Boigu (Talbot Island)

Torres Strait Island Regional Council

Boigu (Talbot Island) Office:

Phone (07) 4083 2001

Division 1

Councillor Dimas Toby

 

Boigu Facts:

  • Boigu is the most northerly inhabited island of Queensland and of Australia.
  • It is part of the top-western group of the Torres Strait Islands.
  • The mainland of Papua New Guinea is only 6 km away from Boigu.
  • Boigu has an area of 89.6 km² and is approximately 18 km long, and low-lying.
  • It was formed by the accumulation of alluvial sediments deposited by the discharge of nearby New Guinean rivers into the Strait. These sediments built up over time on an old coral platform which rises from the shallow continental shelf, eventually creating the island.
  • Most of the island is subject to extensive periodic flooding, and as a result the community township has been built on the highest ground.
  • Two nearby smaller islands (not permanently settled) are considered as a part of Boigu, more accurately of the Talbot Islands, these are Aubisi Island and Moimi Island.
  • The interior of the island is sparsely vegetated, and mainly swampland. The coast is fringed by mangroves, which act to protect against the island's sand and mud from sea erosion.
  • The waters surrounding the island are an important habitat for dugongs.

Language:

The language of Boigu is that of the Western and Central Islands of the Torres Strait. The specific dialect is Kalau Kawau Ya, also spoken on Dauan and Saibai. The people of the three islands consider themselves as one people.

Population:

Currently there are approximately 260 people living on the island.

History:

Boigu was visited by South Sea Islander missionaries of the London Missionary Society, some time after the establishment of a mission on nearby Saibai Island in 1871.

At contact, Boigu people were harassed by the Marind-anim, fierce headhunters from what is now southeast West Papua. Sir William MacGregor, the Lieutenant-Governor of British New Guinea, noted in 1886 that the population was nearly extinct as a result of these raids.

 

 

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