Fraser Island celebrates 25 years of heritage protection
ONE phone call was all it took to ignite John Sinclair's fight to make Fraser Island World Heritage Listed.
Told of the real threat of sand mining and logging, he set about spearheading a campaign to protect the island for generations to come.
Now, Mr Sinclair and traditional owners, the Butchulla people, are celebrating 25 years since the fight was won and the island they know as K'Gari became one of the 19 Australian landmarks to be world heritage listed.
"I grew up in Maryborough and my parents had their honeymoon on Fraser Island so I fell in love with it through my parents," he said.
"I think I have more memories of Fraser Island than anyone else alive."
To mark the milestone, a celebration was held on Wednesday at the island on World Heritage Day which featured traditional dancers and songs from members of the local mob.
Historic wood artefacts including weapons were returned to the island after being kept by a descendent of the Butchulla people.
To add to the celebration, Minister of Environment, Leeanne Enoch and other guests make special announcements which would benefit descendants of the island's traditional owners.
Minister Enoch announced the Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation was successful in their application in the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger program.
This will allow for four new ranger positions for Fraser Island and the surrounding areas to focus on work around weed control and general maintenance on the island.
"This will make a huge difference in terms of being able to continue the cultural heritage work here and the continued maintenance of what we see here on K'Gari and also the mainland," she said.
"..the story of this island is thousands of generations deep.
"The butchulla people have that connection that is beyond our history books so to have them connected this land, to tell and keep the story here for all people, nor just those who live here or visit again, but the whole world is very special."
Luke Barrowcliffe of the Aboriginal Butchulla Corporation said to be granted four new positions was an aspiration they'd had for since forming in October 2014. "It's been our aspiration to get people living and working back on country and this is just the start of this happening for us," he said.
"It's been a long road but we're really pleased we have permanent positions on the island and we're looking forward to more coming online now."
Television executive Cherrie Bottger also announce her company would partner with the Department of Environment and Science, the Butchulla people and Queensland Parks and Wildlife to produce a one hour nationally broadcast documentary on K'Gari to be released at the end of 2018.
"It'll tell you stories, your story of the dream-time," she said.
"The creation of ancient sand dunes, of magnificent fresh water lakes and of towering rainforests that grow on sand."