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Fraser Island a beauty by any name

Jocelyn Watts

RENEWED calls for Fraser Island to be known by its indigenous name, K'gari, have been partially backed by Butchulla elders.

Following Friday's landmark native title decision by the Federal Court (pictured), talk about the traditional name of the island has reignited.

In July 2011 Queensland's Department of Environment and Resource Management endorsed the traditional indigenous name.

Butchulla elder Marie Wilkinson told the Chronicle she supported K'gari becoming the island's commonly used name - but didn't want it to happen overnight.

Ms Wilkinson suggested "easing into it" would be the way to go.

"Put that traditional name beside it so people get used to it," she said. "I would like to see that come back but I don't expect people to jump through hoops."

Ms Wilkinson simply wants any future signage to also have the traditional name alongside Fraser Island, similar to Ayers Rock or Uluru.

"All over the world we're known," she said.

But Ms Wilkinson dispelled rumours K'gari meant "paradise" in Butchulla language.

"As far as I know K'gari could mean 'a beautiful place'," she said.

Ms Wilkinson said her grandmother spoke a lot of Butchulla language and said she knew it to mean "beautiful place".

But regardless of how the two names are promoted in the future, Ms Wilkinson said it was important that people recognised and respected the beauty and importance of the island.

Topics:  butchulla editors picks fraser island indigenous

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