My blog » Photographer Tanya Lake

Palm Island

Palm Island, North Queensland, Australia

In the stunning Whitsunday Islands, off the coast of tropical North Queensland, is Palm Island. Established as a penal colony for indigenous Australians, Palm Island has been a place where, removed from their own cultures and language, indigenous Australian’s have been thrown together on an island with little promise – there is no opportunity for employment, and no connection to traditional land. Following the death of Cameron Doomadgee, in 2004, after being beaten to death by a white policeman, Palm Island was deemed “The most dangerous place in the world outside a war zone.” What I found, during my visit in 2006, was a community reeling from sadness and years of dislocation, with beautiful people who welcomed us into their homes.

If you are travelling in Queensland, you can catch a ferry (or fly) from Townsville out to Palm Island. There is basic accommodation & a simple store.

Throw a line off the jetty and chat with the locals.

 

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The “Bwalcomman” dance troupe.

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Image shows the Friday barge arriving at Palm Island, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia. Sep 2006, Photographs by Tanya Lake

Image shows the Friday barge arriving at Palm Island, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia.

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Alan Palmisland, one of the few indigenous residents of Palm Island to have decended from the original people of the island which is home to 3,500 indigenous Australians, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia. Sep 2006 . Photographs by Tanya LakeAlan Palmisland, one of the few indigenous residents of Palm Island to have descended from the original people of the islandIt is illegal to bring alcohol onto Palm Island. This sign is at the airport in Townsville

Image shows a young man riding bareback along a beach at Palm Island, home to 3,500 indigenous Australians, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia. Sep 2006 . Photographs by Tanya Lake

Mayor Zack with his grandson on Palm Island, home to 3,500 indigenous Australians, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia. Sep 2006 . Photographs by Tanya Lake

Elizabeth Doomadge holds pictures of her now dead brother and nephew.

Cameron Doomagee (her brother – in picture on right) was beaten to death by a white policeman on Palm Island, and Cameron’s son (on left – at his funeral holding the cross) later committed suicide. Elizabeth Doomage holds pictures of her now dead brother and nephew. Cameron Doomagee (her brother - in picture on right) was beaten to death by a white policeman on Palm Island, and Camerons son (on left - at his funeral holding the cross) later comitted suicide. Palm Island is home to 3,500 indigenous Australians, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia. Sep 2006 . Photographs by Tanya Lake

 

Image shows a young girl jumping from the wharf on Palm Island, home to 3,500 indigenous Australians, off the coast of Northern Queensland, Australia. Sep 2006 . Photographs by Tanya Lake

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