Australia has officially dropped the colonial name given to one of its most iconic islands.
Fraser Island in Queensland has officially been renamed K’gari - the local Butchulla Peoples’ traditional name for the island.
The name of the island and its surrounding locality were officially reclaimed in a ceremony attended by the Butchulla traditional owners and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
“K’gari comes from the Butchulla people’s creation story of the island, which has been passed down orally for generations,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I’m proud that today we can officially welcome K’gari home, and reinstate the name used by traditional owners for all these years.”
A beautiful place.
A traditional welcome.
And a moving ceremony.
Honoured to join the Butchulla people to formally reinstate the name they’ve always used for this island.
Because it always was – and it always will be. pic.twitter.com/WlSUJb8g0h
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) June 7, 2023
The island is located within the Great Sandy National Park off Queensland’s east coast.
The Butchulla people have been campaigning for the name to be changed for decades – arguing that it was inappropriate due to its tribute to Scottish woman Eliza Fraser, whose stories led to the massacre and dispossession of traditional owners.
According to local folklore, K’gari is the name of the white spirit that was sent down from the sky by the god Beeral, to help his messenger Yindingie make the land and seas that are home to the Butchulla People.
The story has been passed down orally for generations amongst the Butchulla People.
The UNESCO World Heritage site is the largest sand island in the world – with more than half a million people visiting each year.
K’gari is the biggest island in Queensland and is the sixth biggest in Australia spanning 123km in length and 22km at its widest point, with the highest sand dune reaching 240 metres.