Leaving their mark: Contextualising the historical inscriptions and the European presence at Ngiangu (Booby Island), western Torres Strait, Queensland

10th May 2014

Graffiti at Pouri Pouri Cave, Ngiangu (published in Australian Archaeology 78).

Graffiti at Pouri Pouri Cave, Ngiangu (published in Australian Archaeology 78).

Jane Fyfe and Liam M. Brady

Situated at the western edge of Torres Strait, the island of Ngiangu has played an important role in the colonial and maritime history of Australia for nearly two centuries. Perhaps best known as a European ‘Post Office’, the island has also acted as a critical navigational marker, a refuge for shipwrecked mariners and a strategic monitoring station during World War II. The island features a remarkable collection of historical inscriptions that bear witness to these multiple phases of European presence on the island. Using systematically collected data from Queensland Museum expeditions to the island in 1985 and 1990 we examine and contextualise the historical inscription assemblage. Our results reveal how historical inscriptions were used to inscribe the island’s landscape during three distinct phases of use, as well as explore patterns of content and continuity in the assemblage. We conclude by considering the potential of these inscriptions to provide insight into notions of memory and memorialisation.

Fyfe, J. and L.M. Brady
Leaving their mark: Contextualising the historical inscriptions and the European presence at Ngiangu (Booby Island), western Torres Strait, Queensland
June 2014
78
x–x
Article
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