The Shire of Torres is the northernmost Queensland local authority, and it comprises all of the State lying north of latitude 11 degrees south. This includes the northernmost part of Cape York Peninsula, together with the islands of Torres Strait. The Shire's administrative centre is located on Thursday Island, which provides the primary service centre for the region.
Torres Shire is the only Australian local government which abuts an international border (Australia and Papua New Guinea) and is in close proximity to the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya. This alone places the people of the Shire in a unique part of the country.
Torres Shire Council's administrative control, since the Torres Strait Islanders Act 1939, does not extend over the whole of the Shire Area and excludes those Islands and mainland areas listed below. These areas have been relinquished to specific Islander and Aboriginal Councils under the provisions of the Community Services (Torres Strait) Act and the Community Services (Aboriginal) Act.
Badu Island Council
Bamaga Island Council (Cape York)
Boigu Island Council
Coconut Island Council
Cowal Creek Aboriginal Council (Cape York)
Darnley Island Council
Dauan Island Council
Hammond Island Council
Kubin Island Council and St Paul's Island Council on Moa Island
Mabuiag Island Council
Murray Island Council
New Mapoon Aboriginal Council (Cape York)
Saibai Island Council
Seisia Island Council (Cape York)
Stephen Island Council
Umagico Aboriginal Council (Cape York)
Warraber Island Council
Yam Island Council
Yorke Island Council
The remaining land area, which is administered by the Council, is comprised of several islands and portions of Cape York Peninsula. The major islands covered by the Plan include:
Little Adolphus Island
Mount Adolphus Island
Port Lihou Island
Prince of Wales Island
After almost 40 years of administration by a State Government Administrator the Torres Shire Council was restored to elected Council status in March 1991 and is now administered by a mainstream local authority Council comprising a Mayor (since 1994) and four councillors.