25 years of protected island paradise on our doorstep

PAST & PRESENT: Lake McKenzie Fraser Island 1988.
PAST & PRESENT: Lake McKenzie Fraser Island 1988. Maryborough Printing Co Pty Ltd

GYMPIE region residents are invited to join in 12 months of celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the World Heritage listing of Fraser Island (K'gari).

December 7, 2017, marks a quarter century since the island's 1992 listing on the World Heritage register - a significant milestone for the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing (NPSR) to celebrate with the community.

Moon Point Fraser Island.
Moon Point Fraser Island. Lucy Wilson

NPSR Director-General Tamara O'Shea said the anniversary presented a wonderful opportunity to promote the international significance of K'gari.

"The island was listed as a World Heritage site for its outstanding universal values,” Mrs O'Shea said.

"K'gari has exceptional natural beauty found nowhere else on Earth - over 250km of sandy beaches, strikingly coloured sand cliffs, and spectacular sandblows.

Meheno. Fraser Island
Meheno. Fraser Island Daniel Green

"Inland, we see the majestic remnants of tall subtropical rainforest growing on sand fed by some of the world's purest freshwater streams.

"The island's sand dunes are some of the oldest in the world, and half of the world's perched freshwater lakes are also found here.

Champagne pools, Fraser Island.
Champagne pools, Fraser Island. Mamae Blake

"It's these features that were recognised as internationally significant, and warranted the island's World Heritage listing in 1992,” she said.

The Butchulla people are the Traditional Owners of Fraser Island and call the island K'gari which means "paradise”.

The Butchulla continue to hold strong links with the land and sea, and their continued custodianship is critical to conserving the island's culture and nature.

PAST & PRESENT: Champagne Rocks Fraser Island 1988.
PAST & PRESENT: Champagne Rocks Fraser Island 1988. Maryborough Printing Co Pty Ltd

"The anniversary celebrations are a great occasion to promote our people's ongoing connection to country,” said Ranger Conway Burns Butchulla spokesperson.

'A lot has happened in the past 25 years, but our connection to K'gari goes back some 60,000 years and is worth recognising and celebrating.

PAST & PRESENT: Sand Blow Fraser Island 1988.
PAST & PRESENT: Sand Blow Fraser Island 1988. Maryborough Printing Co Pty Ltd

'We have sustainably managed K'gari for a long time now and look forward to having a say in its future for our children,' he said.

Fraser Island was once mined for mineral sands and logged for its valuable timber. The fight for protection from sand mining began in 1971. A proposal to greatly expand the number of mining leases on the island led to the formation of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO), a group of concerned citizens led by John Sinclair.

PAST & PRESENT: Eurong Fraser Island 1988
PAST & PRESENT: Eurong Fraser Island 1988 The Jurss Family

FIDO's campaign aimed to stop logging and sand mining leases on the island. The campaign went to the High Court twice during the 1970s and eventually, on 31 December 1976, all sand mining on Fraser Island ceased. Logging ceased in 1991.

Tamara O'Shea thanked FIDO and its founder John Sinclair for their work.

PAST & PRESENT: Lake Wabby Fraser Island 1988
PAST & PRESENT: Lake Wabby Fraser Island 1988 The Jurss Family

"On this important anniversary, I'd like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of John Sinclair, FIDO and also Wildlife Queensland which led to the protection of Fraser Island in perpetuity, and to the later World Heritage listing,” she said.

A series of celebration events throughout December and most of 2018 will include a photo competition, guided tours, and special events.

Check out the Fraser Island WHA 25th Anniversary webpage for details:

Topics:  cooloola coast fraser island great sandy strait heritage listing kgari

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