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World Heritage-Listed Island K'gari Is Officially Reclaiming Its Original Indigenous Name

The world's largest sand island will no longer be known as Fraser Island.
By Sarah Ward
September 21, 2021
By Sarah Ward
September 21, 2021

It's one of southeast Queensland's two spots on the World Heritage List, it's the world's largest sand island and it's a place that every Brisbanite — and every Australian — should visit at least once. It's also a location that's been known by several names, but only one will stick moving forward: K'gari, which is what the original Butchulla people called the island.

The Queensland Government has announced that the 122-kilometre coastal locale that's been known as Fraser Island will revert to its original Indigenous name, and that the moniker will apply across the entire island — covering the World Heritage Area within Great Sandy National Park which is centred on Fraser Island, as well as the surrounding waters and parts of the nearby mainland. Back in 2017, the island's national park was renamed the K'gari (Fraser Island) section of the Great Sandy National Park; however, this new move clearly goes a step further.

"The Butchulla people have been campaigning for years to change the name," said Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson Jade Gould in a statement.

"The name Fraser Island is a tribute to Eliza Fraser — a woman whose narrative directly lead to the massacre and dispossession of the Butchulla people," Gould continued. "A word meaning paradise in Butchulla language is a much more fitting name for such an iconic place."

The World Heritage Committee officially adopted the name change at its recent 44th session. In Queensland, the government will now work through the formal steps required to enact the change, in conjunction with the Butchulla people, stakeholders and the community.

Tourism and Events Queensland

K'gari isn't just the biggest sand island in the world; it's made up of 184,000 hectares of the stuff, in 72 colours and mostly in the form of magnificent dunes, much of which are covered in rainforest. It's also home to more than 100 freshwater lakes, including the crystal-clear waters of Boorangoora (Lake McKenzie), a perched lake made up of rainwater and soft silica sand.

For more information about K'gari's change of name, head to the Queensland Government website.

Top image: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Published on September 21, 2021 by Sarah Ward
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