Badu Island

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A satellite image of Badu Island.

Badu Island (Mulgrave Island) is an island 60 km north of Thursday Island, Queensland, Australia in the Torres Strait.[1] Badu Island is also a locality in the Torres Strait Island Region,[2] and Badu is the only town located on the south-east coast.[3]

This island is one of the Torres Strait Islands. The language of Badu is Kala Lagaw Ya.


Badu Island once had a feared reputation as an island of headhunters. Warfare, farming, fishing, canoe building, house building, turtle and dugong hunting and a host of other activities were the main occupations of Badu men until the 1870s; of these headhunting disappeared with the adoption of Christianity.[4]

Pearlers established bases on the island during the 1870s and by the early 1880s the islanders were becoming dependent on wages earned as lugger crew. At the same time, the first missionaries arrived. At the peak of the shell industry in the late 1950s, the Badu fleet of 13 boats employed a workforce of 200 providing work for many men, even from other islands as well. Once the shell trade declined, many people moved to the mainland for work [5]

Badu Island State School opened on 29 January 1905.[6]

On 1 February 2014 the Queensland Government handed over to the Badulgal traditional owners freehold title to 10,000 hectares of land on Badu Island, ending a struggle for recognition dating back to 1939. The title deed was handed over by Mr David Kempton, Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, to Badu Elder Lily Ahmat at a ceremony on the island.[7]


Infrastructure on Badu Island consists of:

  • Badhulgaw Kuthinaw Mudh Art Centre
  • Airport
  • Regional Council Office
  • State School (Years 1 to 7)
  • Health Centre with permanent doctor
  • Two grocery stores
  • Indigenous Knowledge Centre
  • Post Office
  • Centrelink Agency
  • Football Field
  • Motel

A number of other locally owned run businesses are in operation at Badu including live seafood exports.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Badu Island (entry 1216)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Badu Island (entry 46705)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Badu (entry 1215)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  4. ^ 1989, Beckett, Jeremy Torres Strait Islanders: custom and colonialism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989
  5. ^ 2006 Bruno David and Marshall Weisler, KURTURNIAIWAK (BADU) and the Archaeology of Villages in Torres Strait Australian Archiology, No. 63,December
  6. ^ ""B"". Opening and closing dates of Queensland schools. Queensland Government. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Torres News, 10–16 February 2014

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 10°06′56″S 142°08′41″E / 10.11556°S 142.14472°E / -10.11556; 142.14472