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Saibai Island - Kadhego Ngurpay Lag


Head of Campus: Paula Tweedie

Phone: (07) 4214 8222 | Fax: (07) 4069 4047


Campus enrolment: 104 Students
Year Levels: Pre-Prep to Year 6
Community Snapshot
Population: 465*
Cluster: Top Western Islands
English Name: Saibai Island
Saibai is approximately 20kms long by 6km wide. The island was formed from alluvial sediment, built up over time from neighbouring Papua New Guinea’s vast river systems. Only 4kms off the coast of mainland Papua New Guinea, Saibai is an average of one metre above sea level. The island comprises of a mixture of mangrove fringe, flood plain and brackish swamps. It is also subject to flossing by rising sea levels. The wet season deposits approximately 2m of rain, yet in comparison the dry season leaves the island short of water.
The traditional language spoken on Saibai is Kulkalgal Ya (KLY), with the specific dialect is Kalaw Kawaw Ya.

The Saibai Islanders have always traded with PNG, although their great enemies were traditionally the Kiwai of the Fly River. The Saibai Islanders accepted Christianity in 1871 with the arrival of the London Missionary Society. During World War I, the German Wislin cult flourished in Saibai, but soon diminished. Regular trade between Saibai and Papuan villages continues today; the locals, carrying a permit, may cross the border, something outsiders may not do. Strict quarantine regulations are enforced.

*Source: 2016 ABS Census
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