100 years later, Butchulla family to move back to Fraser Is

FOR the first time in almost 100 years, a Butchulla family is moving back to K'Gari (Fraser Island) to practise a traditional Indigenous Australian lifestyle.

Kelly McBride, her aunty Gemma Cronin, her son Lorence and her cousin Narawi are giving up their "European-influenced" lifestyles to eat bush tucker, speak the Butchulla Language and practise traditional dance.

The two children; seven-year-old Narawi and five-year-old Lorence will be home schooled, and will be taught a mixture of Butchulla traditions as well as European-based education.

Ms Cronin said a Butchulla family had not returned to K'Gari to live off Country since the last of her people were shipped off the island in the 1920s.

"For us it is about healing," Ms Cronin said.

"We, the whole family, has always been drawn back to the island when we need to heal, but we're making history by moving back like this."

While the family will still be living in a house, Ms McBride said she was going to miss having shopping centres and hospital nearby.

"I've recently moved back here from the Gold Coast, so it's going to be a huge change for me," Ms McBride said.

"But to be able to honour my heritage and teach the next generation about how my people live, it's all worth it."

Ms McBride and Ms Cronin said they would earn an income to pay their rent by showcasing their Butchulla dances at Kingfisher resort.

The family plans on fishing every day, as well as collecting herbs, nuts and berries from across the island.

Ms Cronin said there were very few Butchulla families left, after her people were subject to disease and death following European settlement.

"That's why we need to go back and uphold those values that we had for thousands of years," she said.

"I think all Butchulla families should do it."



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