The area of national park which takes up most of Queensland’s Fraser Island has been re-named K’gari (pronounced ‘gurri’) in honour of the local Butchulla creation story.
The Butchulla were granted native title over Fraser Island in 2014 and have incorporated their three laws into new signs which advertise the new name at the island’s three barge landings.
The rest of the the Great Sandy National Park on the mainland south of the island, will not have a name change.
Elder and Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation director Ms Bird emphasises the importance of this first step in the name change and the new signage:
“It’s important because everyone, especially the Butchulla people, when they go over there and they step onto K’gari, Fraser Island, and see our signs, they will know that this is our country.”
In the Butchulla people’s creation story, K’gari was a spirit princess who helped to create what is now known as Hervey Bay. Believing that land to be the most beautiful place ever created, K’gari asked to stay there and was transformed into the island, where she remains to this day.
Ms Bird continues her 30 year campaign to re-name the island as a whole. Although the Government designated K’gari as an ‘alternative name’ in 2011, many of the area’s traditional landowners would like to see the name given equal status with Fraser island, as has happened at Uluru/Ayer’s Rock.