Aboriginal vs. Torres Strait Islanders

Difference Between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are natives of Australia but they have different places of origin. The origin of Aboriginal Australians is from mainland while Torres Strait Islanders are believed to be from Torres Strait Islanders. Let us understand the differences between them by knowing more about them.

Aboriginal Australians have been living in mainland Australia and Tasmania for about 40,000 years after coming from Asia and settling here. They are the first settlers and came here even before Europeans. Today there are more than 400 groups of Aboriginal Australians and Koori, Yolngu, Yamatji, Murri, Yapa, Anangu, Wangkai and Palawah are just few of them who live nomadic life and are spread all across Australia. They keep wandering for gathering food and hunting.

Torres Strait Islands are a group of Islands somewhere between Queensland and Papua New Guinea and Torres Strait islanders are local residents of these islands. You can see clear influence of Melanesian and Papua New Guinea people on their culture as they are known to have descended from them. They trade through sea with the islands close by, do hunting, gather food and they are known to have great agricultural skills.

Both these groups constitute almost 3 percent of the total Australian population. These groups have different beliefs and cultures. Here are some of the differences between them:

  • Aboriginal Dreamtime stories have a Rainbow Serpent as main character. This Serpent s considered to be the creator and protector of the land while Tagai is the main character of Torres Strait Islanders Dreamtime stories. Their stories are mainly focused on sky and stars.
  • Aborigines speak Pama-Nyungan languages while Torres Straight Islander speaks Kala Lagaw Ya and Meriam Mir.

These two are different groups with their own different ways of life but they have been able to preserve their cultures and live their lives according to it.


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