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Yam Island - Iama Ngurpay Lag

Head of Campus: Tessie Portelli 

Phone: (07) 4069 4215 | Fax: (07) 4069 4310

Campus enrolment: 59 Students
Year Levels: Pre-Prep to Year 6
Community Snapshot
Population: ​319*
Cluster: Central Islands
English Name: Yam Island
Traditional Name: Iama
Iama is also called Turtle-backed Island. The island comprises of vegetated granite and is surrounded by clear waters which yield abundant fish.
The traditional language spoken on Iama is Kulkalgal Ya (KLY).
The original inhabitants of Iama traded and fought widely in their sailing canoes. In 1972, they came aboard William Bligh’s two ships seeking iron. Bligh named Tudu Warrior Island after an attack they later made. The London Missionary Society established a station at Iama’s western end, making it possible for a permanent village with people settling around the mission. Many of the men took jobs on pearling luggers and a pearling station operated on Tudu during the 1870’s. Pacific Islanders working at Nahgi station later settled on Iama. During World War II, many Iama men enlisted in the army, forming C Company of the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion. Despite their seafaring background, Iama people were fairly isolated from the outside world until well after the war. An airstrip was constructed in 1974 and the island’s connection to the Torres Strait telephone exchange occurred in 1980. Iama has provided the Torres Strait with important political leaders including Getano Lui Senior (grandson of the first LMS teacher, Lui Getano Lifu), and Getano Lui Junior, former chairman of the Island Coordinating Council.
*Source: 2016 ABS Census
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