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Celebrating 25 Years of Fraser Island World Heritage Area

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Butchulla Celebration Day at Central Station

On the 28 of October, 2017, a Butchulla Celebration Day was held at Central Station, K’gari to mark the third anniversary of the Butchulla Peoples’ Native Title Consent Determination on 24 October, 2014.

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Time, Tide and Tourism Conference

Never underestimate the power of sharing knowledge – especially when it comes to a World Heritage property.

One hundred people attended the 7th Biennial (Time, Tide and Tourism) Conference at the University of the Sunshine Coast Sippy Downs in August.  Like the previous six conferences there was much informal interaction between the attendees, all of whom have a strong interest in K’gari.  While some of the issues discussed such as managing K’gari’s invasive species are perennial topics, it was helpful for the audience to gain an insight into the progress being made and the on-going effort required.  (more…)

NAIDOC Celebrated K’Gari Style

Eurong (place of rain) was the gathering place for recent NAIDOC celebrations hosted by QPWS Butchulla rangers who proudly organised an informative session and displayed an array of traditional hunting tools, beautifully painted implements, artefacts and local bush tucker for participants to enjoy. (more…)

Fraser Island Pandanus Rescue

Joel Fostin has launched Fraser Island’s first ever crowd-sourcing campaign. Can you help?

Fraser Island (K’Gari) has suffered catastrophic losses. Up to 50% of the east coast’s Pandanus have perished (approximately 50,000 plants).  A further 20% are likely perish without intervention within the next two months. Preserving the remaining Pandanus is crucial for successful natural regeneration, and vital for the many species of wildlife that rely on them for food and habitat.  The Pandanus on Fraser Island (K’Gari) need help right now.   (more…)

Working with the Mob

Participants of the Working with the Mob training program held in June 2016

Participants of the Working with the Mob training program held in June 2016

Over two days in June, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) staff and representatives of the Butchulla Traditional Owners, came together on K’gari to participate in the training program Working with the Mob.

The QPWS Partnerships Team developed the Working with the Mob training program to support its commitment to enhancing cultural competency within the agency.   The time together was a great opportunity for QPWS employees to engage with the Butchulla people through an appreciation of history, tradition, culture and respect.

The training offered opportunities to break into informal groups led by Butchulla representatives. These sessions provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about the local Traditional Owners’ protocols, beliefs and values. Other training sessions included topics such as native title, indigenous cultural heritage and developing good working relationships.

Ross Belcher, Principal Ranger, Fraser Coast Area, QPWS shared some of his reflections after the training program:

“It was a pleasure to take part in this initiative on K’gari, which has made a major contribution to maintaining and building on the relationship between the Butchulla Traditional Owners and QPWS.  My impression is that the Butchulla people have a strong desire to engage with the current land managers (QPWS staff) to pass on traditional values, stories and aspirations and to build a strong and respectful working relationship. The QPWS staff demonstrate a strong desire to understand the Butchulla story and to positively engage with and contribute to our cooperative relationship.  We certainly have people with feet in both camps, Butchulla and other indigenous people employed by QPWS are making an outstanding contribution to K’gari, hopefully we can build the numbers up in good time.  Good progress has been made in our collaboration in the management of K’gari, and I hope that in future the Butchulla people will be taking the lead in developing and coordinating more opportunities for sharing of stories and aspirations, and we will be working as one mob protecting the natural and cultural values of K’gari and surrounding Butchulla land and sea.  Looking forward to the next meeting ”

Contributed by Moyra McRae, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Maryborough

Fraser Island WHA Indigenous Advisory Committee FINALIST in National Landcare Awards!

Vote now for the People's Choice Awards

Vote now for the People’s Choice Awards

The Recognising & Recording K’Gari’s (Fraser Island) Cultural Heritage project was initiated by the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Indigenous Advisory Committee in 2012 and was delivered by the Butchulla people and Aboriginal Rangers of Fraser Island.

Through strong partnerships, the project provided training to the Butchulla community, leading to additional cultural heritage sites being located including the highly significant Bogimbah Mission grave sites on this World Heritage listed property. The project has established closer ties between the Aboriginal Ranger team and Butchulla elders and broader engagement and stewardship by the Butchulla community with forums, field trips and newsletters.

Judging is currently underway with the announcements to be made at the National Landcare Conference and Gala Awards being held in Melbourne in September.  You can also vote for the Indigenous Advisory Committee in the People’s Choice Awards, just click on the icon.

Note: Although you are able to vote in every category, you don’t have to, so just look for the group in the Indigenous Land Corporation Indigenous Landcare Category.

Prestigious Win for Indigenous Advisory Committee

In September, the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Indigenous Advisory Committee (FIWHA-IAC) was awarded the prestigious Queensland Landcare Award for Indigenous Land Management for their Recognising & Recording K’Gari’s (Fraser Island) Cultural Heritage project.

Butchulla elder Lillian Burke is pictured on the RHS of the photo at the Awards ceremony held in Caloundra in September

Butchulla elder Lillian Burke is pictured on the RHS of the photo at the Awards ceremony held in Caloundra in September

Butchulla elder Lillian Burke is pictured on the RHS of the photo at the Awards ceremony held in Caloundra in September

The project was initiated by the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Indigenous Advisory Committee in 2012 and was delivered by the Butchulla people and Aboriginal Rangers of Fraser Island in conjunction with Fauna & Flora International Australia.

Through strong partnerships, the project provided training to the Butchulla community, leading to additional cultural heritage sites being located, including the highly significant Bogimbah Mission gravesites on this World Heritage listed property. Following their training, the Aboriginal Rangers delivered their own training to non-Indigenous Fraser Island Parks Rangers. The project has established closer ties between the Aboriginal Ranger team and Butchulla elders, and broader engagement and stewardship by the Butchulla community with forums, field trips and newsletters.

A highlight of the project was a two-day Youth Forum held on K’Gari with Butchulla elders, with several of the participants now aspiring to be archaeologists as well as to take an active role in the protection of cultural heritage in the future.

Butchulla elder, Indigenous Advisory Committee (and project Steering Committee) member, Lillian Burke was at the awards ceremony (attended by the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk) to accept the award on behalf of the project team and participants. The group automatically qualify for the National Landcare Awards to be held in Canberra in 2016.

FINIA send a huge vote of congratulations to all concerned and wish the Committee good luck for next year’s Awards.

Managing Values other than Outstanding Universal Value on Fraser Island World Heritage Area

Adapted from Ross 2014 – K’gari Values

Fraser Island World Heritage Area is recognised for geological and geomorphic values of island formation and for biological processes relating to rainforest succession on high dunes.  World Heritage Area listing did not extend to Aboriginal heritage significance, despite the acknowledged tangible and intangible cultural values of Fraser Island (known to Butchulla Traditional Owners as K’gari) in the form of campsites, scarred trees, shell middens, story places and the Indigenous knowledge of landscape and species management.  Nevertheless, management of K’gari can and does take Butchulla knowledge into account.

The Fraser Island World Heritage Area managers are formally advised by three Advisory Committees: the Fraser Island World Heritage Area Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC). These committees help ensure that a range of values, including Aboriginal heritage values, are reviewed, and where deemed appropriate, taken into account by managers. For example, in 2014, Butchulla concerns regarding the proposed management of Takky Wooroo (Indian Head) were aired at a combined Advisory Committee meeting, and managers responded by agreeing to seek further information from Butchulla knowledge holders before proceeding with planning proposals.

The input of Butchulla knowledge holders is contributing to the management of Takky Wooroo (Indian Head)

The input of Butchulla knowledge holders is contributing to the management of Takky Wooroo (Indian Head)

The three Advisory Committees thus have an opportunity to ensure that the full range of values of K’gari are considered for incorporation into management planning for this World Heritage place, despite the formal limitations of listing. It is imperative that the Advisory Committees are continued into the future, with appropriate levels of government funding and support.

Anne Ross


 

Anne Ross’s full article, ‘Managing Values Other than Outstanding Universal Value—A case study from K’gari (Fraser Island World Heritage Area), Queensland, Australia’, originally published in Historic Environment, 26(2), 2014, can be found here: Ross 2014 – K’gari Values (pdf)

FINIA Congratulates the Butchulla People

The Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance congratulates the Butchulla People on the Federal Court’s formal recognition of their native title rights and interests over 164,958 hectares of land and waters of Fraser Island.

Friday 24th October was an emotional experience for the 450 Butchulla People gathered at the Federal Court’s temporary ‘courtroom’ on the beach as Justice Berna Collier officially recognised the Butchulla people as the island’s native title holders. (more…)