Thursday Island, colloquially known as TI, or in the native language, Waiben, is an island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago located 39 kilometres north of Cape York Peninsula in the Torres Strait, Australia. It has an area of about 3.5 square kilometres. The Muralag peoples are the traditional owners of the land and seas surrounding Thursday Island; the highest point on Thursday Island, standing at 104 metres above sea level, is Milman Hill, a World War II defence facility. At the 2011 census, Thursday Island had a population of 2,610. Thursday Island is within the Shire of Torres, but is the administrative and commercial centre of the Torres Strait Island Region despite not being part of that local government area; the island has been populated for thousands of years by the Torres Strait Islanders, though archeological evidence on Badu, further north in Torres Strait, suggests that the area has been inhabited from before the end of the last Ice Age. The archeology from Badhu, Pulu and Mer shows that Melanesian occupation started around 2,600 years ago.
The original place of permanent European settlement in Torres Strait was Somerset, south-east of the tip of Cape York Peninsula, established in 1864. However, the channel between Albany Island and Somerset proved to be hazardous for a port and in 1875 it was jointly decided by the Queensland and British governments to transfer the port to the deep anchorage on the south side of Thursday Island; the new port was called Port Kennedy, after Edmund Kennedy, the explorer of Cape York Peninsula, was established in 1867. In 1877, an administrative centre for the Torres Strait Islands was set up on the island by the Queensland Government and by 1883 over 200 pearling vessels were based on the island. A lucrative pearling industry was founded on the island in 1884, attracting workers from around Asia, including Japan and India, seeking their fortune; the Japanese community was in part indentured divers and boat hands who returned to Japan after a period of service and some longer term residents who were active in boat building and in the ownership of luggers for hire -, illegal but bypassed by leases through third parties back to other Japanese, a practice called "dummying."
Additionally, many south Pacific Islanders worked in the industry, some imported against their will. While the pearling industry has declined in importance, the mix of cultures is evident to this day; the pearling industry centred on the harvesting of pearl shell, used to make shirt buttons. The local pearl oyster is Pinctada maxima. Trochus shell was gathered by boats that specialised in this. Most shell was exported as the raw material - to a London-based market. Pearls themselves were rare and a bonus for the crew; the boats used were graceful two-masted luggers. In shallow water free diving was used while in deeper water diver's dress, or an abbreviated form of it, with a surface air supply was used. In good times there were three divers to a lugger, a stern diver, one midships, one diver off the bow. A manual air compressor was used, it looked. For part of the fleet that operated further from Thursday Island, larger vessels schooners were used as mother ships to the luggers. Shell was opened on the mother vessels rather than on the luggers, in order to secure any pearls found.
The waters of the Straits are murky and visibility was very poor. Though dive depths were not great, except at the Darnley Deep, 40 fathoms, attacks of the bends were common and deaths frequent. On 25 August 1887, The Paterson Telegraph Station on the West Coast of Cape York was opened, it connected the Cape York Telegraph Line with Thursday Island, via an undersea cable. In the late-19th and early-20th centuries Thursday Island was a regular stop for vessels trading between the east coast of Australia and Southeast Asia. A shipping disaster to a vessel in this service occurred in 1890 when RMS Quetta struck an uncharted reef in the Strait and sank in five minutes with the loss of over 130 lives; the Anglican Church on Thursday Island built shortly afterwards was named the Quetta All Souls Memorial Cathedral in memory of the event. Today the church is called All St Bartholomew Church. Cyclone Mahina, which hit Bathurst Bay, southeast of Thursday Island in 1899, wrecked the pearling fleet sheltering there, with huge losses of vessels and lives.
The fear of Russian invasion as a result of the deterioration of relations between the Russian Empire and the British Empire led to a fort on Battery Point being built in 1892 to protect the island. The fort is today a heritage feature of the island. Local pearling declined up to the Second World War through competition from a Japanese-based fleet which did not use local resources or personnel. In the 1950s plastic buttons imitating pearl supplanted much of the demand for shell. Before the decline, pearl fishing was taken by the island-based fleet to the Aru Islands in what was the Dutch East Indies. During World War II, Thursday Island became the military headquarters for the Torres Strait and was a base for Australian and United States forces. January 1942 saw the evacuation of civilians from the island. Residents of Japanese origin or descent were interned; the residents did not return until after the end of the war and many ethnic Japanese were forcibly repatriated. The island was spared from bombing in World War II, due, it was thought, to it being the burial place of many Japanese pearl shell divers, or the
Murray Island, Queensland
Murray Island called Mer in the native Meriam language, is a small island of volcanic origin, the most easterly inhabited island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago, just north of the Great Barrier Reef. The island is populated by the Melanesian Meriam people, which has a population of around 485 as of 2006 census; the Murray Group comprises three islands: Dowar Island and Wyer Island. There are eight Meriam clans: Komet, Meuram, Geuram, Meriam-Samsep and Dauer Meriam; the organisation of the island is based on the traditional laws of ownership. Administrative control of the island rest with the Torres Strait Regional Authority. Murray Island, located in the eastern section of Torres Strait, is a basaltic island formed from an extinct volcano, last active over a million years ago, it formed as a result. The island rises to a plateau 80 metres above mean sea level; the highest point of the island is the western end of the volcano crater. The island is covered in dense vegetation; the island has a tropical climate with a dry season.
Murray Island has been inhabited for around 2800 years, the first settlers being Papuo-Austronesians who brought agriculture and pot making with them. Regular contact between the inhabitants of Torres Strait, Europeans and other outsiders began once the Torres Strait became a means of passage between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in the 19th Century; the inhabitants of the Torres Strait, including the Meriam people, gained a reputation as fierce warriors and skilled mariners. Warfare and head hunting were part of the culture of all Torres Strait islanders; the account of Jack Ireland, a surviving cabin boy from the barque Charles Eaton, wrecked in 1834 at Detached Reef near the entrance to Torres Strait is of interest in this respect. He spent much of his time on Murray Island before being rescued. A large ceremonial mask was recovered in 1836 from a neighbouring island - Aureed Island, following his rescue and that of young William D'Oyley, the only other survivor of the Charles Eaton, their return to Sydney.
The mask was made of turtle shells surrounded by numerous skulls, seventeen of which were determined as having belonged to the crew and passengers of the Charles Eaton who were massacred when they came ashore following the shipwreck. The mask was entered into the collection of the Australian Museum after the skulls were buried on 17 November 1836 in a mass grave in the Sydney cemetery in Devonshire Street. An appropriate monument - in the form of a huge altar stone - recording the catastrophe by which they perished was erected; when the Devonshire Street Cemetery was resumed for the site of the Central Railway Station in 1904 the skulls and the monument were removed to Bunnerong Cemetery at Botany Bay Sydney. Missionaries and some other Polynesians began to settle on the island in 1872 when the London Missionary Society founded a missionary school there; the Queensland Government annexed the islands in 1879. Tom Roberts, the well-known Australian painter, visited the island in 1892, he depicted it in a painting.
In 1936, a maritime strike fuelled by Islander dissatisfaction with the fact that their wages and boats were managed by the Protector of Aborigines allowed islanders to assert control and reject government controls. In 1937, the inaugural meeting of Island Councillors on Yorke Island resulted in the Torres Strait Islander Act, giving Islanders more authority in their own affairs and established local governments on each island. After the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941, over 700 Islanders volunteered to defend the Torres Strait; this group was organised into the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion. The migration of Islanders to mainland Australia increased as jobs disappeared in the pearling industry. A call for independence from Australia in the 1980s was due to the government failing to provide basic infrastructure on the island. Murray Island's most famous resident was trade unionist Eddie Mabo, whose decision to sue the Queensland Government to secure ownership of his land, removed from his ancestors by the British colonial powers using the terra nullius legal concept led to the High Court of Australia, on appeal from the Supreme Court of the State of Queensland, issue the "Mabo decision" to recognise Mabo's rights on his land on 3 June 1992.
This decision continues to have ramifications for Australia. Mabo himself died a few months before the decision. After vandalism to his grave site, he was reburied on Murray Island where the islanders performed a traditional ceremony for the burial of a king; the people of Mer maintain their traditional culture. Modern influences such as consumer goods, television and radio are having an impact on traditional practices and culture. Despite this and dance remains an integral part of island life and is demonstrated through celebrations such as Mabo Day, Coming of the Light, Tombstone openings and other cultural events. In 2007, after two years of negotiations, the skulls of five Islander tribesmen were returned to Australia from a Glasgow museum where they had been archived for more than 100 years; the artist Ricardo Idagi was born on Murray Island. Idagi won the main prize at the Western Australian Indigenous Art Awards in 2009; the people of Murray Island speak Torres Strait Creole and Meriam, a member of the Eastern Trans-Fly languages of Trans–New Guinea.
Coconut Island (Queensland)
Coconut Island, Poruma Island, or Puruma in the local language, is an island in the Great North East Channel near Cumberland Passage, Torres Strait, Australia. One of the Torres Strait Islands, Coconut Island is 130 kilometres northeast of Thursday Island. Administratively, Coconut Island is a town and Poruma Island is the locality within the Shire of Torres. In the 2011 census, Poruma Island had a population of 149 people; the ancestors of Coconut Island built their houses out of grass, coconut leaves and trees that floated down from the Fly River jungles of Papua New Guinea. The islands have sea turtle hatcheries, bird life, giant clam ground, huge palms, World War II relics and massive sand flats; the language of Poruma is the Kulkalgau Ya dialect of Kalau Lagau Ya. Poruma known as Coconut Island, is situated in the central island group of the Torres Strait, it is a narrow coral island 1.4 km long and 400m wide, bounded by shallow, fringing coral reefs. The Torres Strait Islander people of Poruma are of Melanesian origin and lived in village communities following traditional patterns of hunting and trade for many thousands of years before contact was made with the first European visitors to the region.
The Traditional Owners of Poruma are the Fauid families. In the 1860s, beche-de-mer and pearling boats began working the reefs of Torres Strait. An unnamed Frenchman and an operator named Colin Thomson are believed to have harvested the reefs surrounding Poruma in the 1860s. Another operator named Captain Walton began employing men from Poruma to work as divers and crew on his vessels in the early 1870s. An Englishman named George Pearson operated a pearling station on Poruma in the 1870s and a semi-permanent floating beche-de-mer station was established near the island around 1872. In 1872, the Queensland Government sought to extend its jurisdiction and requested the support of the British Government. Letters Patent were issued by the British Government in 1872 creating a new boundary for the colony, which encompassed all islands within a 60 nautical mile radius of the coast of Queensland; this boundary was further extended to 96 km by the Queensland Coast Islands Act 1879 and included the islands of Boigu, Erub and Saibai, which lay beyond the previous 60 nautical mile limit.
The new legislation enabled the Queensland Government to control and regulate bases for the beche-de-mer and pearling industries which had operated outside its jurisdiction. Torres Strait Islanders refer to the arrival of London Missionary Society missionaries in July 1871 as ‘the Coming of the Light.’ Around 1900, the LMS missionary Rev. Walker established a philanthropic business scheme named Papuan Industries Limited. PIL encouraged Islander communities to co-operatively rent or purchase their own pearl luggers or ‘company boats.’ The ‘company boats’, were used to harvest pearl shells and beche-de-mer, sold and distributed by PIL. The people of Poruma purchased their first company boats around 1905. Company boats provided Islanders with income and a sense of community pride and improved transport and communication between the islands. In November 1912, 800 acres of land on Poruma were gazetted as an Aboriginal reserve by the Queensland Government. Many other Torres Strait Islands were gazetted as Aboriginal reserves at the same time.
A government report from 1912 mentioned that Poruma was used as a rendezvous point and anchorage for fishing and pearl boats and suggested that the Islander population be removed to Yorke Island, to allow the children of the island to attend the new school on Yorke Island. Reports from 1913 indicate that while some Islander families left Poruma and moved to Sue and Yorke Islands, many refused to leave the island. By 1918, a Protector of Aboriginals had been appointed to Thursday Island and, during the 1920s and 1930s, racial legislation was applied to Torres Strait Islanders, enabling the government to remove Islanders to reserves and mission across Queensland. A world-wide influenza epidemic reached the Torres Strait in 1920, resulting in 96 deaths in the region; the Queensland Government provided the Islands of Coconut and Yam with food relief to help them recover from the outbreak. In March 1923, the islands of Coconut and Yorke were hit by a ‘violent hurricane’ which destroyed local crops and gardens.
In 1936, around 70% of the Torres Strait Islander workforce went on strike in the first organised challenge against government authority made by Torres Strait Islanders. The nine-month strike was an expression of Islanders’ anger and resentment at increasing government control of their livelihoods; the strike was a protest against government interference in wages and commerce and called for the lifting of evening curfews, the removal of the permit system for inter-island travel and the recognition of Islanders’ right to recruit their own boat crews. The strike produced a number of significant innovations. Unpopular local Protector J. D McLean was replaced by Cornelius O'Leary. O’Leary established a system of regular consultations with elected Islander council representatives; the new island councils were given a degree of autonomy, including control over local police and courts. On 23 August 1937, O’Leary convened the first Inter Islander Councillors Conference at Yorke Island. Representatives from 14 Torres Strait communities attended.
Mimia and Abiu Fauid represented Poruma at the conference. After lengthy discussions, unpopular bylaws were cancelled, a new code of local representation was agreed upon. In 1939, the Queensland Government passed the Torres Strait Islander Act 1939, which incorporated many of the recommendations discu
Luís Vaz de Torres
Luís Vaz de Torres, or Luis Váez de Torres in the Spanish spelling, was a 16th- and 17th-century maritime explorer of a Spanish expedition noted for the first recorded European navigation of the strait which separates the mainland of Australia from the island of New Guinea, which now bears his name. Captain Luis Váez de Torres was recorded as being called a "Breton" by crewmen in reports of the 1606–1608 voyage, which points to an origin in the northwest province of Spain, i. e. Galicia. Most contemporary historians accept this as evidence of his origins; the year and exact place of his birth are unknown. Torres has been presented by some writers without any evidence other than his name. Galician spelling at the time being indistinguishable from Portuguese. Records never call Torres Portuguese but note remarks made by crew members of the Portuguese origins of Pedro Fernandes de Queirós. Torres entered the navy of the Spanish Crown at some point and found his way to its South American colonies.
By late 160, he first entered the historical record as the nominated commander of the second ship in an expedition to the Pacific proposed by the Portuguese born navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós, searching for Terra Australis. There is no known contemporary depiction of his person. Pedro Fernandes de Queirós was a Portuguese-born navigator who commanded a party of three Spanish ships, San Pedro y San Pablo, San Pedrico and the tender Los Tres Reyes Magos; the three ships left Callao in Spanish Peru, on 21 December 1605, with Torres in command of the San Pedrico. In May 1606, they reached a group of islands that would be known as the New Hebrides and Vanuatu. Queirós named the group La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo: "Austrialia of the Holy Spirit". A morphological derivation of Austria, Queirós's neologism Austrialia was a reference to the Austrian origins of the House of Habsburg – to which the Spanish royal family belonged; the largest island in Vanuatu is still known by the abbreviated form, Espiritu Santo.
Along with the ancient Latin name Terra Australis, Queirós's word Austrialia has been regarded as one of the bases of the name of Australia. After six weeks, Queirós’ ships put to sea again to explore the coastline. On the night of 11 June 1606 Queirós in the San Pedro y San Pablo became separated from the other ships in bad weather and was unable to return to safe anchorage at Espiritu Santo, he sailed to Acapulco in Mexico, where he arrived in November 1606. In the account by Prado, critical of Queirós, mutiny and poor leadership are given as the reason for Queirós’ disappearance. Torres remained silent on the subject other than to write that his "condition was different to that of Captain Queirós." Torres remained at Espiritu Santo for 15 days before opening sealed orders he had been given by the Viceroy of Peru. These contained instructions on what course to follow if the ships became separated and who would be in command in the event of the loss of Queirós; the orders appear to have listed Prado as successor to Queirós, as he was capitan-entretenido on the voyage.
However, there is overwhelming evidence Torres remained including Prado's own account. On 26 June 1606 the San Los Tres Reyes Magos under Torres' command set sail for Manila. Contrary winds prevented the ships taking the more direct route along the north coast of New Guinea. Prado’s account notes that they sighted land on 14 July 1606, the island of Tagula in the Louisiade Archipelago, south east of New Guinea; the voyage continued over the next two months along the southeastern coast, a number of landfalls were made to replenish the ships’ food and water. The expedition discovered Milne Bay including Basilaki Island which they named Tierra de San Buenaventura, taking possession of the land for Spain in July 1606; this brought the sometimes violent contact with local indigenous people. Prado and Torres both record the capture of twenty people, including a woman who gave birth several weeks later. From these islands, Torres sailed along the southern coast of New Guinea reaching Orangerie Bay, which he named Bahía de San Lorenzo because he landed on 10 August, the feast of Saint Lawrence or San Lorenzo.
The expedition sailed to the Gulf of Papua and charting the coastline. Prado drew a number of sketch charts of anchorages in the Gulf of Papua. Torres took a route close to the New Guinea coast to navigate the 150 kilometre strait that now bears his name. In 1980 the Queensland master mariner Captain Brett Hilder proposed that it was more that Torres took a southerly route through the nearby channel now called Endeavour Strait, on 2–3 October 1606. From this position, he would have seen Cape York, the northernmost extremity of Australia. According to 19th-century Australian writer George Collingridge, Torres "had discovered Australia without being aware of the fact". However, Willem Janszoon had made several landfalls on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula 7 to 8 months prior, while Torres never claimed that he had sighted the southern continent. "Here there are large islands, more to the south" he wrote. Torres followed the coastline of New Guinea, claimed possession of the island in the name of the King of Spain on 18 October 1606.
On 27 October he reached the western extremity of New Guinea and made his way north of Ceram and Misool toward the Halmahera Sea. At the beginning of January 1607 he reached part of the Spice Islands, he sailed on 1 Ma
Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world, it holds letters patent as the Queen's Printer. The press mission is "to further the University's mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education and research at the highest international levels of excellence". Cambridge University Press is a department of the University of Cambridge and is both an academic and educational publisher. With a global sales presence, publishing hubs, offices in more than 40 countries, it publishes over 50,000 titles by authors from over 100 countries, its publishing includes academic journals, reference works and English language teaching and learning publications. Cambridge University Press is a charitable enterprise that transfers part of its annual surplus back to the university. Cambridge University Press is both the oldest publishing house in the world and the oldest university press.
It originated from letters patent granted to the University of Cambridge by Henry VIII in 1534, has been producing books continuously since the first University Press book was printed. Cambridge is one of the two privileged presses. Authors published by Cambridge have included John Milton, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell, Stephen Hawking. University printing began in Cambridge when the first practising University Printer, Thomas Thomas, set up a printing house on the site of what became the Senate House lawn – a few yards from where the press's bookshop now stands. In those days, the Stationers' Company in London jealously guarded its monopoly of printing, which explains the delay between the date of the university's letters patent and the printing of the first book. In 1591, Thomas's successor, John Legate, printed the first Cambridge Bible, an octavo edition of the popular Geneva Bible; the London Stationers objected strenuously. The university's response was to point out the provision in its charter to print "all manner of books".
Thus began the press's tradition of publishing the Bible, a tradition that has endured for over four centuries, beginning with the Geneva Bible, continuing with the Authorized Version, the Revised Version, the New English Bible and the Revised English Bible. The restrictions and compromises forced upon Cambridge by the dispute with the London Stationers did not come to an end until the scholar Richard Bentley was given the power to set up a'new-style press' in 1696. In July 1697 the Duke of Somerset made a loan of £200 to the university "towards the printing house and presse" and James Halman, Registrary of the University, lent £100 for the same purpose, it was in Bentley's time, in 1698, that a body of senior scholars was appointed to be responsible to the university for the press's affairs. The Press Syndicate's publishing committee still meets and its role still includes the review and approval of the press's planned output. John Baskerville became University Printer in the mid-eighteenth century.
Baskerville's concern was the production of the finest possible books using his own type-design and printing techniques. Baskerville wrote, "The importance of the work demands all my attention. Caxton would have found nothing to surprise him if he had walked into the press's printing house in the eighteenth century: all the type was still being set by hand. A technological breakthrough was badly needed, it came when Lord Stanhope perfected the making of stereotype plates; this involved making a mould of the whole surface of a page of type and casting plates from that mould. The press was the first to use this technique, in 1805 produced the technically successful and much-reprinted Cambridge Stereotype Bible. By the 1850s the press was using steam-powered machine presses, employing two to three hundred people, occupying several buildings in the Silver Street and Mill Lane area, including the one that the press still occupies, the Pitt Building, built for the press and in honour of William Pitt the Younger.
Under the stewardship of C. J. Clay, University Printer from 1854 to 1882, the press increased the size and scale of its academic and educational publishing operation. An important factor in this increase was the inauguration of its list of schoolbooks. During Clay's administration, the press undertook a sizeable co-publishing venture with Oxford: the Revised Version of the Bible, begun in 1870 and completed in 1885, it was in this period as well that the Syndics of the press turned down what became the Oxford English Dictionary—a proposal for, brought to Cambridge by James Murray before he turned to Oxford. The appointment of R. T. Wright as Secretary of the Press Syndicate in 1892 marked the beginning of the press's development as a modern publishing business with a defined editorial policy and administrative structure, it was Wright who devised the plan for one of the most distinctive Cambridge contributions to publishing—the Cambridge Histories. The Cambridge Modern History was published
Yam Island (Queensland)
Yam Island, called Yama or Iama in the Kulkalgau Ya language or Turtle-backed Island in English, is an island of the Bourke Isles group of the Torres Strait Islands, located in the Tancred Passage of the Torres Strait in Queensland, Australia. The island is situated 100 kilometres northeast of Thursday Island and measures about 2 square kilometres, its indigenous language is Kulkalgau Ya, a dialect of the Western-Central Torres Strait language, Kalaw Lagaw Ya. The population of Yam was 338 as at the 2001 census. Yam Island has interesting prehistory records in local legends in Torres Strait. According to Mabuiag-Badu legend, Austronesian people from far-east Papua settled on Parema in the Fly Delta and married local trans-Fly women, they moved down to Torres Strait and settled on Yama, spread from there to different island groups. Westwards they went to Moa and there fought with local Aboriginal people and married some of the women, though ‘purists’ who wanted to avoid further mixture moved north to Saibai and Dauan.
These initial settlements could have been anything up to around 2800 years ago. Eastwards they settled all Eastern Islands, they did not seem to have gone south to the Muralag group at this time. Much the Trans-Fly Meriam people of Papua moved to Mer and Ugar, taking most of the original inhabitants' land; these people, Western-Central Islanders, they called the Nog Le Common People, as opposed to the Meriam People, who are the noble people. Western-central Islanders in general are called the Gam Le Body People, as they are more thick-set on the whole than the slender Meriam; this was the establishment of the Islanders. Their languages are the mix of cultures mentioned above: the Western-Central language is an Australian language with Austronesian and Papuan elements as cultural overlays, the Eastern Language is dominantly Papuan, though with significant Australian and Austronesian elements. According to Papuan legend, a developing mud island near the mouth of a river to the south of the Fly Delta was first settled by people from Yama, before the time that the Kiwai conquered the coastal parts of the South-West Fly Delta.
The Yama had long-established trading and family contacts with the Trans-Fly Papuans, starting from the original Papuo-Austronesian settlements. When the Kiwai people started raiding and taking over territory, some of the Yama escaped to the Trans-Fly Papuans on the mainland, others went across to Saibai and Dauan to join their fellow Islanders there. However, the majority wanted to keep their tribal identity, so decided to get as far away from the Kiwai as possible, headed to the far south of Torres Strait, settled on Moa and the Muralag group. A small core of Yama people stayed on Daru, became absorbed by the Daru Kiwai; the Kiwai call these people the Hiàmo (also Hiàma, Hiàmu - a Kiwai'mispronunciation' of Yama, while the Yama people that moved to the Muralag group called themselves the Kauralaigalai, in their modern dialect Kaiwaligal ‘Islanders’, in contrast to the Dhaudhalgal ‘Mainlanders of Papua’ and the Kawaigal or Ageyal ‘Aborigines of Australia’. The Kaiwaligal and the Kulkalgal still have a close relationship, traditionally considered themselves as related, much more than either is to the Mabuiag-Badu people or the Saibai-Dauan-Boigu people.
The Kulkagal have kept their traditional ties with the Trans-Fly people, now with the Kiwai, who after their beginning as conquerors, have now become a part of the traditional trade network. Before colonisation the inhabitants traded and fought in their sailing canoes. First recorded sighting by Europeans of Yam Island was by the Spanish expedition of Luís Vaez de Torres on 7 September 1606, it was charted as Isla de Caribes because of the tall warriors. In 1792, they came aboard William Bligh's two ships seeking iron. Bligh named Tudu'Warrior Island' after an attack they made; the London Missionary Society established a station at Yam's western end making it possible for a permanent village with people settling around the mission. Many of the men took jobs on pearling luggers and a pearling station operated on Tudu during the 1870s with another at Nagi. Pacific Islanders working at Nagi station settled on Yam. During the World War II, many Yam men enlisted in the army, forming C Company of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion.
Despite their seafaring background, Yam people were isolated from the outside world until well after the War. An airstrip was constructed in 1974 and the island's connection to the Torres Strait telephone exchange occurred in 1980. Yam has provided the Torres Strait with important political leaders including Getano Lui Senior and Getano Lui Junior, former chairman of the Island Coordinating Council. Yam Island State School was opened on 29 January 1985. On 1 January 2007 it became Tagai State College - Yam Island Campus, a campus of Tagai State College. Torres Strait Island Regional Council operates the Dawita Cultural Centre on Church Road, a library collection can be found here. Notable people who are from or who have lived on Yam Island include: Ethel May Eliza Zahel and public servant. List of Torres Strait Islands Yam Island Airport Yam State School Yam Isla
Pearl hunting is the activity of recovering pearls from wild mollusks oysters or mussels, in the sea or fresh water. Pearl hunting used to be prevalent in the Persian Gulf region and Japan, but occurred in other regions. In most cases the pearl-bearing mulluscs live at depths where they are not manually accessible from the surface, diving or the use of some form of tool is needed to reach them; the mulluscs were retrieved by freediving, a technique where the diver descends to the bottom, collects what they can, surfaces on a single breath. The diving mask improved the ability of the diver to see while underwater; when the surface-supplied diving helmet became available for underwater work, it was applied to the task of pearl hunting, the associated activity of collecting pearl shell as a raw material for the manufacture of buttons and other decorative work. The surface supplied diving helmet extended the time the diver could stay at depth, introduced the unfamiliar hazards of barotrauma of ascent and decompression sickness.
Before the beginning of the 20th century, the only means of obtaining pearls was by manually gathering large numbers of pearl oysters or mussels from the ocean floor or lake or river bottom. The bivalves were brought to the surface and the tissues searched. More than a ton were searched. In order to find enough pearl oysters, free-divers were forced to descend to depths of over 100 feet on a single breath, exposing them to the dangers of hostile creatures, eye damage, drowning as a result of shallow water blackout on resurfacing; because of the difficulty of diving and the unpredictable nature of natural pearl growth in pearl oysters, pearls of the time were rare and of varying quality. The Great Depression in the United States made it hard to get good prices for pearl shell; the natural pearls found from harvested oysters were a rare bonus for the divers. Many fabulous specimens were found over the years. By the 1930s, overharvesting had depleted the oyster beds; the government was forced to regulate the harvest to prevent the oysters from becoming extinct, the Mexican government banned all pearl harvesting from 1942 to 1963.
In Asia, some pearl oysters could be found on shoals at a depth of 5–7 feet from the surface, but more divers had to go 40 feet or up to 125 feet deep to find enough pearl oysters, these deep dives were hazardous to the divers. In the 19th century, divers in Asia had only basic forms of technology to aid their survival at such depths. For example, in some areas they greased their bodies to conserve heat, put greased cotton in their ears, wore a tortoise-shell clip to close their nostrils, gripped a large object like a rock to descend without the wasteful effort of swimming down, had a wide-mouthed basket or net to hold the oysters. For thousands of years, most seawater pearls were retrieved by divers working in the Indian Ocean, in areas such as the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, in the Gulf of Mannar. A fragment of Isidore of Charax's Parthian itinerary was preserved in Athenaeus's 3rd-century Sophists at Dinner, recording freediving for pearls around an island in the Persian Gulf. Pearl divers near the Philippines were successful at harvesting large pearls in the Sulu Archipelago.
In fact, pearls from the Sulu Archipelago were considered the "finest of the world" which were found in "high bred" shells in deep and rapid tidal waters. At times, the largest pearls belonged by law to the sultan, selling them could result in the death penalty for the seller. Nonetheless many pearls made it out of the archipelago by stealth, ending up in the possession of the wealthiest families in Europe. Pearling was popular in Qatar, Kuwait, Japan and some areas in Persian Gulf countries; the Gulf of Mexico was famous for pearling, found by the Spanish explorers. In a similar manner as in Asia, Native Americans harvested freshwater pearls from lakes and rivers like the Ohio and Mississippi, while others retrieved marine pearls from the Caribbean and waters along the coasts of Central and South America. In the time of colonial slavery in northern South America, a unique occupation amongst slaves was that of a pearl diver. A diver's career was short-lived because the waters being searched were known to be shark-infested, resulting in frequent attacks on divers.
However, a slave who discovered a great pearl could sometimes purchase his freedom. During the first half of the sixteenth century, Spaniards discovered the extensive pearl oyster beds that existed on the Caribbean coast of Venezuela in the vicinity of Margarita Island. Indigenous slavery was easy to establish in this area. Since violence could not protect the efficiency of the slave trade, coastal chieftains established a ransoming system known as the "rescate" system; as this system continued to grow and more oyster beds were discovered along the Latin American coast, including near Riohacha on Colombia's Guijara Peninsula. However, due to over-exploitation of both indigenous labor and the oyster beds, the Spanish pearl economy soon plummeted. By 1540, previous Spanish settlements along the coast had been abandoned as the Spanish looked elsewhere for more labor and newer markets; the pearl industry was revived in the late sixteenth century when Spaniards replaced indigenous labor with African slave la