Fraser Island History
The history of Queensland's Fraser Island

Tourists from all over the world relish in Fraser Island’s natural beauty and history that contributed towards the island’s Heritage-Listed status.

Considered as one of the most beautiful places on earth, Fraser Island is also an excellent tourist destination because of its multiple attractions. Indeed, from whale watching to spotting rare bird species, tourists will never run out of anything to do on this sun-kissed stretch of land.

Shipwreck on Fraser Island

An ideal place for a family weekend break or a romantic camping trip under the stars, Fraser Island is perfect for anyone who wants to relax and lose themselves in the midst of nature. Fraser Island is also known for its extensive number of lakes, including the largest one in Australia.

As rich as Fraser Island is in terms of sights and attractions, it additionally offers a lot in terms of history.

Aboriginal History of Fraser Island

Fraser Island history is centered on its aboriginal population. Indeed, the Butchulla people were among the first indigenous tribes on the island.

According to historians, the Butchulla people had around six clans that lived on Fraser Island, Burrum Heads, Bauple Moutain, Tin Can Bay as well as Double Island Point.

Back at that time, Fraser Island was called “K’gari” by the indigenous people, a name that signified paradise in their language.

According to Fraser Island history books, the island was inhabited by the Butchulla people for over 5000 years.

Captain James Fraser

According to Fraser Island historical documents, the island gained its name after Captain James Fraser and his wife were beached while escaping a sinking ship in a lifeboat back in 1836.

Eliza Fraser gave birth while in the lifeboat, but their baby did not survive.

While Captain Fraser eventually died as well, his wife managed to integrate the indigenous society and survived for six weeks among them until she was eventually rescued.

Fraser Island was also inhabited by around 3000 Aboriginal Australians. In 1840, European settlers landed on the island, introducing their weapons and diseases and general culture. The arrival of the new settlers also brought a severe lack of food to the aboriginal people of Fraser Island.

While the natives and European settlers initially co-existed in harmony, the colonisers had a detrimental effect on the aboriginal people.

Consequently, the aboriginal population gradually dwindled down to 300 people in 1890.

Most of these remaining aboriginals belonged to the Badtjala tribe and eventually, they decided to leave Fraser Island for Durundur and Yarrabah.

Sand Mining

Because of its extensive geological wealth, sand mining remains an integral part of Fraser Island History.

Fraser Island is actually abundant in deposits of monazite, zircon, ilmenite and rutile, leading to the approval of sand leases. However, to protect the island’s natural beauty and resources, the Fraser Island Defense Organization contested the approval of additional leases in court.

This was one of the most memorable moments in Australia’s conservation movement.

According to Fraser Island historical documents, may of these rehabilitated sand mining areas are used for conservation, forestry, tourism as well as recreational activities.

Map of Fraser Island

Explore more with our Fraser Island map and find your way around Australia’s world famous sand island. Zoom in on the map to discover more.

Facts + Weather

How big is Fraser Island? How was Fraser Island made? Where is Fraser Island? How did Fraser Island get it’s name? This special iconic place invokes so many questions – see our Fraser Island Facts page to get all the answers.

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About 'Fraser Island Australia'

Fraser Island Australia is a 'Web Magazine' website that is dedicated to all things related to Queensland's iconic great sandy island. We are passionate about Australia's great natural wonder, its vast beaches and lakes, its incredible vistas, its natural beauty and the unforgettable experiences that are waiting for all who visit. Our aim is to discuss Fraser Island, its history, its environment, its wildlife and its spectacular destinations. We hope that this website will inspire all who visit, just as much as Fraser Island has inspired us.

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