Torres Strait Islands

The Torres Strait Islands are located in the Diocese of Cairns which is home to nearly 5,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics. According to the most recent census, 10% of all Indigenous people in the Cairns Diocese identify as Catholic.


On the Islands themselves, the Catholic Parish is located on Thursday Island and is home to around 800 Torres Strait Islander Catholics.


For a summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Statistics drawn from the 2016 Census, please click here.


The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands which lie in Torres Strait, the waterway separating far northern continental Australia's Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea.


The islands are mostly part of Queensland, a constituent State of the Commonwealth of Australia, with a special status fitting the native (Melanesian) land rights, administered by the Torres Strait Regional Authority. A few islands very close to the coast of mainland New Guinea belong to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea, most importantly Daru Island with the provincial capital, Daru.


NATSICC Councillor for the Torres Strait Islands

 Dolly McGaughey Torres Strait Islands Councillor

Dolly McGaughey is the NATSICC representative for the Torres Strait Islands. We are very happy to have a representative for the Torres Strait and look forward to making the most of Dolly's experience and knowledge. She is passionate about climate change, her family and culture and her Catholic faith


Now retired, Dolly has worked closely with the Catholic Education Office for many years in many different roles. A talented musician, Dolly's music has been included on a number of CD releases. Dolly has a large family, located on the mainland as well as on the Islands.

Ministries and Services


Sacred Heart - Thursday Island

Holy Family, Horn island

St Joseph the Worker's Church,

Hammond Island

St Stephen's, Bamaga


Main Contact (Thursday island):

PO Box 142, Thursday Island 4875

Douglas St Thursday Island

Phone: 07 4069 2205   |   Fax: 07 4069 2334


Resources and information

Torres Strait Islands and Catholicism

May 14, 2016

The Roman Catholic Church began its ministries in the Torres Strait when Pope Leo XIII requested that the Sacred Heart Fathers establish a Mission in New Guinea. It was decided among the Fathers that the setting up and servicing of such a Mission would be better facilitated if a site was chosen in the Torres Strait.


Read more...........

National Library of Australia Torres Strait Islander Collection

January 16, 2019

An Online guide to the Torres Strait Islander Collection held at the National Library of Australia.


To help identify relevant material this guide is sorted into the five major island clusters in the Torres Straits Region. It highlights collection items already on the National Library of Australia's catalogue.


Read more...........

Upcoming Events

The Coming of the Light - July 1

The Coming of the Light is a holiday celebrated by Torres Strait Islanders on 1 July each year. It recognises the adoption of Christianity through island communities during the late nineteenth century.

Previous Events

The Coronation of Mary Celebrations

The coronation is a very important celebration on the Torres Strait Islands. In this article, Dolly McGaughey shares her memories of the day and gives an insight to the inculturation of this Christian  celebration.

Read more.....



National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'

80C Payneham Rd.

Stepney SA 5069   |   | 08 8363 2963


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