Fraser Island - 1992
Stretching over 120 kilometres along the southern coast of
Queensland, Fraser Island (184 000 hectares) is the largest sand island
in the world. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in
recognition of its outstanding natural universal values:
As an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological
and biological processes; and
as an example of superlative natural phenomena.
The island is a place of exceptional beauty, with its long
uninterrupted white beaches flanked by strikingly coloured sand cliffs,
its majestic tall rainforests and numerous freshwater lakes of crystal
The massive sand deposits that make up the island are a continuous
record of climatic and sea level changes over the past 700 000 years.
Fraser Island features complex dune systems that are still evolving,
and an array of dune lakes that is exceptional in its number, diversity
The highest dunes on the island reach up to 240 metres above sea
level. Forty perched dune lakes, half the number of such lakes in the
world, can be found on the island. These lakes are formed when organic
matter, such as leaves, bark and dead plants, gradually build up and
harden in depressions created by the wind.
The island also has several barrage lakes, formed when moving sand
dunes block a watercourse, and 'window' lakes, formed when a depression
exposes part of the regional water table.
A surprising variety of vegetation types grow on the island, ranging
from coastal heath to subtropical rainforests. It is the only place in
the world where tall rainforests are found growing on sand dunes at
elevations of over 200 metres.
The low 'wallum' heaths on the island are of particular evolutionary
and ecological significance, providing magnificent wildflower displays
in spring and summer.
Birds are the most abundant form of animal life on the island with
over 350 species being recorded. It is a particularly important site
for migratory wading birds which use the area as a resting place during
their long flights between southern Australia and their breeding
grounds in Siberia.
A species of particular interest is the endangered ground parrot,
which is found in the wallum heathlands.
Few mammal species are present on the island. The most common are
bats, particularly flying foxes. The dingo population on the island is
regarded as the most pure strain of dingoes remaining in eastern
The lakes on Fraser Island are poor habitats for fish and other
aquatic species because of the purity, acidity and low nutrient levels
of the water. Some frog species are adapted to survive in this
difficult environment. Appropriately called 'acid frogs', they tolerate
the acidic condition characteristic of the Fraser Island lakes and
"Called K'gari by its Aboriginal inhabitants, the island reveals
occupation of at least 5 000 years, although it is possible that
archaeological work may indicate earlier occupation. Early European
reports suggested that Fraser Island was heavily populated by
Aboriginal people, but subsequent research indicates that there was a
small permanent population of 400-600 that swelled seasonally to
perhaps 2000-3000 in the winter months when seafood resources were
particularly abundant. Fraser Island contains many sites of
archaeological, social and spiritual significance. Middens, artefact
scatters, fish traps, scarred trees and campsites bear witness to the
lives of the original inhabitants. European contact, initiated by
Matthew Flinders in 1802, was sporadic and limited to explorers,
escaped convicts and shipwreck survivors."
quote from : govt world heritage site