On 16 February 1969 eight men landed on Moa (Banks) Island in the Torres Strait. They were West Papuans who had travelled by raft from a village near Merauke in what was then known as West Irian, the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea. Merauke is less than 300 kilometres from Moa, but because of unfavourable winds, their journey had lasted more than a month. One of their party had died while they were drifting between the New Guinea mainland and Australia. There are two written accounts of interviews held with the men in the days after their arrival in Australia. One was compiled by DJ O'Connor, a sub-collector of customs who on 18 February had spoken to the men on behalf of the Department of Immigration, and arranged for their transfer to Thursday Island. The other account was provided by a Thursday Island resident, Roland ('Rolly') Cantley, who had interviewed the men a day after their arrival. He recorded a first person narrative from Alexander Toembay, the leader of the West Papuans. Toembay spoke of Indonesian persecution. He also shed light on the decision to head for Australia.