The Torres Strait Islands are a group of islands, numbering more than 100, which lie in Torres Strait, the waterway separating Cape York, Queensland, Australia from Papua New Guinea.
The islands are part of the State of Queensland. The indigenous inhabitants of the islands, Torres Strait Islanders are Melanesian culturally akin to the coastal people of Papua, distinguishable from the Aboriginal people of the rest of Australia.
The administrative centre of the islands is Thursday Island. It was at Possession Island that Captain James Cook first claimed British sovereignty over the eastern part of Australia in 1770.
Murray Island was the home of Eddie Mabo, whose case in the High Court of Australia established the legal existence of native title, by which the indigenous inhabitants of Australia were recogised as have rights to land which pre-dated European settlement.
The Torres Strait Islands group include:
According to the 2001 Australian census, the population of the Torres Strait was 8089, of whom 6214 were either of Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal origin.
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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04