Theme Week Queensland – Fraser Island

Monday, 9 October 2017 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  7 minutes

© panoramio.com - Korkut Tas/cc-by-sa-3.0

© panoramio.com – Korkut Tas/cc-by-sa-3.0

Fraser Island is located along the southeastern coast of the state of Queensland in Australia. It is approximately 250 kilometres (160 mi) north of the state capital, Brisbane. It is a locality within the Fraser Coast local government in the Wide Bay–Burnett region. Its length is about 120 kilometres (75 mi) and its width is approximately 24 kilometres (15 mi). It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The island is considered to be the largest sand island in the world at 1,840 km². It is also Queensland’s largest island, Australia’s sixth largest island and the largest island on the East Coast of Australia. Estimates of the number of visitors to the island each year range from 350,000 to 500,000. The chance of seeing a dingo in its natural setting is one of the main reasons people visit the island. The use of boardwalks and marked tracks by visitors is encouraged to reduce erosion. Fraser Island has over 100 freshwater lakes, as well as the second highest concentration of lakes in Australia after Tasmania. The freshwater lakes on Fraser Island are some of the cleanest lakes in the world. A popular tourist area is Lake McKenzie which is located inland from the small town of Eurong.

The island has rainforests, eucalyptus woodland, mangrove forests, wallum and peat swamps, sand dunes and coastal heaths. It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock that provides a natural catchment for the sediment which is carried on a strong offshore current northwards along the coast. Unlike on many sand dunes, plant life is abundant due to the naturally occurring mycorrhizal fungi present in the sand, which release nutrients in a form that can be absorbed by the plants. Fraser Island is home to a small number of mammal species, as well as a diverse range of birds, reptiles and amphibians, including the occasional saltwater crocodile. The island is protected in the Great Sandy National Park. Fraser Island has been inhabited by humans for as much as 5,000 years. Explorer James Cook sailed by the island in May 1770. Matthew Flinders landed near the most northern point of the island in 1802. For a short period the island was known as Great Sandy Island. The island became known as Fraser due to the stories of a shipwreck survivor named Eliza Fraser. Today the island is a popular tourism destination. Its resident human population was 194 at the 2011 Australian Census.

Lake McKenzie © Sensenmann Hammerstone Sandblow and Lake Wabby © Ray Lightyea/cc-by-sa-3.0 Beach at Lake McKenzie © Rhain/cc-by-sa-4.0 75 Mile Beach © Laurel Lodged/cc-by-sa-3.0 © panoramio.com - Korkut Tas/cc-by-sa-3.0 View from Indian Head © Rhain/cc-by-sa-4.0 Shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno near Eli Creek © Alchemist-hp
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Hammerstone Sandblow and Lake Wabby © Ray Lightyea/cc-by-sa-3.0
A major landmark on Fraser Island is the shipwreck of the S.S. Maheno. The Maheno was built in Scotland in 1905 as a luxury passenger ship for the trans-Tasman crossing. During the First World War she served as a hospital ship in the English Channel, and was then returned to her owners to resume her usual commercial operation. By 1935 the ship had been taken out of service and was sold to a ship-breaker in Japan. On 25 June 1935, while being towed to Osaka to be broken up, she was caught in a strong cyclone about 80 kilometres (50 miles) off the coast of Queensland. The towline parted, and on 9 July 1935 the Maheno became beached on the east coast of Fraser Island. The remains of the ship are now severely rusted, with almost three and a half storeys buried under the sand. Because of the danger it poses, climbing on the wreck is not permitted. During World War Two, the area near McKenzie’s Jetty was used by the Services Reconnaissance Department (popularly known as “Z Special Unit“) as a special forces training camp – the Fraser Commando School. Thousands of soldiers were trained here because the conditions were similar to those found on Pacific Islands where the Japanese were fought. Lake McKenzie was used for parachute training and the wreck of the Maheno was used for explosive demolitions practice. Visitors to the site of the Fraser Commando School today can still see various relics of its military past including armour plates used to test armour piercing explosive charges and weapons and a concrete relief map of Singapore Harbour used as an aid in operations planning.

Fraser Island is separated from the mainland by Great Sandy Strait. The southern tip, near Tin Can Bay, is situated to the north of Inskip Peninsula. The most northern point of the island is Sandy Cape where the Sandy Cape Light operated from 1870 to 1994. The establishment of the lighthouse was the first permanent European settlement on the island. The nearest large town to Fraser Island is Hervey Bay, while Maryborough and Bundaberg are also close by. The bay on the north east coast is called Marloo Bay and on the north west coast is Platypus Bay. The most westerly place on the island is Moon Point. Eli Creek is the largest creek on the east coast of the island with a flow of 80 million litres per day. Eli Creek has its own unique and varied wild life. Coongul Creek on the west coast has a flow rate of four to five million litres per hour. Some of the swamps on the island are fens, particularly near Moon Point. This was only discovered in 1996 when a group of experts who had attended a Ramsar conference in Brisbane flew over the island and conducted an aerial survey. From above they noticed the distinct patterns of potholed peat which are devoid of trees. This was the first instance of fens found in Australia and in a sub-tropical region, although more were subsequently found on the adjacent Cooloola coast.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on VisitFraserCoast.com – Fraser Island, australia.com – Fraser Island, LonelyPlanet.com – Fraser Island, unesco.org – Fraser Island, Wikivoyage Fraser Island and Wikipedia Fraser Island (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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