They got rid of us, now it's the dingoes, says elder
FIRST the Butchulla people were forced to leave Fraser Island.
Now it's the dingoes' turn.
Those were the words of Hervey Bay Aboriginal elder Marie Wilkinson after hearing the $375,000 dingo fence at Cathedral Beach Resort campground had been completed.
While Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Sunshine and Fraser Coast regional director Steve Price said the fence would serve to improve tourist safety, Ms Wilkinson said Fraser Island belonged to the dingo population, not to tourists or the State Government.
"It's their country, mate," she said.
"I understand it's all for tourism and the safety of the people, but as far as I'm concerned it's the dingoes' country.
"They got rid of us, now the animals are going.
"They removed my ancestors and now the dingo."
Ms Wilkinson described the fence, which took three months to complete and is 1800m long, as a disgrace.
Cathedral Beach has long been an area on Fraser Island where interaction has occurred between dingoes and people and the goal of building the fence was to encircle the campground and make it almost impossible for dingoes to gain access to campsites.
"Dingoes visit this location and have entered the campground seeking food and damaging visitors' camping gear," Mr Price said.
He said the fence had been built on time and on budget, with minimal inconvenience to the public as the campground remained open while work was carried out.
"Queensland Parks and Wildlife staff from nearby centres also joined in the work, with extra crews coming to Fraser Island from Kenilworth and Maleny," he said.
Cathedral Beach Resort owner Cathy Whitaker said she was pleased the fence fitted in so well with the natural environment.
"People coming to our resort want to experience Fraser Island in all its natural beauty, with the peace of mind to do so in safety," Ms Whitaker said.
"They will appreciate the fact that the new dingo deterrent fence gives them an added layer of protection against dingo interactions," she said.
Many areas of the island have now been fenced.
- The fence at Cathedral Beach took three months to complete
- It is 1800m in length
- The fence was one of the Queensland Government's commitments to improving safety following the independent review of Fraser Island Dingo Management Strategy in 2012