10 May 2023

Torres Strait family happy to live out dream in Weipa

| Cape York Weekly
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A TORRES Strait Islander family is proud to call Weipa home after they purchased their first plot of soil in the Cape community.

Mike Benjamin and partner Jo Moloney will build on the Golf Links parcel of land, having purchased the famous “Ah Mat block” from family members.

Ms Moloney, from Thursday Island, said 2020 had been a tough year for many.

“We were supposed to get married in October on Fitzroy Island,” she said.

“We’ve had to postpone that for now.”

Mr Benjamin, who comes from Hammond Island, said they were more than happy to call Weipa home.

“I’ve got a good job working for Jaimec and Jo is happy at the Weipa Town Authority,” he said.

“We looked at buying at home but the prices are too high in the Torres Strait.”

Ray and Sindy Ah Mat said the Golf Links property was “their dream block” but were happy to sell it to their relatives in order for them to fulfil their own dream.

“We’ve been in Weipa for more than 30 years,” Ms Ah Mat said.

Husband Ray was the first Indigenous superintendent for Rio Tinto Weipa.

The vacant block backs onto the golf course. Ms Moloney said she hoped the kids would take an interest in golf.

“They are always running around at either soccer or rugby league,” she said.

Mr Benjamin, who did his apprenticeship as a diesel fitter with Torres Shire, said he liked to go back home as much as possible.

“We can get there in half a day by boat,” he said.

“If you drive up to Mapoon and go from there, it takes about three-and-a-half hours if the conditions are flat.”

The Ah Mats are their only family in Weipa and Ms Moloney said it was good to have family close by.

“We love Weipa but its important to have family around you,” she said.

Mr Benjamin and Ms Moloney plan on building on the block as soon as possible and creating their own dream home.

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