• Environment minister Meaghan Scanlon (L) with members of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation Sunday. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
The Butchulla word for paradise, K'gari, will be restored as the official name of Fraser Island after approval from the World Heritage Committee.
Dan Butler

20 Sep 2021 - 11:14 AM  UPDATED 20 Sep 2021 - 11:17 AM

Butchulla Traditional Owners have welcomed the approval of their application to restore the traditional name of Fraser Island. 

K'gari, meaning paradise, has already been reinstated as the title of the World Heritage Area which straddles the island and the mainland, comprised of woodlands, rainforest and pristine beaches. 

Now, the entire island will be known by its original name. 

Veronica Bird is the General Manager of the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation. She said the news was momentous. 

"We're absolutely ecstatic," she told NITV News. 

A ceremony was held Sunday to mark the occasion, with an official celebration set for October 24, the 7th anniversary of the Butchulla people's successful application for native title. 

The return of the traditional name is the culmination of a drawn-out fight on the part of Traditional Owners. 

"(This has been) a long-time call from Butchulla Elders, many of whom were present yesterday," said Ms Bird. 

"Some of them, unfortunately, did not to see this come to fruition like so many of our battles, because it's such a long journey."

Having received approval at a state and federal level for the name change, the final determination came from the United Nations International World Heritage Committee. 

Queensland environment minister Meaghan Scanlon said the necessary steps are now underway to ratify the name change. 

Ms Bird said the process was achieved with significant support from local stakeholders. 

"Reconciliation sometimes can be a shallow gesture. But I think when you have successes that are achieved not only through the voice of our Elders, (but also) with the support from our non-Indigenous community and our stakeholders, is a wonderful step forward."

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