The 18 islands of the Torres Strait are Australia’s most northerly region, located 39 kilometres north of the Australian mainland. The administrative and business hub of the Torres Strait Islands is Thursday (Waiben) Island. Visitors to Thursday Island can experience one of Australia’s Indigenous cultures, local art, community markets, relics of the pearling industry, colonial architecture and tours of significant sites from World War Two. In September on Thursday Island, The Torres Strait Cultural Festival and a Music Festival are staged on alternate years.
Thursday Island is rich in history. In 1893, the Green Hill Fort was built in 1893 on fears of a Russian invasion. Also, that same year, the All Souls Quetta Memorial Church was built in memory of the Quetta shipwreck in 1890, which killed 133 people when it struck an unknown reef. The Japanese Pearl Memorial is dedicated to the hundreds of pearl divers who died from decompression sickness.
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