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Fraser Island

Named After Shipwreck Survivor


Fraser Island, Queensland

Fraser Island is a popular Queensland holiday destination north of Brisbane

Copyright 1997 Australian Tourist Commission

Fraser Island is Australia's fourth largest island (after Tasmania, Melville Island and Kangaroo Island), and the largest sand island in the world.

The popular story is that Fraser Island was named after a shipwreck survivor, who was cared for by Aborigines on the island, although another source says it's named after the survivor's husband, the captain of the ship.

If you're holidaying on the Sunshine or Gold Coasts of Queensland, Fraser Island is well situated for a day trip away. It is as well a perfect getaway destination for a longer stay.

Imagine days of solitude and calm along its beaches and lakes and among its towering rainforest trees in a romance with Nature in all her glory.

Imagine an island paradise, and this is one of Australia's finest.

World Heritage site

Fraser Island was listed as a World Heritage site in the early 1990s and joins the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu national parks among Australia's pristine, environmentally protected areas. It is one of some 962 such areas in the world as of December 2012.

Fraser Island is 120 kilometres long and about 15 kilometres wide. Aside from some rocky outcrops, it is formed wholly of sand through the action of wind and waves through thousands of years.

Vegetation and rainforest trees hold together the island's 159,000 hectares but, where only bare sand exists, the land is in constant flux.

The Eliza Fraser story

The Macquarie Dictionary says the island is named after Captain James Fraser who was murdered in 1836 after his ship, the Stirling Castle, ran aground north of the island.

The more commonly told story is that the island is named after the captain's wife, Eliza Fraser, who survived the shipwreck and managed to find her way south.

She was taken in by the island's Aboriginal Butchulla people and cared for until finally rescued two months after the Stirling Castle disaster.

When timber cutters moved into Fraser Island, the Butchulla people were driven out and into missions on the mainland.

Next page: Sand Dunes and Dingoes

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