Fraser Island   History
                                            A  BRIEF  HISTORY - Fraser Island




L' Endeavour (1770)

   Was first called K’gari (or paradise) by its inhabitants, before being discovered  by Capitain James Cook on the 29th May 1770 He skirted Fraser Island’s Eastern Shore in 1770 and supposed it to be a long headland. Cook named Indian Head (after the number of aborigines assembled on this huge rock formation), Sandy Cape Breaksea Spit.
On the night of 22nd May 1836, the ship " Stirling Castle " struck a coral reef hundreds of kilometres north of Fraser Island. On board were eighteen people including Capitain James Fraser and his wifs Eliza. The crew launched a long boat, towing behind them Capitain Fraser and his wife in a separate vessel, which was eventually cut loose by desperate rowers in an attempt to hasten the boat’s progress. Landing in the vicinity of Waddy Point, the crew abandoned their vessel in search of drinking water and forced to live a native existence, suffering extreme hardship which they were forced to endure for several weeks.
An Aborigine speared Capitain Fraser when he was unable to carry wood due to his health. The Capitain never recovered from his wound and died eight or nine days later. Another account of Capitain Fraser’s death indicated that he perished from starvation. Eliza Fraser did survive and returned to England in 1837.
Her ability to tell a good yam became very profitable and the much sensationalised account of her ordeal was sold in bookstores all over London. The ordeals of Capitain Fraser and his wife Eliza became legendary and the Island, the world’ largest Island sand mass, was renamed " Fraser Island ".
 


THE BUTCHULLA (BATJALA) PEOPLE
The original inhabitants of Fraser Island (or K’gari) and the nearby mainland were the Butchulla people.
A small droup were permanent residents on the Island. During the Winter, Aboriginal people would flock to Fraser Isdland to feast on the abundance of food supplied by the Ocean.
The Butchulla people would travel to and from the Mainland by canoes made of a long single sheet of bark sealed at each end with bees was. The canoes were also used for fishing and hunting dugong and turtles. A fire would be lit in the canoes on bed of sand or seaweed, and fish would be cooked immediately upon being caught. For shelter, the Butchulla people cut strips of bark about 2,3 metres long into a shield shape and from them formed a roof, In Winter this was warmed with possum skins and a fire at the entrance. Sticks werw used to harvest a range of wild yams and bees was.
Bees played an important part in the Butchulla peoples culture, partly for their was, but also for their honey, being their main source sweetness.
Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea) provided a valuable food source for the Butchulla people, using the base of the leaves as a type of cabbage.
The leaves were eaten either raw or cooked, and the fruit roasted.
Pandanus leaves were used to make baskets and poisonous fruits were palced in a dilly bay and soaked in running water to wash out any poisons.
A man could not marry a woman of his own clan and children belonged to the clan the mother.
Cannibalism was practiced, only from those who died in combat or at an early age.
No humans were deliberately killed for food.
The bones of the dead and hung in a dilly bag in the hollow of a tree, known as a burial tree.