Thursday Island


Thursday Island is an interesting place.

A lot smaller than many other islands in the Torres Strait, it is the administrative centre of the whole area.


Its only township covers almost all of the island, so practically the island is the town (by the same name).


Its population of 2,500 is by far the largest in the area - there is no other town of its size between Weipa and Papua New Guinea.

thursday island sign thursday island marker


You may feel that there could be more touristic things to see, but that's not what this island is all about.

thursday island flower

Most of all it is about history and culture, and there is an interesting mixture of many different cultures.

thursday island mural

The thing I really like about this island is its pace and its vibe, reflecting its culture and tropical weather. The longer you stay the more you can take it in and realise what a great place it is.  

thursday island

History
Originally in the Kaurareg country, TI has been inhabited for a long time. But its history was much the same as the surrounding islands' until the pearling industry happened. 

Thanks to its sheltered location, the population grew, and the administration of the Torres Strait was finally moved here from Somerset.


torres strait islanders

Culture
Originally it was the local Kaurareg culture, but that changed. 

The hugely successful pearling industry attracted people, so apart from Torres Strait Islanders today there also is a mixture of Aboriginals, Papuans, Japanese, Chinese, Malays, Filippinos, Indians and many other nationalities.


torres strait cultural festival

Torres Strait Cultural Festival
If you happen to be around in late September, every second year there is the Torres Strait Cultural Festival at the Ken Brown Oval in the south western end of the town.

It lasts three days and is one of the greatest events on and around the Cape York peninsula if you like indigenous dancing.


thursday island weather

Thursday Island Weather
Unfortunately I lost my wet season photos - the skies of TI are not always perfect!
But late in the Dry season they often are, completely cloudless, making the already blue waters looking even more magnificent. Check out the Thursday Island weather forecast that is current day by day (page coming soon).


And before you even set your foot on this island, you are blown away by the colour of the waters!

thursday island blue water thursday island blue water
thursday island blue water thursday island blue water thursday island blue water thursday island blue water

And once you get to the wharf, there is a nice walking path along the beach,

thursday island wharf thursday island welcome
thursday island turtle thursday island beach front
thursday island beachfront path thursday island beachfront

... while in the streets, there are some colourful views, shops, buildings,

thursday island street views thursday island royal hotel
thursday island building thursday island shop

... and places to eat.

thursday island pub thursday island unclee frankies
thursday island grand hotel lunch thursday island top pub
thursday island kai kai thursday island burger

thursday island torres hotel lunch thursday island restaurant
thursday island public bar thursday island places to eat

Things to See on Thursday Island

The main touristic things to see on Thursday Island are the Green Hill fort and museum, the historical cemetery, the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, and the churches.

thursday island fort

Green Hill Fort and Museum
Green Hill is a beautiful hill with some great views over the rest of the island, and the blue waters that surround it.
Up the hill is a big fort with cannons, built in fear of a Russian invasion in the late 1800s.
It is well preserved, and under the steps there is a museum with local and military history displays.

thursday island cemetery

Thursday Island Cemetery
Thursday Island Cemetery is on a nice hill and great for a brief look and a stroll, but even better if you have a closer look.

The oldest section is the Japanese pearlers', and then there are the Anglican, Roman Catholics', Indonesian, Malaysian and others.


gab titui cultural centre

Gab Titui Cultural Centre
The Torres Strait Islanders cultural centre is a relatively new building that houses Islander art from all across the Torres Strait.
There is art from a lot of different islands, and some of it is up for sale.
Every now and again there are also song and dance performances.


quetta memorial church

Quetta Memorial Church
There are many churches on Thursday Island, but this one was built in memory of the disaster in 1890 when the 380-foot mail ship Quetta sank near Albany Island, after it struck a large rock not previously seen. 133 people died, the story is inside the church. And there are also other beautiful churches.

Green Hill Fort and Museum

The main thing to see on Thursday Island is the fort up the hill.

thursday island green hill fort gate thursday island green hill fort gate
thursday island green hill fort gate thursday island green hill fort
thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort gate

There are the cannons,

thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort
thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort

... the views,

thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort
thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort

... the beautiful sunsets,

 
thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort
thursday island green hill fort thursday island green hill fort

... and the underground museum.

thursday island green hill fort thursday island museum
thursday island museum thursday island museum
thursday island museum thursday island museum

Thursday Island Cemetery

Another popular thing is the Thursday Island cemetery - particularly the old Japanese pearlers' graves.

thursday island cemetery
thursday island cemetery
thursday island cemetery thursday island cemetery

Gab Titui Cultural Centre

And of course, the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, with all the Torres Strait islanders' art.

thursday island cultural centre thursday island cultural centre
thursday island cultural centre thursday island cultural centre

Quetta Memorial Church

And finally, the Quetta Memorial Church, with information on the disaster of the cruiser ship Quetta.

thursday island churches thursday island quetta memorial church

thursday island quetta memorial church thursday island quetta memorial church thursday island quetta memorial church

Thursday Island Walks to Other Places

If you stay a bit longer and want to have a better look around the island - if you continue along the beach-path walk that started in the beginning of this page - next you come to the ANZAC Park.

thursday island anzac park thursday island anzac park
thursday island anzac park thursday island anzac monument
thursday island anzac park thursday island anzac park

After that you come to the churches on Douglas Street - Quetta, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and a few others.


thursday island churches thursday island catholic church
thursday island anglican church thursday island sacred heart mission hall

To the western end of Douglas Street, past the sports and festival oval and the hospital,

thursday island sports oval
thursday island festival oval
thursday island hospital end
thursday island hospital end
thursday island hospital end thursday island hospital end

... you turn onto Aubrey Parade and walk past the park on Bach Beach.

thursday island bach beach
thursday island bach beach
thursday island bach beach thursday island bach beach

You walk past a mangrove area where flying foxes roost,


thursday island mangrove walk thursday island mangroves
thursday island mangrove walk thursday island mangrove walk
thursday island mangrove walk thursday island mangrove walk

...
on your way to Tamwoy.

thursday island tamwoy thursday island tamwoy

In the southern end of Tamwoy you can take a side track to Green Hill - not the way the tourists go!

thursday island walk thursday island walk
thursday island green hill walk
thursday island green hill walk

And the views over the surrounding waters and islands
are beautiful.

thursday island australia thursday island walk

Another side track is the Slaughter Beach, which takes you to the old Quarantine Wharf,
and the Cook Esplanade.

thursday island cook esplanade
thursday island slaughter beach
thursday island slaughter beach thursday island slaughter beach

From there, along the Aplin Road, you come to the Thursday Island Cemetery.
It's famous for its graves of large amount of different nationalities, including the section of the old Japanese pearl divers' graves.

thursday island cemetery thursday island cemetery

There is also the grave of Bernard Namok, the designer of the Torres Strait Islander flag.

torres strait islander flag bernard namok

Continuing east along the coast you first come to the suburb of Rosehill,

thursday island rosehill
thursday island rosehill to waibene
thursday island rosehill to waibene thursday island rosehill to waibene

... and then walk along the beach to Waiben, with the views of Hammond Island.

thursday island waiben
thursday island rosehill to waiben
thursday island rosehill to waiben thursday island rose hill to waibene

In the eastern end of Waiben there is an unsealed track to Sadies Beach and Lions Lookout.

thursday island lions lookout thursday island lions lookout sadies beach

Up the hill is Lions Lookout with views over Horn Island from a WWII bunker,

thursday island lions lookout track thursday island lions lookout
thursday island lions lookout thursday island lions lookout

... and down the hill is Sadies Beach.

thursday island sadies beach road
thursday island sadies beach road
thursday island sadies beach thursday island sadies beach

Walking through takes you to the eastern end of the town -
Navy Wharf and Bayo Beach,

thursday island navy wharf thursday island navy wharf
thursday island bayo beach
thursday island bayo beach

... Mairu Beach,

thursday island mairu beach
thursday island mairu beach
thursday island mairu beach thursday island mairu beach

... and the track to Milman Hill.

thursday island milman hill lookout thursday island milman hill
thursday island milman hill thursday island milman hill

With its two windmills always seen from most of TI and the neighbouring islands, Milman Hill is two times higher than Green Hill.

thursday island milman hill thursday island milman hill
thursday island milman hill thursday island milman hill

While Green Hill has a fort built in the late 1800s, Milman Hill has a WWII defence facility.

thursday island milman hill sunset
thursday island green hill sunset
thursday island wharf sunset thursday island beachfront sunset

There is no lookout point but you can always look for a spot to enjoy the beautiful sunset of TI - which you can also do at the Fort and other places :-)





cape york travel

Plan Your Trip... the FREE Cape York Travel Pocket Guide

Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip. You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you should take, how to get there and get around, where to stay (general info), what will it cost.. and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.

Plan and Bring to the Trip... the full Destination Cape York Travel Guide

visit cape york

This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



If you liked the books or this website, let others know about it! 

Link to it from your website, your blog, your forum post... Share it on Facebook, Tweet about it...



Every link helps other travellers!

Thank you for doing the right thing and letting others know :-)






destination cape york

Latest Pages

Notice Board

Ask a Question

YOUR Adventure

YOUR Cape Memories


Keep yourself updated
on the latest -
weather, roads,
free travel tips,
and get the
FREE Cape York
Pocket Guide!


Email

Name

Then


Don't worry - your email address is totally secure.
I use it only to send you the Cape York News.

Get the FREE Pocket Guide:
cape york travel free pocket guide

Get the Big Destination Guide
destination cape york book


Available with the Big Destination Guide:
cape york dog caravan trailer

cape york businesses

cape york mechanics

freebird arts and crafts