New hub opening on K’gari to show how ‘important’ island is
The University of the Sunshine Coast says a new interpretive centre opening on K’gari will highlight how “important and fragile” the world’s largest sand island is.
The K’gari World Heritage Discovery Centre at Kingfisher Bay Resort is due to open next week with the aim to “help increase understanding, appreciation and conservation” of the island.
The venture comes as a joint initiative of USC and SeaLink Fraser Island, in partnership with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation.
It will be supported by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) Professor Joanne Scott said entry to the centre, which will officially open on 1 March, would be free to all visitors to the island.
“K’gari is recognised as one of the world’s most outstanding natural wonders and the recent devastating fires have highlighted just how important, and fragile, this incredible island is,” Pro Scott said.
“This centre is part of USC’s commitment to increase understanding of its exceptional Butchulla culture, which dates back more than 60,000 years, and address gaps in visitors’ knowledge of the island’s unique geology and ecology which led to its World Heritage listing.”
Professor Scott said the centre also provided a dynamic space for a range of activities and presentations.
“The centre is an important step towards expanding interpretation on K’gari and is designed to complement other current and planned interpretation on the island and wider region,” she said.
SeaLink Fraser Island Group General Manager David Hay said the opening of the centre would be a historic occasion.
“We believe the development of this centre is a significant step in providing high quality interpretation for visitors to K’gari, which will also encourage people to play a part in its protection and conservation,” Mr Hay said.
The centre “draws on research and decades of historical documents, reports and photographs held in USC’s K’gari-Fraser Island Research Archive”.
USC staff have also created the K’gari Fraser Island Guide, a free app providing a “comprehensive online and offline exploration guide for students, researchers and visitors”.