Mr ENTSCH: During the recent winter break, I had the absolute pleasure to attend the 150th anniversary of the Coming of the Light celebrations on Erub Island.
Coming of the Light recognises the adaptation of Christianity throughout the Torres Strait during the late 19th century.
The day of celebration and joy means so much to the Torres Strait Islander people and this year’s event across the region was particularly special.
Church services and the re-enactment of 1 July 1871 landing of Reverend Samuel Macfarlane of the London Missionary Society on Erub Island was central to day’s activities and events.
In fact, in the previous celebration, I had the honour of playing Reverend Samuel Macfarlane during the re-enactment.
During the re-enactment, I was met on the beach by Dabad, a warrior clan elder of Erub Island who defied his tribal law and openly welcomed the London Missionary Society clergyman and South Sea islander evangelists and teachers.
Torres Strait Islanders’ acknowledgement of the missionaries was the acceptance of change that would profoundly affect every aspect of life on the Torres Strait from that time onwards.
The events on Erub Island this year were attended by hundreds of people and was a true celebration of culture, faith and togetherness.
I want to take the opportunity to thank everybody involved in organising the 150th anniversary and acknowledge their hard work in ensuring this year’s Coming of the Light went without a glitch.