Situated in the waterway that separates Australia from Papua New Guinea, the Torres Strait Islands were first discovered in 1606 by Spanish Captain Torres. They are comprised of 274 small islands—17 of which are inhabited, including Thursday Island. Due to its geography and intriguing history, Thursday Island’s population is a diverse mix of cultures, and the indigenous people are not Aborigines but Melanesians, who came from Melanesia and Polynesia over 2,000 years ago with their own unique culture and language. Often referred to as “T.I.” by the locals, Thursday Island is just three square kilometers in size and is a friendly, easy-going place that enjoys a relaxed tropical environment. Activities remain based around the Melanesians’ love of the sea with diving, fishing and pearling all popular pastimes as well as major sources of income. Sites include Green Hill Fort for spectacular views, the Japanese Pearl Diver’s Cemetery, or simply visit one of T.I.’s cafes, restaurants, bars and retail stores and enjoy the laid-back island lifestyle.
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