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Governance History

Governance History, listed chronologically
When What Who
Pre-1872 People of the Torres Strait govern themselves as entirely sovereign peoples. Torres Strait Islanders
1871 Christian missionaries land on Erub. The date, 1 July, is now celebrated annually across the Torres Strait as "The Coming of the Light". Missionary/Church
1872 Queensland Government annexes all Torres Strait islands within a 60 nautical mile radius of the coast of Queensland. State & Federal Government
1879 Queensland Coast Islands Act (Qld) annexes the remaining islands of Boigu, Erub, Mer and Saibai. State & Federal Government
1885 Resident Magistrate the Hon. John Douglas appointed to the Torres Strait. Serves from 1885 until his death in 1904. State & Federal Government
1897 Douglas firmly and successfully opposes Torres Strait Islanders becoming subject to the Queensland Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Acts. State & Federal Government
1899 Protector appointed to Thursday Island, principally engaged in overseeing the employment of mainland Aboriginal people in the fisheries. State & Federal Government
1899 John Douglas instituted a system of island councils to replace the previous system of "mamooses" (island leaders). Torres Strait Islanders were responsible for their own councils, police and courts and empowered to deal with minor crimes through imprisonment or fines. A court house and a gaol were built in every community, along with a church, school and store. State & Federal Government
1904 Reverend Frederick Walker of the London Missionary Society establishes Pacific Industries Ltd (PIL) to assist Torres Strait Islanders become boat owners, skippers and crews in the fishing industry. Missionary/Church
1904 Resident Magistrate the Hon. John Douglas passes away. State & Federal Government
1904 Queensland government uses the death of John Douglas as an opportunity to put Torres Strait Islanders under the Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Acts, known as "the dog act". State & Federal Government
1912 - 1926 Island "reserves" gazetted by the Queensland government. Superintendent / teachers appointed, curfew and pass systems imposed on people, wages placed under Protector's control. Thus although Island Councils continued their authority was greatly restricted. State & Federal Government
1930 - 1934 PIL taken over by the Queensland Government and renamed Aboriginal Industries Board. State & Federal Government
1936 Major strike to protest the Protector and his agent's rule over the Torres Strait Torres Strait Islanders
August 1937 First conference of Torres Strait Islander Councillors. Demands on the Queensland Government included improved services, an end to unpopular regulations and the transfer of power from superintendent-teachers to local councils. Torres Strait Islanders
1939 Second conference of Torres Strait Islander Councillors held. After this conference a new Act is developed based around some of the key changes requested by Councillors. Torres Strait Islanders
1939 Queensland Government repealed its previous Protection legislation and passed the Torres Strait Islanders Act, for the first time legally recognising Islanders as a separate people. Many restrictions remain. State & Federal Government
1941 Torres Strait Islander Infantry formed. State & Federal Government
1947 The first small group of Torres Strait Islanders were officially permitted to travel to the mainland to work. State & Federal Government
1962 Torres Strait Islanders obtain the right to vote in Federal elections. State & Federal Government
1964 Torres Strait Islanders obtain the right to vote in State elections. State & Federal Government
1965 The Torres Strait Islander Act of 1939 is repealed and replaced by the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Act. Almost all the restrictive clauses under the previous Act were removed, including the old restrictions on the right to travel to the mainland. State & Federal Government
December 1978 Torres Strait Treaty signed by the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments, defining the boundaries between the two countries and the use of the sea by both parties. State & Federal Government
May 1982 The Mabo Native Title claim commenced, lodged by Eddie Mabo and four other claimants. Torres Strait Islanders
1984 Community Services (Torres Strait) Act 1984 State & Federal Government
February 1985 Torres Strait Treaty came into operation. State & Federal Government
1988 Torres Strait Leaders Forum calls for greater self-determination Torres Strait Islanders
1992 Mabo Native Title determination. State & Federal Government
1994 TSRA established. State & Federal Government
1997 Torres Strait Islanders: A new deal – A Report on Greater Autonomy for Torres Strait Islanders report to House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. State & Federal Government
2001 TSRA Greater Autonomy Task Force Bamaga Accord. Torres Strait Islanders & State & Federal Government
2008 TSIRC and NPARC formed. State & Federal Government
2009 TSNPA Regional Plan 2009-2029 created in collaboration between TSRA, TSIRC, TSC and NPARC. Torres Strait Islanders & Federal Government
October 2011 Queensland Premier calls for the Prime Minister to support the move to greater regional autonomy in the Torres Strait. State & Federal Government
May 2013 Deputation to Prime Minister Abbott regarding territorial status for the Torres Strait region. Torres Strait Islanders
May 2014 Joint Leaders’ Forum Coalition Executive meeting calls for a new governance model. Torres Strait Islanders
June 2014 Deputation to Prime Minister Abbott. Torres Strait Islanders
June 2015 Deputation to Mr Warren Entsch MP and Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion regarding governance reform. Torres Strait Islanders
August 2015 Deputation to Prime Minister Abbott.   Torres Strait Islanders
May 2016 Deputations to Federal Government Ministers, Shadow Ministers and cross-bench members of Parliament. Torres Strait Islanders
July 2016 Deputation to Premier of Queensland, Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk Torres Strait Islanders
October 2016 Deputations to Queensland Government Ministers Torres Strait Islanders