Fraser Island takes its European name from James and Eliza Fraser. The captain of the Stirling Castle and his wife were shipwrecked on the northwest coast in 1836. He died here, and she survived with help from the local Aboriginal people.
As European settlers awoke to the value of Fraser’s timber, that same tribe of Aborigines was unfortunately displaced (although not without a fight) and tracts of rainforest were cleared in the search for turpentine (satiny), a waterproof wood prized by shipbuilders. The island was also mined for its mineral sand for many years.
In the late 20th century the focus shifted from exploitation towards protection. Sand mining ceased in 1975 and logging stopped in 1991, after the island was brought under the auspices of the QPWS, as part of the Great Sandy National Park. In 1993 native title was recognised and the island was listed as a World Heritage area.