SUMMER LOVE: Fraser Island.
SUMMER LOVE: Fraser Island. Crisselda Dizon

Fraser Island renamed to recognise traditional owners

A RENAMING of the Fraser Island section of the Great Sandy National Park will recognise the Butchulla People, National Parks Minister Steven Miles said today. 

Mr Miles said the Butchulla People were Fraser Island's Traditional Owners and had native title rights over the island.

Lake MacKenzie at Fraser Island
Lake MacKenzie at Fraser Island Sarah Manning

"We've moved to rename the Fraser Island section of the Great Sandy National Park to the 'K'gari (Fraser Island) section' to recognise the Butchulla People's traditional name for the island.

"In October 2014 the Butchulla People had their native title rights over the island confirmed by the Federal Court of Australia, and it's appropriate we acknowledge this in the renaming of the Fraser Island section of the national park.”

SUNSETS ON THE FRASER COAST: Melissa Aird shot this at Big Woody Island.
SUNSETS ON THE FRASER COAST: Melissa Aird shot this at Big Woody Island. Melissa Aird

Mr Miles said the name change would take effect immediately and new "Welcome to K'gari (Fraser Island)” signs would be installed at the three barge landings on the island 

"It's important to note we have only changed the name of this section of the national park - this isn't a name change for the island itself,” Mr Miles said.

"It was in 2011 that the former Bligh government officially recognised the traditional name for Fraser Island, with K'gari entered as an alternate name for the island in the Queensland Place Names register.”

Hungry Dingo on Fraser Island
Hungry Dingo on Fraser Island Michael Hall

Chris Royan, Secretary Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, said the Butchulla people welcomed the news that the Queensland Government was about to rename the Fraser Island section of the Great Sandy National Park.

"Having the traditional name of K`gari restored to its rightful place will be like breathing life back into the island,” Ms Royan said.

"Restoring the Butchulla personality of K`gari has been a major priority for the Butchulla people, after a 20 year struggle to be recognised as the traditional owners.

"This action of renaming the section to K'gari is a positive step in the process.

"We congratulate Minister Steven Miles for the ongoing support he has given the Butchulla people and look forward to seeing "K`gari” in print as a section of the National Park.

"Though this news is uplifting, we are sad that our Elders who started the land claim process, 20 years ago, are not with us to see their hard work rewarded.

"Despite their passing, we know they are watching and will be very pleased with K`gari being officially recognised as a section of the National Park,” Ms Royan said.

Gympie Times


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