Map of Australia from 1900

 

This activity aims to provide cultural and geographical context for students before they explore sources from the National Library's collection.

Begin by asking students if they have heard of the Torres Strait Islands.  You might use well known Torres Strait Islanders or nationally celebrated events as stimulus. Some examples include:

  • Patty Mills (NBA)
  • Sam Thaiday (NRL)
  • Christine Anu (Musician)
  • Seaman Dan (Musician)
  • Mills Sisters (Musicians)
  • Alick Tipoti (Artist)
  • NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Celebration)

Further the discussion on the geographical location of the Torres Strait region.

To help with this discussion you may wish to provide a map of Australia.You can use the map above, or refer to one on the Torres Strait Regional Authority Website. All islands named on this map are inhabited, with population varying between 200 – 500 permanent residents.

Bring to students attention that the Torres Strait is the most northerly area of Australia and that it marks Australia’s only border with another nation - Papua New Guinea.

It may also be appropriate at this stage to introduce contemporary photographs of the region so students have an understanding of the tropical environment and land features in the Torres Strait, whether it is similar or different to your local area. Ensure that the ocean is visually emphasised as a major resource for food/economy.