You just have to visit Thursday Island (TI) when up on the “tip” – everyone we met on our travels were telling us this.
So we headed off to catch the Pedell’s Ferry (seniors are half price – woohoo) for a 1 hour 10 minute trip from the Seisia wharf.
Included in the fare was a 1 hour bus tour of the island, so we took advantage of this. The only disappointing aspect was the three museums (a “must see” on TI) were all closed due to the Covid19 Pandemic. So it was shorter than normal bus tour followed by lunch at the pub, then back onto the ferry for the return to Seisia. These are some of the things we got to see on our bus tour of TI…
A look around TI
Green Hill Fort
The Green Hill Fort was built in 1891 to defend the top end of Australia from possible Russian attack. The 1885 confrontation between Britain and Russia, which almost resulted in open conflict, galvanised the Australian colonies to jointly fund construction of the fortifications, and these represent an important and uncommon instance of pre-Federation Colonial cooperation on defence in the “national” interest.
An interesting fact we learnt was the fort was decommissioned after World War One and not used in World War Two – but no one told the Japs. The fort was added to the Australian Commonwealth Heritage List in 2008.
The views are fantastic from this location and pretty impressed to find the canons could fire 8 miles out to sea. The original canons are still in place.
TI Cemetery (incorporating the Japanese Cemetery)
Thursday Island Cemetery is a heritage-listed cemetery. It was established in 1887 and includes the Japanese Cemetery. It contains hundreds of graves, including between 600 and 700 Japanese (mostly pearl-shell divers), entrepreneurs and fortune hunters of all nationalities, Torres Strait pilots, sailors and ships’ passengers drowned at sea, as well as generations of Thursday Islanders.