Horn Island (Narupai Island) is an island in the Torres Strait, in Queensland’s north between the Australian mainland and Papua New Guinea.
Horn Island is known as Nurapai/Nguruapai to the Muralag/Kaurareg people and was given its English name by Matthew Flinders in 1802. After the 1871 massacre on the Prince of Wales Islands (Muralag) remnants of the people settled here for a short while, until the government relocated the Muralag people to Hammond Island (Keriri) where they remained until 1922.
Gold was mined on Horn Island in the 1890s. In the early 20th century, a town flourished as a result of the pearling industry, but declined when non-islander residents were evacuated to southern Queensland during World War II. A major Allied airbase was constructed on the island and this was attacked several times by Japanese planes.
Horn Island is the site of Torres Strait Islands Thursday Island’s airport, which makes it a gateway for travellers to the mainland and outer islands. The present day population consists of islanders drawn from all islands of the Torres Strait, as well as non-Islanders. Residents travel daily by ferry across the Ellis Channel to Thursday Island for work and school. Torres Shire Council is the local government authority, providing the island community’s municipal services.
The island has a population of approximately 650 and is 53 km² in area.
Explore her natural beauty and her hidden stories. The island is 53km2 with a population of 650, and is a relaxing 15 min ferry ride away from Thursday Island. Horn Island has all the atmosphere of an outer island village, whilst enjoying many and varied modern facilities.
World War Two had a large impact on the island, as the closest advanced operational airbase to New Guinea was built here in 1940. Approx 5000 servicemen / women served on the island between 1940-1945. The Japanese bombed the island eight times and flew constant surveillance missions over the area.