Traditional Owners – Butchulla People
Culture and History
The Island has a rich and ancient indigenous history. The Butchulla People referred to the Island as K’gari which means paradise. Archaeologists believe that Fraser Island supported up to 3000 people who lived on marine animals and terrestrial plants.
Evidence of Butchulla settlement in archaeological sites, midden heaps, ceremonial bora rings, fish traps, scarred trees, campsites and stone implements date back to between 1500 and 2500 years ago. However the Butchulla People are thought to have lived on Fraser Island for more than 5000 years.
There are many sites of social and spiritual significance. It is very important to respect those sites. European settlement had a devastating impact on the indigenous population.
Although a few descendants continue to live on the Fraser Island their cultural heritage and ability to maintain their traditional practices have considerably diminished. Native Title was granted in 2014 which recognised the Island’s indigenous heritage and native owners the Butchulla People.
The Butchulla call the island K’gari or paradise after a creation spirit who was unable to leave the beauty of the area. There are three principles in Butchulla lore:
- What is good for the land comes first
- Do not touch or take anything that does not belong to you
- If you have plenty you must share