Queenslanders can have a say on officially renaming the iconic Fraser Island as its Indigenous name, K’gari.
The World Heritage Area became K’gari (Fraser Island) last year, but the official place name for the world’s largest sand island has yet to change.
For Aunty Gayle Minniecon, chair of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation (BAC), the reinstatement of K’gari as the island’s name has been a long time coming. “It means so much to the Butchulla People,” she said. “For us, it’s about respect for our people. It’s important for us to let our ancestors know that our culture is still strong, and we continue to care for our country.”
BAC director Christine Royan said K’gari’s story was the Butchulla people’s Dreaming story. “The story of K’gari is the story of our creation,” she said. “Having K’gari reinstated means we are returning our story to where it belongs – to its home.”
Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the Palaszczuk Government had actively worked with the Butchulla People to recognise the cultural significance of K’gari. “We’ve listened to the Butchulla People who have maintained a strong commitment to reinstating the island’s traditional name,” Mr Stewart said. “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.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford said a return to the island’s traditional name would honour the Butchulla people’s culture and continued connection to Country.
“K’gari forms part of a spiritually significant story for the Butchulla people, one that should be celebrated and embraced by all Queenslanders,” Mr Crawford said. “On the Path to Treaty, recognising Indigenous language through proposed changes to place names like K’gari demonstrates the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to truth-telling and reconciliation.”
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said consultation followed the island’s world heritage area being renamed K’gari (Fraser Island) last year. “K’gari means paradise in the Butchulla language and, as a popular destination for its natural beauty, is a much more fitting name for such an iconic place,” Ms Scanlon said. “The name Fraser Island is culturally inappropriate – it is a tribute to Eliza Fraser, a woman whose narrative directly led to the massacre and dispossession of the Butchulla people.”
Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said renaming the world heritage area was well received by the community and believed 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,” Mr Tantari said.
Mr Stewart said the proposal would open for public consultation from 5 August 2022 until 3 October 2022.
“We will engage with the community, and I encourage all interested people and groups to have their say,” Mr Stewart said.
Minister for Resources, Hon. Scott Stewart, Media Statement