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Margaret Lawrie Torres Strait Island Collection

The Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Strait Islands Material is the culmination of the life’s work of Margaret Lawrie, a contemporary of noted Aboriginal poet Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal), who travelled widely with her throughout the 1950s and 1960s. During this time they were both important influences on the development of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples, documenting their history, languages and cultures.

Margaret Lawrie later became interested in the history and cultures of the Torres Strait Islander peoples and spent significant periods in various Torres Strait Islands communities. She gathered first hand information and material about the myths, legends, languages, history, art and culture of the region.

Also in the collection are the manuscripts of her two published works, Myths and legends of the Torres Strait and Tales from Torres Strait. The former work was published in both Australia and the United States. Although out of print, it is still widely considered an iconic work.

The collection is the most significant relating to the Torres Strait since the one brought back to the UK by the Cambridge University-sponsored Haddon Expedition of the 1890s.

Inscription Number: #29

Year of Inscription: 2008

Physical Location: State Library of Queensland

a photograph of artwork Torres Strait pigeon eating the fruit of the wild plum

Torres Strait pigeon eating the fruit of the wild plum. Watercolour by Segar Passi.

Images of Torres Strait Island life

Images of Torres Strait Island life from the Margaret Lawrie Collection.

Images courtesy of State Library of Queensland