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Murray Island - Mer Eruer Uteb

Head of Campus: Andrea Finlayson
Phone: (07) 4214 8333 | Fax: (07) 4069 4320
Campus enrolment: 60 Students
Year Levels: Pre-Prep to Year 6
Community Snapshot
Population: 450*
Cluster: Eastern Islands
English Name: Murray Island
Traditional Name: Mer
Mer is one of the three islands which make up the “Murray Group” - the other two islands are Dauar and Waier - all of which are high level volcanic islands, characterised by red fertile soil and dense vegetation. Mer is located on the eastern end of the Torres Strait, within sight of the Great Barrier Reef.
The traditional language spoken on Mer is Meriam Mir.
Mer is the home of the famous “Mabo Case” which resulted in the Australian High Court decision to grant native title to the Meriam people over Mer Island. Each family had sea rights, which allowed them to maintain stone fish weirs and crayfish holes on the reefs in front of their houses, which were built above the beach. Permanent settlement by outsides began in 1872, when the London Missionary Society posted two Pacific Island teachers on Mer. The Queensland Government annexed the islands in 1879 and from the 1890’s maintained a presence there by a resident teacher-supervisor. In their dealings with outside agencies, the Meriam had a reputation for independence and this was highlighted in 1992 with the Mabo/Murray Island native title case. It was the 10-year struggle in the courts by Meriam people that finally discredited the notion of terra nullius, placing the wider issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty on the national political agenda.
*Source: 2016 Census
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