Funded through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Heritage Program, Fauna and Flora International along with South Pacific Strategic Solutions are currently assisting the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Indigenous Advisory Committee with a 1-year pilot project to train Butchulla community members and Aboriginal rangers to be able to recognise, record and assess cultural heritage resources on K’Gari (Fraser Island).
The project aims to work towards improved management of cultural heritage sites (in conjunction with the land managers, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) and improved interpretation of cultural heritage sites to enhance eco-Tourism and Indigenous Tourism opportunities in the future.
Commencing in April 2013, this exciting project is now entering the final phase of delivery with eight sites initially assessed. Five of these: Lake Wabby, Corroboree Beach, Lake Bowarrady, Bogimbah Mission and Pitt Island were selected for full assessment (in conjunction with the QPWS Aboriginal Rangers) – with the site reports and recommendations to be presented to the project’s Steering Committee in June.
Bogimbah Mission will be the last of the sites to be fully assessed, with plans to bring Ground Penetrating Radar on-site (in conjunction with Dr Peter Davies with the University of the Sunshine Coast) in order to locate the grave sites of over 70 Butchulla people that perished at the Mission while it was in operation (between 1897 and 1904).
Finally, the project team will be assisting with two workshops on Fraser Island – the first scheduled for Wednesday 28 May for QPWS staff, and the second in June for the Butchulla community and invited Youth Ambassadors. The team hope that the project will lead into a second project that will build on the recommendations of the project to provide protection and interpretative signage at key cultural heritage sites in the future.
Sue Sargent, Fauna & Flora International Australia