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

Jane Fyfe, Liam Brady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-68
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Archaeology
Volume78
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anthropology
  • Ngiangu (Booby Island)
  • Torres Strait
  • Inscriptions

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