OFFICIALLY renaming Fraser Island as K’gari will help the Butchulla people communicate to their ancestors that their culture remains strong and they continue to care for country.
Chairperson of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) Aunty Gayle Minniecon believes the proposed move to reinstate the island’s traditional name would be all about respect.
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“It means so much to the Butchulla people,” Aunty Gayle said.
K’gari, which means paradise, is the Butchulla story of creation.
The Queensland Government announced yesterday public consultations would be held on the proposal to officially rename the world’s largest island.
The World Heritage Area became K’gari (Fraser Island) last year but the official place name is yet to change.
The consultation period is set to begin on Friday and continue until 3 October 2022.
BAC director Christine Royan said K’gari’s story was the Butchulla people’s dreaming story.
“Having K’gari reinstated [would] mean we are returning our story back to where it belongs – to its home,” she said.
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Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the State Government had actively worked with the Butchulla people to recognise the cultural significance of the island.
“The island has been known as K’gari for thousands of years and I hope it will be formally known as K’gari for many more years to come,” he said.
Hervey Bay MP Adrian Tantari believes the island’s traditional name should become official.
“Our community has acknowledged the name K’gari for quite some time now and I can’t wait for visitors to do the same,” he said.
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The island is one of the region’s main tourist attractions, with people making the trip across the Great Sandy Strait to enjoy a pristine natural environment – including beautiful rainforests and freshwater lakes.
Other popular attractions include being able to spot dingoes (wongari) in their natural environment, camping, hiking, fishing and the Maheno shipwreck – among other things.
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