Originally we weren’t going to do the tour over to Thursday Island as is was a bit expensive. However, when we got to the Tip we decided that we had come all of this way, we probably won’t do it again, we should just do it. So we did.
We booked our ferry tickets through reception at Punsand Bay, who were wonderful, and caught the ferry the next day. Peddells Ferry is the only passenger ferry that goes over and they also run a tour. We decided to pass on the tour and instead take a tour with a local guy Dirk who was just starting his own business.
Good choice! He tooks us around on a personalised tour around the island. He was very laid back, but full of information. The name of his company is Lax Charters & Tours and he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday Island (TI) is the administrative and commercial centre of the Torres Strait Islands and the most northerly town in Australia, it has had a fascinating history.
The Island has approx 3000 residents with about 9000 in total on all of the Islands in the area, and there are a few. Dirk, our guide lives on Prince of Wales Island next door to TI and commutes over to work by boat.
First stop on our tour was the Fort on Green Hill which was built in response to a Russian war scare. It is now a museum with amazing views.
We drove around the “suburbs” of TI and then to the cemetery. The Pearling Industry began when pearl shells were first discovered in the Torres Strait in the 1890’s. This attracted workers from surrounding countries. Unfortunately pearling was a perilous job and hundreds of workers, particularly the Japanese, were killed. This makes TI’s cemetery rather unique as the occupants are a mixture of Muslims, Buddhists, Japanese, Pacific Islanders and Torres Strait Islanders. As well as being one of the northern most cemeteries in Australia.
We weren’t able to visit the cultural centre as it wasn’t open because it was Saturday which was disappointing.
Instead we stopped at