The 124 km long Fraser Island, which belongs to the Australian state of Queensland, is the largest sand island in the world with an area of 1840 km². The narrow island is about 190 km north of Brisbane. Their dunes tower up to 230 m high. Fraser Island is covered with dense rainforest.
Fraser Island: Facts
|Official title:||Fraser Island|
|Natural monument:||largest sand island in the world (123 km long, 5 to 25 km wide), highest dune 230 m; over 100 freshwater lakes such as Lake Boomanjin, including some that are up to 300,000 years old|
|Continent:||Australia / Oceania; See topmbadirectory|
|Location:||off the Australian coast, north of Brisbane, southeast of Bundaberg|
|Meaning:||Sand deposits as a “record” of climate change over the past 700,000 years; the world’s only rainforest on sand dunes|
|Flora and fauna:||Kauri spruces, araucarias, cycads, “Satinay” and “Piccabeen Palmes”, mangroves and various types of eucalyptus, among others. with Eucalyptus pilularis; over 350 species of birds, including Parakeet, here resting Mongolian plover and Australian goshawk; Mammals like the dingo and reptiles like the Fraser Island Skink|
Fraser Island: History
|40,000-30,000 BC Chr.||first settlement by Aborigines (Australian natives)|
|1802||Visit from explorer Matthew Flinders|
|1836||Sinking of the “Stirling Castle” in front of the island; later named after Eliza Fraser, the captain’s wife|
|1863||Start of logging|
|1870-73||first mission station for the indigenous people|
|1908||Establishment of a state forest|
|1935||Sink of the »Maheno« north of Happy Valley|
|1971-76||Mineral sand mining|
|since 1971||Northern part of the island Great Sandy National Park (749 km²)|
|1991||End of logging|
Grain of sand after grain of sand
For thousands of years the island of countless grains of sand was called “K’gari”, “Paradise” in the language of the Australian aborigines who once lived here. Except for whole heaps of shells and “peeled”, scarred trees, the bark of which was used as material for making simple canoes, the natives left no visible traces for posterity. What remained is the myth about the “island of the happy”: a long time ago the god Beiral ruled the sky and created people. But Beiral had not yet chosen a place for his new creatures to live in. So he sent Yendingie to shape the raging sea and earth. The beautiful K’gari helped Yendingie perfect the earth. Little by little they created raging rivers, towering mountain ranges and the shores of the sea. At last their work was finished, and they had found a place on earth for the picturesque Hervey Bay. Completely absorbed by the sight of this bay, K’gari wanted to stay forever in this most beautiful place on earth. All her pleading and begging did not help, she was supposed to return to the realm of Beiral with Yendingie. But K’gari pleaded and pleaded incessantly, and finally Yendingie let herself be softened and turned K’gari into a beautiful sand island. To prevent her from becoming gloomy with loneliness, he gave her fragrant flowers, giant evergreen trees and crystal clear lakes.
Long shadows cast over this “paradise” with the arrival of the first Europeans. William Pettigrew, a sawmill owner from Brisbane, aroused the unrestrained greed of those who wanted to exploit natural resources in the second half of the 19th century. While large stretches of land in Australia were being cleared to create pastureland and settlement areas, suitable timber was felled on Fraser Island for shipbuilding and the construction of the Suez Canal. In the eighties of the 20th century, the sound of chainsaws and chainsaws was an alien, but not to be ignored pitch in the polyphonic singing of the rain and eucalyptus forest – 24,000 cubic meters of precious wood were believed to be felled per year.
Not only the fine woods from Fraser Island, but also its “Treasures of the Sand” were coveted. While uranium, iron ore and coal were mined on the rest of the continent, surface sands were mined on K’gari for several years because they contained minerals such as rutile, monazite sand, zirconium and titanium iron. Dunes, which took millennia to take shape, were irretrievably destroyed. In the greed for valuable materials, the protection of this landscape was completely out of focus, the economically profitable mineral sand mining was given priority: The extraction of zirconium meant having cladding material for nuclear fuel in reactors available; Rutile and titanium iron, on the other hand, were in great demand because they were used in the manufacture of jet engines and rockets.
Since the chainsaws fell silent and the now commercially uninteresting mineral sand mining was discontinued, the island has endured the growing rush of tourists who thoughtlessly transform the beaches on the east coast into a rally track for off-road vehicles. All-terrain minibuses ceaselessly traverse the sandy double lane between the west and east coast to take visitors to the dunes at Lake Wabby, but above all to the colorful sand formations of “The Cathedral”. Only in the evening, when the ferry connections to the mainland are suspended, is the island left to itself again. Then the footprints on the ridges of the dune fields blow away, the red-yellow cliffs of the »Pinnacles« stand in the gentle wind, colorful noise pittas appear near the Wanggoolba Creek.