Paradise is getting its name changed back – After a renaming ceremony on the weekend, Fraser Island is now officially known by its traditional Aboriginal name, K’gari. How good!

 

To the Butchulla people, the world’s largest sand island has always been known as K’gari, meaning ‘paradise’ in the Butchulla language and stemming from the Dreamtime. And now the traditional name has been restored.

The renaming of the island to K’gari, pronounced ‘Gurri’, was celebrated on the weekend with a welcome to Country, smoking ceremony, and dance performance by traditional Butchulla dancers

The change has been welcomed by the World Heritage Committee, QLD State Government, the Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon who attended the ceremony, and even local K’gari businesses, like K’gari Fraser Island Adventures (FKA Drop Bear Adventures) who are slowly making the transition to change their business name to simply be K’gari Adventure and not include Fraser Island.

 

 

The Butchulla people have been advocating to restore the traditional name for a long time, especially given the origins of ‘Fraser Island’. 

The name was given to the island after Eliza Fraser, a Scottish woman, became shipwrecked there and was taken in by the Butchulla people back in 1836. 

However Eliza later claimed that rather than helping her, the Butchulla people had captured her, despite other white people on the same shipwreck disputing her story. 

Eliza’s claims ultimately led to the massacre and dispossession of the island from the Butchulla people – so there’s really no reason to keep the name Fraser around! 

Paradise is infinitely more fitting anyway. Welcome back K’gari! 

 

 

Photos thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland