Badu Island is in the Torres Strait, 55 km north of Thursday Island. A little less than 10 km in diameter, Badu has numerous granite hills with sandy patches in between. Most of the population is on the south of the island.
The island achieved minor notoriety with Ion Idriess' Wild White Man of Badu (1950), based on the supposed life of a white renegade who gained influence and lived with the Baduans in the 1840s. The Badu men were noted seafarers and readily adapted to roles as lugger crews and the collection of pearl shell. They also served in large numbers in the Australian Army in World War II. The Badu economy prospered in the early postwar years, with up to 13 boats engaged in the shell industry. The decline of the industry in the 1960s caused unemployment, some men moving to the mainland but others became engaged in cray fishing. Badu Enterprises, a local company, helped to re-establish the island's economy.
Badu Island had a community council from 2002, separate from the local Torres (Thursday Island) Shire and in 2004 native title over Badu was formally granted. In 2008 Badu Island Council was amalgamated into the Torres Strait Regional Council.
Badu has preschool and primary education facilities (1905), a hotel, motel, sports and recreation venues and an Assembly of God church. Its census populations have been:
Jeremy Beckett, Torres Strait Islanders: custom and colonialism, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1989