Pro boxer shapes up for fight
MACKIE Burns, the Fraser Coast pro bantam-weight boxer, who once ranked 13th in the world, is now shaping up for the fight of his life – the renaming of Fraser Island.
“When I go to other people's countries I don't try to change their names. Why should English aristocrats change my Country, which we called k'gari for thousands of years, to Fraser Island?
“I will fight this all the way.”
Mackie asks why we are calling one of the planet's most beautiful sand islands after a woman who lied to the world, Eliza Fraser.
“This is the greatest insult to the Butchulla nation,” the 61-year-old elder said yesterday.
Eliza Fraser lived with the Butchulla in 1836 after her husband's ship was wrecked and he died.
“My ancestors released her. She would never have got off the island if they hadn't done that. She then lied to the world about how she had been ill-treated. This was nonsense.”
Mr Burns, co-chair of the island's indigenous advisory committee, says he first raised the issue of renaming Fraser Island k'gari (pronounced gurri) two years ago at a meeting of the indigenous, community and scientific advisory committees.
“Everyone there agreed with me.
“Now I will be making a formal application to the State Government to have the name changed.
“And I also want to see Indian Head renamed Yindinji Head. Captain Cook named it Indian Head because he saw my ancestors standing on the cliff top.
“Yindinji is our Dreamtime rainbow serpent, who was sent with Princess k'gari down to earth by Biral in the heavens, specifically to create the island.”
John Sinclair, project officer for the island's defender organisation, is right behind Mr Burns' fight.
“I've been aware of this push since 1976. It's not something that's come out of the woodwork as a thought bubble. I first became aware of their passion when I met Ike Owen, Mackie's great-uncle. He said how stupid were the then names for the island's creeks and he wanted indigenous names reinstated. We achieved that. We'll now be trying the same way for renaming Fraser.”
Mr Sinclair said Ayers Rock, St Petersburg, Beijing, Bombay, Madras and Ceylon had all had name changes, so why not Fraser?