Conway Burns, K'Gari (Fraser Island), Great Sandy National Park

Conway Burns, K'Gari (Fraser Island), Great Sandy National Park

Conway Burns, K'Gari (Fraser Island), Great Sandy National Park

Conway Burns is a Ranger based on Fraser Island who has worked in national parks for the last 18 years and loved every minute of it.

Why did you become a ranger?

I am a Butchulla man, Traditional Owner descendant of K’gari (Beautiful place/ Paradise-Fraser Island). I am very spiritually connected with the country and working as a ranger on K’gari makes me feel strong and proud to represent my people. I’ve attended many schools over my younger schooling life but one in particular was a primary school in Gladstone called Kin Kora. We had to write a letter and put it in a time capsule that wasn’t to be opened for 25 years. In my letter I stated ‘that when I grow up I want to be a ranger on Fraser Island’.

Which parks have you worked in?

I’ve only ever worked in the Great Sandy Region which has now changed to Coastal and Islands Region, where I work on Fraser Island National Park.

What is your most memorable moment?

In 2010 I put together a project where I mentored young Indigenous people in the basics of being a ranger, realigned 3km of walking tracks and also reconnected with country for 3 months. The following year I put together a project called Djinang Djaa K’gari (Footprints on Paradise) which involved similar tasks to Great Walks; with the assistance of Community Solutions. The project was a success, with future employment with QPWS for the people who were involved. I was presented with the Jono Walsh Award for excellence in mentoring in 2012.

Can you describe your favourite national parks experience?

My favourite experience is my spiritual connection with K’gari. There are sacred secret places on K’gari. She is a female white spirit sent from sky country to help create the lands with Yindinjie (Rainbow Serpent) the creator of all. She is our provider and she provides a special experience for me every day and in return we protect and preserve her.

What is the best part about working in a national park?

Educating the public about general information and respect for country (K’gari).

What is your top tip for visitors?

Wanya nyin yangu, wanai djinang djaa (Where ever you go, leave only footprints). And one of my main Butchulla Lores is 'What’s good for the country comes first!'. Be dingo safe, give dingoes’ space, K’gari is their place.