The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited K’gari on 22 October 2018 to formally unveil a plaque dedicating the forests of K’gari to the Queens Commonwealth Canopy.
This program recognises and aims to preserve significant forested areas found in Commonwealth nations, with K’gari and Bulburin National Park being the first two sites recognised within Australia. Prince Harry was welcomed to the island by Butchulla descendants during a smoking ceremony at Pile Valley before giving a speech to the gathered crowd stressing the importance of preserving World Heritage sites.
During his visit, Prince Harry visited the crystal clear waters of Boorangoora (Lake McKenzie) where he spent some time learning about its significance to the Butchulla people from Aunty Nai Nai Bird and Aaron Henderson. The Duchess then joined the Prince for a walk along the Kingfisher Jetty where they met and spoke to many of the large crowd that had gathered.
QPWS staff worked tirelessly over a number of weeks leading up to the visit, to present K’gari in the best possible light and ensure that the Duke and Duchess had an enjoyable visit to this unique island. Perhaps the greatest outcome of the Royal visit was that the Butchulla culture was showcased on an international stage. The world now knows that K’gari is indeed ‘Butchulla country’.
Story contributed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service