Yorke Island (Queensland)
|Native name: Masig|
Satellite image of Yorke Island
|Archipelago||Torres Strait Islands|
|Adjacent bodies of water||Torres Strait|
|Length||2.7 km (1.68 mi)|
|Width||0.8 km (0.5 mi)|
|Local government area||Torres Strait Island Region|
|Population||238 (2011 census)|
|Ethnic groups||Torres Strait Islanders|
Yorke Island, or Masig in the Kalau Lagau Ya language, is a coral cay island of the Torres Strait Islands archipelago, situated in the eastern area of the central island group in the Torres Strait, at the top end of the Great Barrier Reef and northeast of the tip of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.
The island lies northeast of Coconut/Poruma Island in the central island group and southwest of Stephens/Ugar Island, and Darnley/Erub Island, and northwest of Murray/Mer Island in the eastern island group.
Yorke Island, traditionally known as Masig, is about 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) long and 0.8 kilometres (2,600 ft) at its widest point. The inhabitants, skilled navigators with a detailed knowledge of the reefs, have always occupied a central position in the Straits trading networks.
In 1845, Masig people could be found trading from the west of the Straits to the east. Before the arrival of teachers from the London Missionary Society in the 1870s, Masig was attracting a diverse community of immigrants, some brought by the pearl and trochus shell industry.
The Queensland Government moved the people of Aureed to Masig after it was declared a government reserve. Luggers owned by Masig families continued to operate until the shell industry collapsed in the 1960s. The people then shifted successfully into commercial mackerel fishing, prawning and crayfishing. A highly profitable fish factory has operated on the island since the late 1970s, freezing the catch and airfreighting it to southern markets.
A regular scheduled air service is operated by West Wing Aviation from Horn Island, otherwise access to Masig is by charter plane or boat. All goods and mail are delivered by a weekly barge service and via the scheduled air service. Masig has a medical centre, staffed by a qualified nurse and there is also a doctor based there, who provides medical services to three other islands in the central island cluster (Coconut, Yam and Warraber). The island has a school, which is a campus of Tagai State College (based on Thursday Island). There is an IBIS store on the island and also a Mini-Mart.
Yorke Island was the film location for the Australian television series, RAN Remote Area Nurse.
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