Traditional name restored to world’s largest sand island

Published Wednesday, 07 June, 2023 at 01:30 PM


Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Treaty, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Communities and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Leanne Linard

  • Fraser Island is now officially known as K’gari – the name used by traditional owners for more than 60,000 years.
  • The reinstatement of the name follows extensive consultation with traditional owners, tourism bodies, government agencies and local government.
  • More than 19 hectares of land have also been returned to the traditional owners.

The Premier joined the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation today for an emotional ceremony to formally reinstate the name used by traditional owners for the world’s largest sand island – K’gari (formerly Fraser Island).

K’gari—the white spirit who was sent down from the sky to help make the land and the seas which are home to the Butchulla people—was officially welcomed home today by generations of Butchulla people and guests.

Guests were welcomed on Country with a smoking ceremony, traditional dance and song, as well as a formal plaque unveiling.

The Palaszczuk Government has worked closely with the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation, tourism bodies, government agencies and the Fraser Coast Regional Council over many years to progressively embed the island’s original name.

In 2017, the Fraser Island section of the Great Sandy National Park was renamed K’gari (Fraser Island) and in 2022, the island’s World Heritage Area was renamed K’gari (Fraser Island) World Heritage Area.

To coincide with the restoration of K’gari, more than 19 hectares of land was transferred to the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

This land can’t be bought, sold or mortgaged, and must be used for the benefit of its traditional owners, the Butchulla people.

Quotes attributable to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk:

“K’gari comes from the Butchulla people's creation story of the island, which has been passed down orally for generations.

“I’m proud that today we can officially welcome K’gari home, and reinstate the name used by traditional owners for all these years.

“We will continue to recognise Indigenous languages through place names, in the spirit of truth-telling and reconciliation as we walk the Path to Treaty.

“While steps like this can’t change the wrongs of the past, it goes a long way to building a future where all Queenslanders value, trust, and respect each other.

“This always was and always will be Butchulla Country.”

Quotes attributable to Gayle Minniecon, Chair of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation:

“It was through disrespect to the Butchulla people that her name, K’gari – the home of the Butchulla people - was taken away.

“Thankfully it is now through respect to the Butchulla people that K’gari- her name- has been reclaimed.

“Our oral history, our creation story will now be told and learnt as it should be.

“Our ancestors understood and committed to the importance of caring for K’gari since time immemorial and today we continue this cultural obligation.”

Quotes attributable to member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari:

“As the local member I am proud to have worked closely with the Badtjala (Butchulla) peoples and our community on re-establishing the name, K’gari.

“K’gari is one of the most loved islands across Australia and the world.

“This is a momentous day for everyone connected to this sacred island.”

Quotes attributable to the Resources Minister, Scott Stewart:

“This change completes the picture for the Butchulla people and K’gari, by recognising and honouring their traditions, culture, and continued connection to their land.

“She has always been K’gari to the Butchulla people.

“Now this beautiful area will carry its true name in all aspects: the National Park, World Heritage Area and the official place name.”

Quotes Attributable to Minister for Treaty and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Leeanne Enoch:

“The Butchulla people have long shared K’Gari and their own culture and traditions with people from across the world, and this change recognises their generosity.

“So many people have been enriched by K’Gari’s unique history and their shared experiences with the Butchulla people.

“I want to acknowledge the many generations of Butchulla people who have maintained their language, culture and traditions, which are shared by all who visit K’Gari.

“As Queensland continues on its Path to Treaty, the lands, place names and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will form a much greater part of our shared experience.”

Quotes attributable to Minister of Environment and Science Leanne Linard:

“K’gari has always been K’gari to the Butchulla people, and it is through the tireless efforts of many people, and those before, that we stand in unity and respect for Country and people, to celebrate another step towards reconciliation.

“The Environment Department recognised the name of the island section of the Great Sandy National Park as K’gari in 2017, and UNESCO formally adopted the name for the World Heritage Area in 2021.

“The department has built a strong relationship with the Butchulla People and remain committed to working with them to cooperatively manage the unique values of K’gari now and into the future.”

Further information:

Small businesses who are impacted by the change can access resources through the Small Business Hotline.

In 2022, almost 6,000 public submissions were received with the majority in favour of the name change proposal.

The name change also changes the suburb of Fraser Island to K’gari.

Information on K’gari can be found at K’gari


Media contact: Chris Lees - 0434 859 940