Torres Strait Islander resilience

Interaction between Europeans and Torres Strait Islanders was irregular until the early 1830’s. Outside influences then began to have a major impact on the lives of Torres Strait Islanders. They responded to these changes with resilience, but also adapted and incorporated new ideas and customs into their culture. Torres Strait Islanders felt the impact of colonisation and government legislation with changes to their languages, lifestyles, cultures, customs and families.

European use of marine resources intensified from the 1830’s. By 1872, many Torres Strait Islanders were working in the marine industry (pearling and trochus fishing) alongside Pacific Islanders.

The islands were formally annexed by the Queensland government in 1872.

Discover how Torres Strait Islander identity and culture has been shaped by church, industry, war and migration.