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Ghost of Haslar: The Torres Strait Arrow Maker


My name is unknown. I am stuck here on the deck. I came from a small island called Erub in the Torres Strait that separates the north of present-day Australia with Papua New Guinea.

It was here my Torres Strait Islander maker collected the reed used to make my arrow shaft, where the wood was carved to make my point and where grass was used to bind them to each other. Our weather is hot and humid all year round.

I was collected by a surgeon doctor called Frederick Whipple who arrived in my home from Britain on board a ship called HMS Fly. He became a doctor in the town they set up to take control of our land, and sent me overseas to Haslar Hospital museum. My people suffered from the diseases brought by British settlers and our numbers dwindled.

Today our descendants are a proud community fighting climate change. Today I am at the British Museum.