Travel & Culture: ‘Life In The Torres Strait Islands’

It’s a remote paradise between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Only a few thousand people live on the islands in the Torres Strait. They depend on a supply ship that sails to their isolated archipelago once a week.

There are 274 islands in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea, their white coral-sand beaches rising from warm, shallow waters. Around 20 of the islands are inhabited, with many several kilometers apart. The main island, Thursday Island, sounds like it could have been lifted from the pages of Robinson Crusoe. Residents who want to visit family or friends must do so by boat, having to deal with unpredictable tidal currents. Cargo ships from the mainland supply the islands with everything from food and medicine to cars and spare parts – and they don’t always arrive on schedule. But Torres Strait Islanders have always used their great ingenuity to cope with the scarcity of resources. They include Ken, who’s currently working on a sculpture for the reopening of a local church, Paula, a midwife, and Sylvia, who reads the weather reports on local radio.

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