On a sunny morning I decided to take my boat out to explore the ocean around Fraser Island. My father told me the island’s name changed from Fraser Island
back to K’gari, the name used by its traditional owners who were the Butchulla
people which means the ‘Sea People.’
I jumped into my boat and started to
sail off. I could see the amazing ocean, it was like a dream. As I kept sailing, I could see something shining below the shallow water’s surface as I got closer to the island. It was a large colourful rock. The colours were bright, earthly, and so capturing. I reached down into the cold water to grab it and as I got closer I could see Aboriginal artwork on it. Could this be the rock of the Sea People?
When I turned the rock over, there was a small picture map painted. As I closely studied it, I could see that it was Fraser Island with a drawing of a native tree. I decided to secure my boat to explore and follow this map drawn by the Sea People.
I secured my boat and began my journey; the map showed the beach with a walking trail leading deep into the island’s land. I could see a freshwater creek and walked along it, I hoped it would lead me to the native tree.
I stopped to think, why did the Butchulla people draw this map? Was this rock meant to be found? As I walked I thought of how much Indigenous people have taught us. We would not be walking on this beautiful island, we would not know how to hunt for fish and the importance of our oceans and surrounding land.
As I kept walking, I could see in the distance this huge lush green tree, the trunk was so thick and a deep brown colour, it looked exactly like the one painted on the rock but so much bigger. As I approached the tree, it took my breath away; I just stood there feeling its energy, hearing and seeing the leaves blow in the
wind and the strong smell of the green leaves and bark. It was at that moment I
thought this tree was supposed to be found.
The tree connects us with the Butchulla People, we walk upon the same land they once walked, looking at the same tree that once gave them life. This tree gave them shade, gave them warmth, helped them not to ever get lost and gave them shelter. This tree still gives us the same, as I sit under its big leafy branches giving me the same shade it once gave the Butchulla people, uniting us as one. It is so important for us to continue to protect what the Butchulla
people once protected. This rock was meant to be found and this story shared.
I have always known that trees give life, they stand tall and strong with other trees and nature. My story is about standing strong and tall together with Indigenous peoples, united as one. I wrote this story to thank them for this land they discovered and for teaching us about all the trees on our land. I thank them for their artwork, for us to learn from and see forever.
Author: Jade Jackson