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The Torres Strait
Strait
(/ˈtɔːrɪs/) is a strait which lies between Australia
Australia
and the Melanesian island of New Guinea. It is approximately 150 km (93 mi) wide at its narrowest extent. To the south is Cape York Peninsula, the northernmost continental extremity of the Australian state of Queensland. To the north is the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. It is named after navigator Luís Vaz de Torres, who passed through the Strait
Strait
in 1606.

Contents

1 Geography 2 History 3 Shipping routes 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Geography[edit] The strait links the Coral Sea
Coral Sea
to the east with the Arafura Sea
Arafura Sea
and Gulf of Carpentaria
Gulf of Carpentaria
in the west. Although it is an important international sea lane, it is very shallow (7 to 15 m water depth),[1] and the maze of reefs and islands can make it hazardous to navigate. In the south the Endeavour Strait
Strait
is located between Prince of Wales Island (Muralug) and the mainland. Shipping enters Torres Strait
Strait
via the Adolphus Channel
Adolphus Channel
which joins to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon to the southeast. Strong tidal currents occur in the narrow channels between islands and reefs, and large submarine sand dunes migrate across the seafloor.[2] Some 580 coral reefs, including the Warrior Reefs and Eastern Patch Reefs, cover a total area of 2,400 km2 (930 sq mi) in the region, as well as some of the most extensive seagrass beds in the world.[3] Several clusters of islands lie in the Strait, collectively called the Torres Strait
Strait
Islands. There are at least 274 of these islands, of which 17 have present-day permanent settlements.

Torres Strait
Strait
Islands air photo

Over 6,800 Torres Strait
Strait
Islanders live on the Islands and 42,000 live on the mainland. These islands have a variety of topographies, ecosystems and formation history. Several of those closest to the New Guinea
New Guinea
coastline are low-lying, formed by alluvial sedimentary deposits borne by the outflow of the local rivers into the sea.[4] Many of the western islands are hilly and steep, formed mainly of granite, and are peaks of the northernmost extension of the Great Dividing Range
Great Dividing Range
now turned into islands when sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age. The central islands are predominantly coral cays, and those of the east are of volcanic origins. The islands are considered Australian territory and are administered from Thursday Island. There are several major policy and institutional frameworks in the Torres Strait
Strait
region that support the sustainable use and management of marine resources while also protecting habitats, biodiversity and the traditional islander way of life. Most important of these is the Torres Strait Treaty entered into by Australia
Australia
and Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
in February 1985. The Treaty defines sovereignty and maritime boundaries in the area between the two countries. It guides decision makers on protecting the way of life and livelihood of traditional inhabitants, on managing the protection of habitats, and on sharing the commercial and traditional fisheries resources. The Treaty established a Torres Strait
Strait
Protected Zone within which both nations manage access to fisheries resources. Each country exercises sovereign jurisdiction for resources on either side of the agreed jurisdiction lines. The islands' indigenous inhabitants are the Torres Strait
Strait
Islanders, who are distinct from both the Papuans of adjoining New Guinea
New Guinea
and from Aboriginal groups on the nearby Australian mainland but related to both.[5] The various Torres Strait
Strait
Islander communities have a unique culture and long-standing history with the islands and nearby coastlines. Their maritime-based trade and interactions with the Papuans to the north and the Australian Aboriginal communities have maintained a steady cultural diffusion between the three societal groups, dating back thousands of years at least. Two indigenous languages are spoken on the Torres Strait
Strait
Islands: Kala Lagaw Ya/Kalaw Kawaw Ya/Kawalgau Ya/Muwalgau Ya/Kulkalgau Ya, and Miriam Mir, as well as Brokan [Broken], otherwise called Torres Strait Creole. In the 2001 Australian national census, the population of the islands was recorded as 8,089, though many more live outside of Torres Strait
Strait
in Australia. Environmental issues facing the region include the risk of mining waste from the Fly River
Fly River
in southern Papua New Guinea, the impacts of global climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources.[6] History[edit] The islands of the Torres Strait
Strait
have been inhabited for at least 2,500 years and possibly much longer.[7] The first recorded European navigation of the strait was by Luís Vaz de Torres, a pilot who was second-in-command on the Spanish expedition led by navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós who sailed from Peru
Peru
to the South Pacific in 1605. After Queirós's ship returned to Mexico, Torres resumed the intended voyage to Manila
Manila
via the Maluku Islands. He sailed along the south coast of New Guinea, and may also have sighted the northernmost extremity of the Australian mainland, however no specific records exist that indicate he did so.[8] In 1769 the Scottish geographer Alexander Dalrymple, whilst translating some Spanish documents captured in the Philippines in 1762, had found Luís Vaz de Torres' testimony proving a passage south of New Guinea
New Guinea
now known as Torres Strait. This discovery led Dalrymple to publish the Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
in 1770–1771, which aroused widespread interest in his claim of the existence of an unknown continent. It was Dalrymple who named the strait after Torres. Dalrymple was bitterly disappointed that it was James Cook
James Cook
and not he who was appointed commander of the expedition that eventually led in 1770 to the British encounter and charting of the eastern coastline of Australia. In 1770 Cook claimed the whole of eastern Australia
Australia
for the British Crown, and sailed through the strait after proceeding up the eastern coast of the continent. In 1823 Lieutenant John Lihou, then Master of HMS Zenobia, was on passage from Manila
Manila
to South America
South America
and chose a route through Torres Strait. This was the first occasion a ship was navigated through Torres Strait
Strait
from west to east. It was also the first occasion a ship was navigated through the Coral Sea
Coral Sea
from Torres Strait, south-eastward to the southward of New Caledonia. Lihou saw Sir James Saumarez' Shoal (now Saumarez Reefs) on 27 February and named the reef system after Vice-Admiral James Saumarez. On this same trip, Lihou discovered the Lihou Reef and Cays and Port Lihou. The London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
arrived on Erub (Darnley Island) in 1871. Although some of the Torres Strait
Strait
islands lie just off the coast of New Guinea, they were annexed in 1879 by Queensland, then a British colony. There was an important pearling industry from the 1860s until about 1970 when it collapsed in the face of competition from the plastics industry. Pearl-shelling was responsible for the arrival of experienced divers from many countries, notably Japan.[9] In 1978 an agreement between Australia
Australia
and Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
determined the maritime border in the Torres Strait.[10] Torres Strait
Strait
is mentioned in Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea as a dangerous strait where the submarine, the Nautilus, is briefly stranded. The people of the Torres Strait
Strait
have a unique indigenous culture which has drawn the interest of a range of anthropological, historical, archaeological and folklorist researchers (both professional and amateur). This includes an expedition from Cambridge University led by the early ethnographer Alfred Haddon
Alfred Haddon
in 1898 and the more contemporary regional work of Australian anthropologist Jeremy Beckett. Accounts of local Indigenous narrative traditions can be found in the work of Nonie Sharp and Margaret Lawrie. Due to proximity to the Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
mainland, the northern Torres Strait
Strait
islands experience occasional asylum seeker arrivals from across the Strait. A total of ten asylum seekers from Papua New Guinea were detected in each of 2012 and 2013.[11] In 2016 the Australian Federal Police were tipped off by residents of Prince of Wales Island that men from Sydney were attempting to buy a boat to reach Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
in order to leave Australia
Australia
without a passport.[12] Shipping routes[edit]

Navigation Routes through Torres Strait

The two routes through the Strait
Strait
are:

Endeavour Strait
Strait
(purple line on chart) – for small vessels. Prince of Wales Channel: Larger ships transiting Torres Strait
Strait
enter the Prince of Wales Channel from the West just north of Booby Island by way of the Gannet or Varzin Passages. The minimum depths for deep draught shipping in the Great Barrier Reef pilotage area are found here (10.3m – Nov 2011). Shipping with a 12.2m static draught or less are permitted to transit the area.[13]

Channels to the East of Prince of Wales Channel

Great North East Channel: East of Prince of Wales Channel at Wednesday Island the Route becomes The Great North East Channel (green line on chart). The Great North East Channel (GNEC) links the Prince of Wales Channel to the northernmost entrance to the Great Barrier Reef, 120 NM away at Bligh Entrance. The GNEC route runs North or South of Alert Patches and East to under Twin Island then Northeast to Dalrymple Island (the end of Pilotage requirement) then on to Bramble Quay, Bligh Entrance and the open sea. This passage routes shipping to the Coral
Coral
Sea, the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
and the outside of the Great Barrier Reef. Another channel (brown line on chart) runs down towards Cape York.[14] Inner Route Pilotage Area: The Inner Route Pilotage Area runs from near Cape York to near Cairns. This channel, named the 'Inner Route' runs between the Australian mainland and the Great Barrier Reef [15]

See also[edit]

Queensland
Queensland
portal

Birds of Boigu, Saibai and Dauan Islands (Torres Strait) Torres Strait
Strait
Islands

Notes[edit]

^ Harris, P.T., 1988. Sediments, bedforms and bedload transport pathways on the continental shelf adjacent to Torres Strait, Australia - Papua New Guinea. Continental Shelf Research 8, 979-1003 ^ Hemer, M.A., Harris, P.T., Coleman, R., Hunter, J., 2004. Sediment mobility due to currents and waves in the Torres Strait
Strait
- Gulf of Papua region. Continental Shelf Research 24, 2297-2316 ^ Coles, R.G., McKenzie, L.J. and Campbell, S.J. (2003). The seagrasses of eastern Australia
Australia
In: Green EP; Short FT; and Spalding MD. (eds) The World Atlas of Seagrasses ^ Harris, P.T., 1995. Muddy waters: the physical sedimentology of Torres Strait, in: Bellwood, O., Choat, H., Saxena, N. (Eds.), Recent Advances in Marine Science and Technology '94. James Cook
James Cook
University of North Queensland, Townsville, Qld., pp. 149-160 ^ David, B., McNiven, I. Manas, L., Manas, J., 2004. Goba of Mua: archaeology working with oral tradition. Antiquity 299 158-172 ^ Harris, P.T., Butler, A.J., Coles, R.G., 2008. Marine resources, biophysical processes, and environmental management of a tropical shelf seaway: Torres Strait, Australia
Australia
– Introduction to the Special Issue. Continental Shelf Research 28, 2113-2116 ^ John Burton. "History of Torres Strait
Strait
to 1879 – a regional view". Torres Strait
Strait
Regional Authority. Retrieved 2008-04-13.  ^ Brett Hilder (1980) The Voyage of Torres. University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, Queensland. ISBN 0-7022-1275-X ^ Ganter, Regina. (1994). The Pearl-Shellers of Torres Strait: Resource Use, Development and Decline, 1860s–1960s. Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84547-9. ^ for a detailed map see "Australia's Maritime Zones in the Torres Strait" (PDF). Australian Government – Geoscience Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 2008-04-13. , for the agreement see "Treaty between Australia
Australia
and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
concerning sovereignty and maritime boundaries in the area between the two countries, including the area known as Torres Strait, and related matters, 18 December 1978" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 2008-04-13.  ^ Wordsworth, Matt (13 August 2013). "Torres Strait
Strait
looms as a new route for asylum seekers escaping PNG". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 May 2015.  ^ "AFP probes men seeking boat in Torres Strait". 15 June 2016 – via Brisbane Times.  ^ AMSA-QCPP P12 ^ AMSA-QCPP P12 & Planning chartlets P65 ^ AMSA-QCPP Planning Chartlets P31

References[edit]

Singe, John. (2003). My Island Home: A Torres Strait
Strait
Memoir. University of Queensland
Queensland
Press. ISBN 0-7022-3305-6.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Torres Strait.

Coordinates: 9°50′S 142°30′E / 9.833°S 142.500°E / -9.833; 142.500

v t e

List of Torres Strait
Strait
topics

Torres Strait
Strait
Islands, islets, and cays

Bellevue group

Aipus Cap Kamutnab Keatinge Mabuiag Pulu Subur Warakuikul Talab Widul

Bourke group

Aukane Aureed Kabbikane Layoak Mimi Roberts Yam

Duncan group

Kanig Maitak Meth

Inner group

Port Lihou Yeta

Manar group

Albany Bush Eborac Ida Middle Brother

Talbot group

Aubussi Boigu Moimi

The Three Sisters group

Bet Poll Sue

Yorke group

Keats Marsden Rennel Smith

Ungrouped

Allison Anchor Arden Badu Barn Barney Bond Booby Bramble Browne Campbell Canoe Castle Coconut Crab Dalrymple Darnley Dauan Dayman Deliverance Dove Dugong Dumaralug East East Strait Entrance Farewell Flat Friday Gabba Getullai Goods Great Woody Green Halfway Hammond Hawkesbury High Horn Kaumag Kerr Lacey Little Adolphus Little Woody Lowry Mai Meddler Moa Morilug Mouinndo Mount Adolphus Mount Ernest Murangi Murray Nepean Nicklin North North Possession North West Obelisk Packe Passage Pearce Phipps Portlock Prince of Wales Quoin Red Red Wallis Roko Saddle Saibai Salter Sassie Spencer Stephens Suarji Thursday Tobin Travers Tree Trochus Tudu Tukupai Turnagain Turtle Head Turtle Turu Twin Underdown Wednesday West Whale Woody Wallis York Yorke Zagai

People, culture, communities and languages

Notable Torres Strait
Strait
islanders

Christine Anu Seaman Dan Aaron Fa'aoso Josh Hoffman Nathan Jawai Ellen Jose Robert Lui Eddie Mabo Rachael Maza Patty Mills Rita Mills Mills Sisters Danny Morseu Tanu Nona Albert Proud Wendell Sailor Sam Thaiday Brent Webb Jesse Williams

Culture

Indigenous music of Australia Mabo (film) Taba Naba

Communities

Bamaga Kaurareg Mabuiag Meriam (people) Seisia

Languages

Bine Eastern Trans-Fly Gizrra Kalaw Lagaw Ya Meriam Torres Strait
Strait
Creole Torres Strait
Strait
English Wipi

Governance and legal matters

Governance

Shire of Torres Torres Strait
Strait
Islander Flag Torres Strait
Strait
Island Region Torres Strait
Strait
Regional Authority

Legal cases and principles

Akiba v Commonwealth Mabo v Queensland

No 1 No 2

Terra nullius

Buildings and structures

Boigu Island Airport Booby Island Light Coconut Island Airport Darnley Island Airport Eborac Island Light Goods Island Light Kubin Airport Murray Island Airport Saibai Island
Saibai Island
Airport Warraber Island Airport Wyborn Reef Light Yam Island Airport Yorke Island Airport

Other

Adolphus Channel Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Strait
Islander Studies Birds of Boigu, Saibai and Dauan Islands Endeavour Strait Alfred Cort Haddon Margaret Lawrie Sea Swift Warul Kawa Indigenous Protected Area

Category Commons See also: List of Torres Strait
Strait
Islands

v t e

List of Australian seas

Ocean

Indian Ocean Pacific Ocean Southern Ocean

Sea

Arafura Sea Coral
Coral
Sea Tasman Sea Timor Sea

Strait

Backstairs Passage Bass Strait Clarence Strait Dundas Strait Endeavour Strait Investigator Strait Torres Strait

Gulf

Admiralty Gulf Beagle Gulf Cambridge Gulf Gulf of Carpentaria Great Australian Bight Exmouth Gulf Joseph Bonaparte Gulf Gulf St Vincent Spencer Gulf Van Diemen Gulf

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 25238

.