Get to know our local community
The Community of Masig (Yorke Island) is focused on its aim to develop a prosperous future for Yorke Island and the Torres Strait. It is a visionary community that strives to look after the people’s interest and culture.
Kailag Enterprises Ltd was created in 2008 to ensure that these interests and future developments are achieved. Just as our motto says “For tomorrows children – Today we work”, the corporation operates the Lowatta Lodge and other business ventures for the benefit of our future generations to support the communities social and economic wellbeing.
Visitors to the Island will discover the unique culture and traditional lifestyle of our people while experiencing the magnificent reefs and pristine beaches that surround the white sand shores.
Yorke Island Generally known as Masig is located in the central to eastern Torres Strait and is in close proximity to Papua New Guinea, Coconut (PORUMA), Stephen (UGAR), Darnley (ERUB), Murray (MER) and Yam (IAMA) Islands. The geographical location makes it the obvious choice as a hub for the central and eastern Torres Strait Islands.
In the past there were greater movements of fishing vessels working throughout the Torres Strait. With this being the only form of transport between the islands, each vessel respected and recognised the area of each inhabited island and reported their presence to the local chief when attending the Island. When a vessel anchored off an island, the skipper would report to the community leader with the purpose of their visit. Today this practice continues and all visitors advise the Chairperson of the Masigalgal Corporation (Prescribed Body Corporate) and Torres Strait Island Regional Councillor of their visit.
Our cultural context has been passed on through languages and traditional upbringing, as a way of life by our ancestors from time immemorial. Although elders still speak our language “Kala lagau ya” most people speak Creole.
Hello – Seu Ngapa
Good Bye – Yawo
Native title claims the agreement to co-exit with the deed of grant in trust which enables local government to assist with the development of the community. This is a change, that gives a sense of better understanding.
Kailag Enterprises Ltd consists of a board of directors and a Chief Executive Officer. All directors are local residence and descendants of Masig Island. The administration and direction of KEL and its economic developments rest with the Board and CEO. Regular board meetings are held to discuss the corporation and the communities current and future position.
The fishing Industry is a major economic development with most of our local fishermen involved. Fishing plays a large part of our livelihood and with the continued support of the fishing industry, we see the opportunities for our local people improving. Masig is also a hub for many of the east coast fishing and prawn boats, with the corporation in trust of a 10 hectare farming permit off the coast of Kodol & Masig Islands.
Masig has a primary school with students from pep to year 6. The majority of students in attendance are Islanders. We have approximately 40 students at the school with resident teachers and a number of local teacher aids. Students attending secondary education leave the island to board at boarding schools. A majority of our children go to high schools on Thursday Island and the mainland (Qld).
The Community has a sporting facility that caters for basketball and volleyball. Community members have a strong interest and involvement in Rugby League, Darts, Touch Football, Volleyball and Basketball. Other sporting and recreational activities are organised by the Councils Sports & Recreation development officer and community volunteers.
Traditional cooking and customs are regularly performed in the community. People get together at the community centre for feastings, functions and community meetings. Other places where people gather are at church, the community hall, shops, school and the Council chambers.
Majority of people live in modern homes that are leased to families, others have been built by their owners and are privately owned. The houses are built on family land. This is not freehold land it co-exists with an agreement.
People value their families, land, culture and take pride in their work, education and religion.