We are a small business owned by a proud Meriam woman whose ancestral connection to the Torres Strait Islands runs deep. So proud is our Kerry that she has made a brand to bring awareness about this small slice of paradise through a moment of connection with a cup of tea. In the Torres Strait there are more than 100 small islands, the main one of which is Thursday Island. The one closest to our hearts is Mer, one of three islands in Murray Islands, the home where Kerry’s paternal grandmother grew up. So, let us take you on a journey to Mer, a jewel in the crown of Murray Islands.
With a population of around 450 people speaking Torres Strait Creole and Meriam Mir, our Island homes are in the eastern section of Torres Strait, north of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Ours is a rich cultural history, based on sea faring and trade, with today’s Meriam people known for vibrant art and craftwork, traditional dances and songs, entrepreneurial activities, and fabulous cuisine both in the islands and on mainland Australia.
The small island of Mer is a fascinating geological formation, shaped like a dugong. Created more than a million years ago from an extinct volcano; the rich, red soil and dense vegetation on the islands are evidence of the rich biodiversity in the area. Locals enjoy a bounty of fresh foods from the land and the sea. The highest point of the island is Gelam Paser, a 230m peak that provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding azure-coloured ocean. Like many other islands, Meriam cultural ways of knowing, being and doing are under threat from the changing climate and sea level rise.
Our little island has created many great leaders. Did you know that Eddie Koiki Mabo was a Meriam man? On 3 June 1992, the monumental Mabo decision by the High Court of Australia rejected the concept of terra nullius, a concept that had resulted in his Ancestors' land being taken away. The Mabo decision, with its recognition that Indigenous rights to land existed because of traditional customs and laws, continues to have a profound and lasting impact on Australia and around the world. The Meriam People determination in 1998, extended these rights to two islands that had been earlier excluded from the Mabo decision. This agreement was approved by Justice Black as a consent determination in June 2001.
We are proud of the contributions from our islands to the world. Thank you for coming with us on this journey to our Island home! If you have any stories to share about this beautiful place, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.