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Murray Island, Queensland

Murray Island, additionally known as Mer in the native Meriam language, is a small island of volcanic origin, essentially the most easterly inhabited island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago, simply north of the great Stone Barrier Reef. The island is populated by the Melanesian Meriam people, which has a population of round 485 as of 2006 census. The Murray Group includes three islands: Mer, Dauar and Waier.

Stone Island Men's Red wine CoatsThere are eight Meriam clans: Komet, Zagareb, Meuram, Magaram, Geuram, Peibre, Meriam-Samsep, Piadram, and Dauer Meriam. The organisation of the island relies on the standard laws of boundary and ownership. Administrative control of the island relaxation with the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

1 Geography
2 Historical past 2.1 Pre-European settlement
2.2 Post European settlement (1872) 2.2.1 Tradition

Murray Island, located within the eastern section of Torres Strait, is a basaltic island formed from an extinct volcano, which was last active over 1,000,000 years ago. It formed in consequence when the Indo-Australian Plate slid over the East Australia hotspot. The island rises to a plateau 80 metres (260 ft) above mean sea degree.

The highest point of the island is the 230-metre (750 ft) Gelam Paser, the western end of the volcano crater. The island has red fertile soil and is covered in dense vegetation. The island has a tropical local weather with a wet and dry season.

Pre-European settlement[edit]
Murray Island has been inhabited for round 2800 years, the primary settlers being Papuo-Austronesians who brought agriculture and pot making with them. Regular contact between the inhabitants of Torres Strait (including Murray Island, identified by the Meriam folks as Mer Island), Europeans, Asians and other outsiders began as soon as the Torres Strait became a means of passage between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean within the 19th Century.

The inhabitants of the Torres Strait, together with the Meriam folks, gained a popularity as fierce warriors and skilled mariners. Warfare (each intertribal and in opposition to European ships in transit through the Coral Sea) and head looking were a part of the tradition of all Torres Strait islanders. The account of Jack Ireland, a surviving cabin boy from the barque Charles Eaton that was wrecked in 1834 at Detached Reef near the entrance to Torres Strait is of curiosity on 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 (Skull) Island, following his rescue and that of younger William D’Oyley, the only different survivor of the Charles Eaton, and their return to Sydney. The mask was made from turtle shells surrounded by numerous skulls, seventeen of which were decided as having belonged to the crew and passengers of the Charles Eaton who had been massacred after 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 Avenue. An acceptable 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 have been removed to Bunnerong Cemetery at Botany Bay Sydney.[1]

Post European settlement (1872)[edit]
Missionaries (primarily Polynesian) and another Polynesians began to settle on the island in 1872 when the London Missionary Society founded a missionary school there.[2] The Queensland Authorities annexed the islands in 1879. Tom Roberts, the well-recognized Australian painter, visited the island in 1892.[3] He witnessed a night-time dance and depicted it in a painting.

In 1936, a maritime strike fuelled by Islander dissatisfaction with the fact that their wages and boats had been managed by the Protector of Aborigines allowed islanders to assert control and reject authorities controls. In 1937, the inaugural meeting of Island Councillors on Yorke Island resulted within the Torres Strait Islander Act (1939), giving Islanders more authority in their very own affairs and established local governments on every 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 Gentle Infantry Battalion. The migration of Islanders to mainland Australia elevated as jobs disappeared in the pearling industry. A name for independence from Australia within the 1980s was because of the government failing to provide fundamental infrastructure on the island.

Murray Island’s most well-known resident was commerce unionist Eddie Mabo, whose resolution to sue the Queensland Government to safe ownership of his land, which had been removed from his ancestors by the British colonial powers using the terra nullius legal concept, finally led to the Excessive Court of Australia, on appeal from the Supreme Court of the State of Queensland, situation the “Mabo choice” to lastly recognise Mabo’s rights on his land on three June 1992. This choice continues to have ramifications for Australia. Mabo himself died a couple of months before the choice. After vandalism to his grave site, he was reburied on Murray Island where the islanders performed a conventional ceremony for the burial of a king.[4]

The folks of Mer maintain their traditional culture. Modern influences reminiscent of shopper items, tv, journey and radio are having an affect on traditional practices and culture. Despite this, music and dance stays an integral a part of island life and is demonstrated through celebrations corresponding to Mabo Day, Coming of the sunshine, Tombstone openings and different cultural events. In 2007, after two years of negotiations, the skulls of 5 Islander tribesmen had been returned to Australia from a Glasgow museum the place that they had been archived for more than a hundred years.[5]

The artist Ricardo Idagi was born on Murray Island.[6] Idagi won the principle prize on the Western Australian Indigenous Artwork Awards in 2009.

The people of Murray Island converse Torres Strait Creole and Meriam, a member of the Eastern Trans-Fly languages of Trans-New Guinea; its sister languages being Bini, Wipi and Gizrra. Though it is unrelated to Kalaw Lagaw Ya of the Central and Western Islands of Torres Strait, the 2 languages share round forty% of their vocabulary. Torres Strait English is a second language.

Murray Island is governed by the Neighborhood Council, which is accountable for roads, water, housing and neighborhood events. The Community Council is an integral part of community life. The elders of the community hold a position of respect and now have a significant affect on island life.

See also[edit]
Queensland portal
Islands portal

Listing of Torres Strait Islands
Listing of volcanoes in Australia
Murray Island Airport
^ McInnes, Allan (1983). The Wreck Of The Charles Eaton. Windsor: Diamond Press. p. Forty five.
^ “Torres Strait Island communities I-M”. State Library of Queensland. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
^ Bousen, Mark (6 March stone island soft shell jacket junior 2010). “118-year-outdated Murray Island artwork discovered”. Torres Information. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
^ “Queenslander”. News Restricted. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
^ “Mer Islanders reclaim sacred skulls”. Torres Information. 3 July 2007. Retrieved four July 2011.
^ Rothwell, Nicolas (1 October 2009). “Carved out of ancestral whispers”. The Australian. Information Limited. Retrieved 4 July 2011.