Sand, Sea and Sun – Invitation

6th Biennial Fraser Island Conference

Innovation Centre — University of the Sunshine Coast

Wednesday, 12th August, 2015 — 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

FIDO’s previous Fraser Island conferences 2020 Vision (Noosa 2004), True Grit (USC 2006), Shifting Sands (The Gap 2009) FIDO @ 40 (The Gap 2011), A Natural Laboratory (Mt Coo-tha 2013) have dealt with a range of themes. An exciting program coinciding with Brisbane’s Ekka holiday is now taking shape.

The Theme

Our Sixth Great Sandy Conference promises to be our best yet. There is a new layer of responsibility now that the Butchulla have Native Title over K’Gari that they may have occupied for 40,000 years. Very eminently qualified speakers will make presentations to the conference that will help to understand Fraser Island’s World Heritage Outstanding Universal Value. New insights should assist in improving the management of this site. The theme aims to increase our understanding of the geomorphology, the marine environment and the impacts of climate change. It also allows scope to discuss the natural beauty of the site that is one of Fraser Island’s three World Heritage criteria.

IanLowe_000Keynote Speaker Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe

Author, academic, researcher and gifted speaker, Ian Lowe’s principal research interests are in policy decisions influencing the use of energy, science and technology; energy use in industrialised countries; large-scale environmental issues and sustainable development. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to science and technology and for contributing to public understanding of environmental issues. Ian is the Immediate Past President of the Australian Conservation Foundation and has long been focused on the impacts of Climate Change.


Over 30 years a CSIRO team carried out their groundbreaking studies tin Cooloola that has helped our understanding of so much of the complexities of this part of the Great Sandy Region. They helped unravel and understand the chronosequences of dune systems. A team of scientists mainly from University of Queensland led Prof Jamie Schulmeister is about to embark on a multidisciplinary study of Fraser Island that rivals that of the CSIRO Cooloola dune studies in breadth and scope. Prof Jamie Schulmeister’s asks the key question “Is the answer blowing in the wind? — Towards an environmental history of the Fraser Island /K’Gari dune fields’.


The Marine Environment of the Fraser Island Region features strongly. Dr Joachim Ribbe, Associate Professor in Climatology, USQ, has made some most interesting recent discoveries. These include the “Southeast Fraser Island Upwelling System” and the classification of Hervey Bay as a hypersaline system. Great Sandy Strait will also get a very full treatment. It is an appropriate topic on what is being done to keep Great Sandy Strait Great? Great Sandy Strait is an internationally important wetland and one of the most significant migratory shorebird sites in Australia. Up to 40,000 shorebirds have used this location during the Australian summer. Dr. Jon Coleman (Queensland Wader Study Group will report on 20 years of observations.


There will be discussions on climate change and fire. Core sampling in the fens has revealed “evidence of significant environmental change, possibly associated with human arrival, between 40,000 to 35,000 years ago” and other changes indicating different climate regimes of the past. In November 2013 FIDO was privileged to assist in a detailed study of the Puthoo Fens near Moon Point. Dr Patrick Moss has titled his paper Moon Point Mires – A 40,000 year window into the Fraser Island environment. Two papers arise from work in the fens. Another presentation deals with Fire Patterns of the Great Sandy Region

Scientists in the FensThere has been much interesting research carried out in the Fraser Island fens in recent years. The International Mire Conservation Group came in 2013. This team from University of Queensland led by Dr. Patrick Moss is examining a peat core extracted from the Puthoo fens that help us understand the ecological history going back 40,000 years.

As well we are looking forward to presentations from government agencies, (yet to be confirmed) and discussions on Dingoes, Dilli Village, the role of volunteers and the significance of the rainforest flora. It promises to be a full and fascinating day of expanding our knowledge and understanding of this unique part of the globe.


All of this information and stimulating discussion, a light lunch and morning and afternoon tea costs a registration fee of only $100. ($80 for FIDO members, $60 for students and concessions).

On line registrations can be made at:


Fraser Island Defenders Organisation



FINIA (Fraser Island Natural Integrity Alliance) and University of the Sunshine Coast

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