How was Fraser Island named?

Everyone would have heard of the iconic Fraser Island. It is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions. As well as being the largest sand island in the world, spanning 123 kilometres down and 23 kilometres across. But how did this wonderland get the name, Fraser?

Its Original Name

Before it was ever known as Fraser Island, they called the area K’gari. First forming during the Ice Age, moulding from years of wind, ocean currents, and waves that pushed the sand from the far south-east coast of Australia. The first humans to inhabit the island were the Butchulla (translating to sea people) tribe, a local aboriginal community. The Butchulla community has a long history with the island, estimated to have resided there for over 5,500 years. The name ‘K’gari’ (pronounced ‘gurri’) is a Butchulla word meaning paradise.

Changing it to Fraser

Europeans sighted the sand island in 1770 when Captain Cook saw it from afar. He named the area Indian Head as he saw a group of aboriginal people standing by the headland. However, a European did not step onto the island well until 1836, when Captain James Fraser and his crew landed on shore. Their ship had under gown a fierce storm, crashing to the north of the island on the Great Barrier Reef. The Captain named this section Eliza Reef, after his wife who was accompanying him and his crew. The surviving crew took to the waters in a long boat, surviving a full week in the seas before reaching the northern side of the island. Once ashore the remaining crew faced the local indigenous people, which lead to two different stories. Eliza Fraser, the captain’s wife, stated that the indigenous community murdered her husband, as they captured and spear him. Another survivor stated Fraser’s death was from natural causes and did not involve any of the aboriginals. To this day, the truth is still unknown, but despite this mystery, they named the Island ‘Fraser’s Island’ in tribute to the Captain, later shortened to Fraser Island.

What to do on the Island

The island is teeming with attractions and activities for any kind of traveller. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a relaxing break amongst the natural beauty or a more upbeat adventure, Fraser Island has you covered. Speed down the beach on a 4WD, plunge into the calming waters of Lake McKenzie, or discover the natural wildlife within the lush rainforest.

Try out our 1 Day Fraser Island Tour now!

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