Well, here’s something I never thought I’d see. SBS has created an interactive documentary about the land of my people, the Butchulla, called K’gari.

What does K’gari mean?

Well, in the Butchulla language it means paradise. It’s the traditional name of the island known as Fraser Island. Before this piece done by SBS, I have to admit, I didn’t know the nitty gritty details of why it was called Fraser Island. I knew it was named because of a white woman, but I didn’t know the depth of the story that went along with it.

I had no idea the story had been so twisted by white panic, but I’m not surprised.

Clear 10 minutes out of your schedule to have a look at the presentation by SBS. Especially if you’ve got teenage kids who are just trying to get their heads around how to tell the difference between truth and untruth in a world where fake news (aka propaganda) is set to change the course of history.

Now for a personal tangent.

I didn’t know I was part of the Butchulla people until my great grandmother, one of the Butchulla elders, came to my primary school to talk about the dreamtime. She asked me “You’re Steven’s boy, aren’t you?” and back then I didn’t know my Dad. But I knew that was his name. She told me she was my grandmother, and the realisation hit me.

“If you’re aboriginal, then so am I!”

She told me that even though her skin was dark, and mine was white, we were still family. That was a bond that nothing could break.

I learned about my culture late, and I’m still learning every day.

Her name was Olga Miller, and along with her brother Wilf Reeves they wrote and illustrated the first Australian Aboriginal children’s book – The Legend of Moonie Jarl, which was originally published in 1964.

In 2014, it was reprinted for the 50th anniversary by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and I was lucky enough to get a copy.

I doubt anyone caught it, but in my Crematoria Online series, there’s an island-based seafaring race called the Kigarians, that hail from the Kigari Isles. I know that’s not how you pronounce K’gari, but it was my way of putting a little bit of my culture into my fictional world.

A small celebration, if you will.

Published by Matthew J. Barbeler

Matthew J. Barbeler writes dark fiction to die for.

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