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Sunday 11 June 2023

Farewell Fraser Island; hello K'gari

The world's largest sand island has reclaimed its traditional name, with Fraser Island now known as K'gari.

As of this week, the Queensland World-Heritage listed island is known by its original name, as used by the local Butchulla People for more than 10,000 years.

“In our creation stories, our stories handed down by generations, it has always been K'gari and always will be,” said Aunty Gayle Minniecon, chairperson of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation.

The change of name for the 122km-long island was announced by the Queensland Government.

K'gari was Gaining UNESCO World Heritage Area status in 1992.

“K’gari is one of those places that is incredibly well known, not just nationally but internationally," says Dr Rose Barrowcliffe, a post doctoral research fellow and Butchulla woman.

"We have a huge amount of international visitors that come to see K’gari every year. So, what we are doing when we are respecting Indigenous place names, is we are respecting Indigenous culture.

“Australia has the oldest continuously living cultures in the world. It’s the most unique thing about us as a continent and a destination. So, by honouring Indigenous cultures and using place names, we are raising up the culture and saying we are proud of it. And we are showcasing a unique part of our offering to the world.”

Located 300km north of the Queensland capital, Brisbane, K’gari is a popular destination for both domestic and international visitors.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said K’gari was one of Queensland and Australia’s most spectacular places to visit.

“K’gari is the world’s largest sand island and she has ancient stories to tell and breathtaking moments for visitors to enjoy,” she said.

Every year between June and November, a convoy of humpback whales migrating south for the summer pass K'gari.

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