Fraser Island renamed K’gari

Fraser Island renamed K’gari

Fraser Island's national park renamed K'gari, meaning paradise

Posted on 24.04.2017

The national park that spans almost all of Queensland’s Fraser Island has been renamed “K’gari”, a partial victory for traditional owners who are campaigning to rename the whole island.

K’gari, pronounced “gurri” and meaning paradise, is what the Butchulla people have always called the island, derived from its Dreamtime creation story.

Three signs with the new name will be installed at the heritage-listed island’s three barge landings, where they can be seen by some 800,000 visitors annually.

“It’s important because everyone, especially the Butchulla people, when they go over there and they step onto K’gari, Fraser Island, and see our signs, they will know that this is our country,” said elder and Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation director Ms Bird.

“It’s a wonderful feeling.”

The name has been changed from the Great Sandy National Park, which is being kept for the southern section of the wilderness area, located on the mainland.

Ms Bird has been campaigning for nearly three decades to change the island’s name.

In 2011 the Government bestowed K’gari as the “alternative” name.

However, the corporation wants equal prominence, akin to the dual name Uluru/Ayers Rock, granted in 2002.

“We’re not asking for anything that does not belong to us,” Ms Bird said.

“But not only us, all the past old people that fought and went through that suffering of being taken off K’gari, our homeland.”

The Butchulla people were granted Native Title rights in 2014.

Corporation secretary Christine Royan said that should come with the recognition they deserved

“It will be called K’gari one day,” she said, referring to the island in its entirety.

K’gari is the creation story of the island for the Butchulla people.

She was a spirit princess who helped create the island and then fell in love with it, lying down there for eternity.

ABC News




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