Senior Ranger Boyd – National Parks Association of Queensland

Senior Ranger Boyd

Author: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS)

Senior Ranger Boyd and mascot – Provided

For Butchulla man and Senior Ranger Boyd, K’gari is much more than a beautiful holiday destination and World Heritage Area he manages as part of his day job.

‘In the creation story of my people, K’gari is our mother and we are her children. The lakes are the twinkle of her eyes, and the sand is her skin.’

Boyd said, ‘K’gari is a natural wonder that deserves great respect and protection. It is a part of Australia that is thousands of years old and entirely unique.

‘The ocean, beaches, forests, freshwater lakes, sand dunes and creeks, and wildlife like the wongari (dingo) and whales—there is an incredible diversity of nature here for you to witness,’ he says.

‘The wongari are part of our creation and companions to the Butchulla people. It’s important that they are respected, and people remain cautious around them.

‘We all need to respect them as the wild creatures that they are. If you were in Africa, you wouldn’t feed a lion. Wongari are protected as a native species and they play a key role in the island’s ecosystem.

‘The island is their home, and you can help them when visiting K’gari by respecting them and giving them space. Always Be Dingo-Safe! on K’gari.’

Ranger Boyd says his favourite biome on the island is the rainforest, though the island’s diversity overall is what truly inspires him.

‘The sight of the rainforest cutting into the sand dunes is incredible. You could not copy and paste that. Then you have the pristine waters and aquifer system that feeds Eli Creek, and the marshlands. The whole of K’gari is remarkable!

‘We have guests that return every year to go camping and four-wheel driving.’

Boyd’s top tip for visitors is to ‘plan your trips and where you want to be. Understand the tides and distances to travel between the north and south. If in doubt, speak to the Butchulla people or ask a Ranger, we’re always happy to help make your K’gari experience safe and enjoyable.’

When it comes to keeping K’gari beautiful, Boyd said he always encourages visitors to ‘take memories, leave only footprints and of course, take time and connect to the Country!’

‘When visiting, it’s best we all look after the environment. People need to remember K’gari’s island ecosystem has evolved over thousands of years and is vulnerable to human impacts. Visitors need to clean their vehicles and tents before they visit so they don’t inadvertently bring unwanted guests like fire ants or other pest species ashore.

‘Any introduced species has the potential to survive and grow here, and severely impact the rare and endangered species living on this beautiful island.

When asked by tourists why the island is now known as K’gari, not Fraser Island, he says the Traditional Owners never changed the name. It is and has always been K’gari.

‘Since the island formally reverted to its traditional name, visitors are asking questions about our culture and are interested in enhancing their cultural understanding of the area. It’s good to hear people saying ‘K’gari’ again.’

Boyd said he has learned a lot from engaging with visitors from different backgrounds he has met at K’gari over the years and is grateful for the opportunities he has had through his work to share the culture of his people and their love for Country with others.

‘One of my best memories on K’gari is meeting Prince Harry and Meghan (then Duke and Duchess of Sussex) on their royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga in 2018.

‘I’m not a royalist and have to live with the injustices of colonialism, but Prince Harry is from a different generation. He acknowledged who we are, and I was glad I had the opportunity to thank him for the contribution his mother Lady Di made to the world and to mob.’

Boyd said speaking to people from around the world who recognise the Butchulla people as the Traditional Owners of K’gari has been healing to him over the years.

‘Growing up my mother always said to me ‘Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me.’ And that’s something I’ve always taken to heart.

‘In the end, race doesn’t matter. Recognising that we’re all human, getting along together peacefully and respectfully in this world, that’s what’s truly important.’

Boyd’s aim is to bring cultural awareness and understanding into Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and to look after our natural landscapes and sea Country in his dual role of QPWS Ranger and Traditional Custodian. Boyd strongly believes that ‘what is good for the land must come first’.

‘We are stronger together and are all responsible for the protection of K’gari—Traditional Owners, QPWS, visitors—all of us’ says Boyd.

Boyd’s advice to any visitor to K’gari (and any of our amazing national parks)—‘your backyard does not end at your mailbox. All of Australia, including our national parks, is our backyard and it’s up to all of us to look after our Country’.

Visit K’gari, Great Sandy National Park on our website to learn more about visiting K’gari and how to best respect this natural wonder so it remains for all of our futures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to receive our free publications
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can email you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out on NPAQ updates, 'Connected' digital newsletter or 'Protected' magazine.