I recently had the privilege of working alongside another NAHRLS locum at Yorke Island (Masig) on the Torres Strait. Interestingly, Yorke Island was the film location for the Australian television series, RAN (Remote Area Nurse).
My colleague and I, as well as many other NAHRLS locums, covered fulltime employees at the Masig Island Health Centre while they attended a group management update and education forum.
Masig Island Health Centre is the main clinic for the central Torres Strait Island group. It functions as the headquarters for all primary health centres on Warrabar, Coconut and Yam Islands. The primary health clinic is open from 8am to 5pm daily and provides the community with clinical nurse consultants, health practitioners, and visiting medical professionals. The clinic team are available on call afterhours and on weekends to assist with any medical emergencies. They are supported by staff from the Thursday Island Hospital for aeromedical evacuation assistance when necessary.
The clinic team are highly experienced, passionate and dedicated professionals who made us feel like we were in good hands.
Their community knowledge and the degree to which the community is engaged with the clinic meant that we had a very productive and busy few weeks.
Masig is a coral cay situated in the eastern area of the central island group in the Torres Strait. It is approximately 2.7km long and 0.8 km at its widest point. Masig is accessible by a small plane from Horn Island that has a landing strip which crosses from one side of the Island to the other. The fact that we landed on the runway without going past the strip made us very happy and saved us from having wet feet! Very clever pilots indeed!
The Torres Strait Islander people of Masig are of Melanesian origin and followed traditional patterns of hunting, fishing, agriculture and trade for many thousands of years prior to contact with the first European visitors to the region.
Masig people are renowned skilled navigators with detailed knowledge of the reefs. The fishermen run a successful mackeral, prawning and crayfishing industry with many fisherman free diving fo a variety of fish every day.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Masig for their hospitality.
We felt very welcomed by the local people, many of whom would stop for a chat and happily include us in their community. They educated us about the Islands amazing history and allowed us to walk all the way around the Island…literally! We also walked on one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen.
The Masig people showed us how they fished and how they gathered coconuts, making us fresh pure coconut oil in the process. Finally, they allowed us to capture some of the Islands beauty to share with all of you.
I am very fortunate to be a part of the NAHRLS nursing team.