23, was on bail before being due to be sentenced later that year.[19]

On Monday, 16 August 2010, Dennis William Kris pleaded guilty in the Cairns District Court to rape, unlawfully entering a dwelling to commit an indictable offence and unlawfully entering a dwelling at night with intent.[20] Judge William Everson sentenced Kris to six years' jail on the first count, three years on the second, one year on the third, to be served concurrently. Everson ordered, however, that as Kris had spent 785 days in pre-sentence custody, he could apply for immediate parole.[20] Kris's mother worked at the medical centre on Mabuiag. Kris stole keys to the centre and sleeping quarters from his mother's briefcase. He let himself into the facility late at night where he attacked the sleeping woman. He and several friends then stayed outside the facility until daylight, calling out to and mocking the victim. Kris had disabled the nurse's telephone while he was in the building so she could not call for assistance.[20] When the nurse called her Queensland Health superiors on Thursday Island the morning after the rape, she was told to "put it behind you and get back to work". The nurse left the island that day to seek medical help; Queensland Health immediately stopped her pay – it was only reinstated when the details were published in The Australian.[20]

In April 2010, a Magistrates' Court was opened on the island for the first time.[21] The court is part of the Torres Strait Court Circuit which is conducted on various islands in the Torres Strait on a rotational basis.

See also

External video
Mask (Buk), Torres Strait, Mabuiag Island, Smarthistory


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mabuiag Island (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  2. "Mabuiag Island – town in Torres Strait Island Region (entry 20346)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  3. "Mabuiag Island – locality in Torres Strait Island Region (entry 46704)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  4. "Mabuiag Island – island in the Torres Strait Region (entry 20345)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  5. Wright, D. and G. Jacobsen. 2013. Further radiocarbon dates from Dabangay, a mid- to late Holocene settlement site in western Torres Strait Australian Archaeology Association 76:79–83.
  6. McNiven, I. J. and Bedingfield, A. C. 2008. Past and present marine mammal hunting rates and abundances: dugong (Dugong dugon) evidence from Dabangai bone mound, Torres Strait. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 505–15.
  7. Mabuiag Island mission history from State Library of Queensland website Archived 12 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  8. This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map". State Library of Queensland. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  9. This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Mabuiag". Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map. State Library of Queensland. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  10. "Torres, Luis Vaez de (?–?)". Retrieved 14 July 2011.
  11. "Opening and closing dates of Queensland Schools". Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  12. Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
  13. "Mabuiag (Ngalpun Ngulaygaw Lag Resource Centre)". Public Libraries Connect. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  14. "About Mabuiag IKC". Wayback Machine. 20 February 2017. Archived from the original on 20 February 2017. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  15. "Mabuiag Public Access Facilities". Torres Strait Island Regional Council. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  16. "State and non-state school details". Queensland Government. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  17. "Tagai State College – Mabuiag Island Campus". Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  18. Sarah Elks and Tony Koch (12 March 2008). "Security boost after island rape". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  19. "Findings delayed in nurse sex attack inquiry". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  20. Tony Koch and Sarah Elks (18 August 2010). "Nurse slams rapist's jail sentence". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  21. "Magistrate's Court opens at Mabuiag Island". Torres News. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.

На других языках

[de] Mabuiag

Mabuiag ist eine Insel der Bellevue-Inseln, einer zu Australien gehörigen Inselgruppe im Archipel der Torres-Strait-Inseln. Verwaltungstechnisch zählt sie zu den Western Islands, einer Inselregion im Verwaltungsbezirk Torres Shire von Queensland.
- [en] Mabuiag Island

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