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.
The “Bwalcomman” dance troupe.
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.