Fraser Island (K’gari) is a part of the Great Sandy National Park. It is managed by the Queensland Government and most of the island is protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is also a managed as a recreation area under the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006.
World Heritage Convention
Under the World Heritage Convention (adopted by General Assembly of UNESCO in 1972) World Heritage Areas are places that have cultural or natural values of such importance that they are recognised as sites of heritage for current and future generations around the world.
The World Heritage Convention promotes cooperation among nations, in order to identify and protect these World Heritage. Australia was one of the first countries to ratify the convention in 1974. As of 2011, there are 19 Australian properties on the World Heritage List.
Fraser Island World Heritage Area
Fraser Island is a giant sandmass 123 km long and 25 km at its widest point, the world’s largest sand island. Fraser Island was given World Heritage status in 1992 because it satisfied the following three criteria:
- Superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.
- Outstanding examples which represent major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.
- Outstanding examples representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals
Fraser Island is known for its numerous freshwater lakes formed in sand – perched, window and barrage lakes.
Perched lakes develop when an impermeable ‘hard pan’ of organic debris forms in a depression between dunes, enabling runoff and rainwater to collect. They are separate from the influence of groundwater. Lake Boomanjin (200ha) on Fraser Island is the world’s largest perched lake.
Window lakes form at low elevations where the ground surface dips into the watertable.
Barrage lakes form when a mobile sand dune dams a watercourse or encroaches on a lake in young dunes close to the coast.
All of these lakes are low in nutrients and support limited aquatic life. Seabirds and shorebirds occupy a range of habitats on Fraser Island including the mouths of creeks and estuaries, rocky ocean foreshores, sand spits and sandy beaches. Many species of tern and resident shorebirds, such as sooty and Australian pied oystercatchers, red-capped plovers and beach stone-curlews use Fraser Island beaches year round. During summer months thousands of migratory shorebirds that have travelled up to 30,000km gather at critical sites along the island’s beaches and in the adjacent Great Sandy Strait.