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An autonomous, prosperous and sustainable community and council


Iama Island (also Yama, Yama or Turtle-backed Island) is an island of the Bourke Isles, 100km northeast of Thursday Island. The area measures about two square kilometres.

The original inhabitants traded and fought widely in their sailing canoes. In 1792, they came aboard William Bligh's two ships seeking iron. Bligh named Tudu 'Warrior Island' after an attack they later made.

The London Missionary Society established a station at Iama's western end establishing 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. Pacific Islanders working at Nagi Station later settled on Iama. During the WWII, many Iama men enlisted in the army.

An airstrip was built in 1974 and the Island's connection to the Torres Strait telephone exchange occurred in 1980.

Iama has provided the Torres Strait with important political leaders including:

  • Getano Lui Senior (grandson of the first LMS teacher, Lui Getano Lifu)
  • Getano Lui Junior, former Chairman of the Island Coordinating Council.

Iama Island also has interesting pre-history records found in local legends in Papua and the Torres Strait.

Language group

The language of Iama is Kulkalgau Ya, a dialect of the Western-Central Torres Strait Language Kala Lagaw Ya.


350 residents


  • Airport
  • Regional council office
  • State school (years pre-prep to 7)
  • Health centre with permanent nurse
  • IBIS grocery store
  • Sporting facilities - indoor and outdoor multipurpose courts, rugby league oval
  • Guest house - five rooms
  • Augustine Lodge -five rooms
  • Barge ramp
  • Workshop facility
  • Power station
  • Pier (small craft and passengers only)
  • SES shed
  • Library
  • Water plant reservoirs / filtration collection wells


TSIRC operational hours

Monday to Friday, 9am – 12noon; 1pm - 4pm

Contact: Mrs Maggie Kelly


Phone: 07 4083 2650

Visitor approval

Visitors Application Form

Refer to contact listing – Elected Councillor/ Divisional Manager/ PBC Chairs


Council accommodation

Kodakal Lodge

3 x shared rooms; 2 x single rooms

Shared kitchen and amenities

Sundown Lodge

5 x single rooms, shared kitchen and amenities

Guest House

1 x bedroom unit, including kitchen and bathroom facilities

Accommodation keys are to be collected and dropped off at the council office prior to departure from Yam Community.

All approved visiting guests are required to sign the Council’s visitor book to document the visit for record purposes.

Bookings can be made by emailing the MSAO at Yam Office.



Operating hours: Monday to Friday, 9am - 5:30pm

Saturday, 9am - 12noon

Contact: Miss Josephine David, Manager

Phone: 07 4214 7020

Community social groups

  • Men’s group
  • Women’s group
  • Church groups
  • Sporting groups
  • PBC
  • Elders group
  • Fisheries group


Church of Torres Strait

Fr Getano Lui

United Pentecostal Church

Pst Fred Bann

Tehillah Ministry

Pst Tyson Kebisu

Gazetted holidays

Gazetted holidays for Warraber Island Community include:

  • 20 June - St John Devine Church Day
  • 14 September - Turan Tabernacle Church Day – UPC Church
  • 13 December - Native Title Determination Day

Public access facilities

Community Hall, IKC and RTC Centre.

Visit our TSIRC office for more information.