It’s hoped Fraser Island will follow the lead of Uluru and only be known by it’s Indigenous name, as the Queensland government flags an official name change.
The proposal will take a step forward this week as two months of public consultation begin, Resources Minister Scott Stewart said on Wednesday.
He hopes the process will lead to the Indigenous name of K’gari entering the common vernacular in the same way Uluru has replaced Ayers Rock.
“No one calls it Ayers Rock any more, they call it Uluru, and it’s about respecting our First Nations people, and about respecting the connection they have with this land,” Mr Stewart said.
“(For) 60,000 years they’ve been calling it K’gari, I think it’s about time we started to do exactly the same.”
The reinstatement of K’gari as the island’s name has been a long time coming, chair of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation Aunty Gayle Minniecon said.
“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.”
The consultation follows the island’s world heritage area being renamed K’gari last year, Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said
“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.”
K’gari was originally known by Europeans as Great Sandy Island before it was changed to Fraser Island after Scotswoman Eliza Fraser was shipwrecked there in 1836.
While the World Heritage Area became K’gari last year, the official place name for the world’s largest sand island had yet to change.
(Australian Associated Press)