Darnley Island (Queensland)
|Archipelago||Torres Strait Islands|
|Darnley Island / Erub Island|
|Population||328 (2016 census)|
|• Density||57.5/km2 (149.0/sq mi)|
|Area||5.7 km2 (2.2 sq mi)|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10:00)|
|LGA(s)||Torres Strait Island Region|
Darnley Island or Erub in the native Papuan language, Meriam Mir, is an island formed by volcanic action and situated in the eastern section of the Torres Strait, Queensland, Australia. It is one of the Torres Strait Islands and is located near the Great Barrier Reef and just south of the Bligh entrance. The town on the island is also called Darnley, but the locality is called Erub Island, both being within the local government area of Torres Strait Island Region. In the 2016 census, Erub Island had a population of 328 people.
In 1871 representatives of the London Missionary Society (LMS) arrived in the Torres Straits on the vessel Surprise, a ship owned or chartered by the LMS, after the French Government had demanded their removal from the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia in 1869. They decided to expand into the Torres Straits and New Guinea. They were represented by two Englishmen, Reverend Samuel Macfarlane and Reverend A.W. Murray, and eight Lifu (Loyalty Islander) evangelists: Tapeso, Elia, Mataika, Guchong, Kerisidui, Wauaded, Sevine and Josaia, and their wives. The missionaries reached Erub on 1 July 1871, an event that came to be known as the "Coming of the Light". One of the tribal elders of the island, Dabad, met them at Kemus (or Kernus) Beach after which he introduced them to Amani, another tribal elder, and the rest of the Erub Islanders. His role in the bringing of Christianity to the Torres Straits is memorialised by Dabad's Monument at Badog. The inscription reads "In loving memory of Dabad 1871: A man who denied his tribal laws and accepted the good news of salvation". All Torres Strait Island communities celebrate the Coming of the Light annually on 1 July.
Pearlers and beche-de-mer gatherers visited the island. Over many years, these industries attracted an influx of seamen from the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, and Malaya, many of whom married local women and settled on the island.
In the early 20th century, the Queensland Government started installing various facilities such as a school, medical aid, post office and an Island Industries Board store.
In 1919 the All Saints Church was constructed at the former site of the original London Missionary Society mission house and school. Locally produced lime from burnt coral and basalt was used and the work was done under the direction of Manai, an Erub Islander, and Ware, a South Sea Islander. It was originally known as the Ziona church.
Darnley Island State School opened on 29 January 1985, replacing the earlier mission school. On 1 January 2007 it became the Darnley Island Campus of the Tagai State College (with its main campus on Thursday Island).
Darnley people have been at the forefront of the movement for adequate recognition of Torres Strait Islanders' rights. From the 1960s to the '90s, George Mye (Torres Strait Islander) was an elder and among the most prominent advocates of Islander interests. Carlemo Wacando was among the first to challenge the legal notion of terra nullius, which Australia had posited to support their annexation of traditional lands. The High Court of Australia ruled in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (1992) in favor of traditional land ownership of the Torres Strait Islanders, which also applied to Australian aboriginal claims in their territories. The Native Title Act of 1993 was passed to administer these changes.
Pau Enterprises Indigenous Corporation was established in 2015 to manage and maintain the Pau family native title lands and interests on Darnley Island. It also seeks to create social enterprises on Darnley Island and other locations where its community members have migrated, such as Cairns.
Darnley Island became better known around Australia in 2015 when the acting school principal asked via social media for donations of books to assist her primary school children and their education. Her efforts resulted in more than 18,000 shares on Facebook, and hundreds of books were sent to the island.
Flora and fauna
There are two stores, one school, and a health centre. Accommodation is available through Norah's Guest House, and the council run 'five star' dongas.
Darnley Island Campus is a primary (Early Childhood-6) campus ( There is no secondary school on the island. The secondary campus of Tagai State College is on Thursday Island, over 200 kilometres (120 mi) away; it offers some boarding facilities but many children are also sent to mainland secondary schools.) of Tagai State College.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Erub Island (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- "Darnley Island – island (entry 9371)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Darnley Island – town (entry 9372)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Erub Island – locality (entry 46716)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- "Bligh and the Darnley Islands". II(11) Pacific Islands Monthly. 23 June 1932. Archived from the original on 26 September 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
- Hammond, Philip (30 June 2011). "Performers mark Coming of the Light". The Courier Mail. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
- "Missionary Ships". Shipping Wonders of the World (Part 51). 26 January 1937. Archived from the original on 4 July 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
- "The Coming of the Light". Anglican Board of Mission. Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
- "All Saints Anglican Church (entry 600873)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Gibbney, H. J. (1974). "Samuel Macfarlane". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Archived from the original on 3 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974
- "Dr Ken Thaiday Senior". Australia Council. 15 May 2019. Archived from the original on 12 April 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
- "Dabad's Monument". Monument Australia. Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- Burton, John. "History of Torres Strait to 1879 – a regional view". Torres Strait Regional Authority. Archived from the original on 15 May 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
- Queensland Family History Society (2010), Queensland schools past and present (Version 1.01 ed.), Queensland Family History Society, ISBN 978-1-921171-26-0
- "The Proposal Summary: Outline of Project Goals" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "Thank you from Erub Erwer Uteb". Tagai State College. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- Blakemore, R.J.; C. Csuzdi; M.T. Ito; N. Kaneko; T. Kawaguchi; M. Schilthuizen (2007). "Taxonomic status and ecology of Oriental Pheretima darnleiensis (Fletcher, 1886) and other earthworms (Oligochaeta: Megascolecidae) from Mt Kinabalu, Borneo" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1613: 23–44. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.1613.1.2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 April 2008.
- "All Saints Anglican Church (entry 600873)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "Erub Island Indigenous Knowledge Centre". Public Libraries Connect. State Library of Queensland. 28 August 2017. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
- "State and non-state school details". Queensland Government. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- "Tagai State College - Darnley Island Campus". Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
- "Thursday Island Secondary - Waybeni Koey Ngurpay Mudh". Tagai State College. 21 February 2019. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
- Jones, Kate. "New Thursday Island facility for secondary boarders a step closer". Ministerial Media Statements. Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
- Mye on behalf of Erubam Le v State of Queensland (2004), FCA 1573 (8 December 2004)
- Passion and Professionalism by Dorothy Walker and Lynetee Griffiths; short video about an education project for indigenous students on Darnley Island, 2 min 42 sec, published by State Library of Queensland as part of Storylines:Q150 digital stories