A speech by The Duke of Sussex at The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Dedication on K’gari (Fraser Island)

Published 22 October 2018

It's wonderful to be here today on K’gari – or Fraser Island.  I would first like to acknowledge the Butchulla People, the Traditional Owners of this beautiful island who care for it deeply and have welcomed us so warmly. 

I would also like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the Bulburin National Park, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier and Minister for Trade, and other guests. 

Today we are here to dedicate this island to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy – an initiative established in honour of my grandmother The Queen's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

This is actually the second time this plaque has been unveiled - which I know is highly unusual. 

The first time was by my father – The Prince of Wales – in Bundaberg earlier this year when he was visiting.  I now have the privilege of unveiling it in situ. I know that my father came to K’gari in 1994 for a "day off" during a Royal Tour so he has an appreciation of the importance of this place.

Luckily we are both highly skilled when it comes to unveiling plaques! 

As well as being the largest sand island in the world, it has been World Heritage listed in recognition of its exceptional beauty, biodiversity and cultural significance. World Heritage sites play a critical role in supporting local economies and livelihoods. Their destruction can and is having devastating consequences that go way beyond their exceptional beauty and natural value.

And, at a time when so many natural World Heritage sites are under threat, it is more important than ever to protect this island for all the reasons that we have mentioned.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to unite to protect one of the world’s most important natural habitats – forests.  Forty-two out of the 53 countries are now taking part and I hope that others will join soon.

The programme is committed to raising awareness of the value of indigenous forests and to saving them for future generations.  Put simply, without trees and forests, we don’t survive. It is a symbiotic relationship, and one that so many people still fail to realise.

Across Australia, twenty million trees are now being planted for the QCC, providing habitat to support threatened species, and capturing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.

K’gari, and Bulburin National Park which my father also dedicated on his recent visit, are the first protected areas in Queensland to be recognised under the QCC initiative.  There are now more than 200,000 acres of protected forest here on this island, and that is an enormous achievement.

As you all know too well, K’gari means ‘paradise’, and that is certainly what we’ve experienced today surrounded by the towering Kauri pines, 1000 year-old satinay trees and ancient giant ferns.

It is up to us now to protect this paradise together – not just because it looks beautiful - but because it is an essential part of our existence, and will continue to be for our children and their children's children.  

Thank you.

Related content

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at the OnSide Awards at the Royal Albert Hall

It’s because of all of your efforts that 50,000 young people are getting access to such amazing experiences every single year.

17 November 2019

Remembrance 2019

Members of the Royal Family remember the war dead.

The Duke of Sussex's speech at the WellChild Awards 2019

Each of you, through your heartfelt commitments, make it possible for these and other children to live the life that they deserve – at home, with their families

16 October 2019

World Mental Health Day 2019

10 October 2019

A speech delivered by The Duke of Sussex at the Youth Employment Services, Johannesburg

In my role as The Queen’s Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, I am so incredibly fortunate to meet young people who are determined to make a real difference and make their mark on...

02 October 2019

A speech delivered by The Duke of Sussex at The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Dedication in Malawi

As The Queen’s Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, I am particularly proud of how this programme will create a physical legacy of Her Majesty’s leadership of the Commonwealth - not...

30 September 2019

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at the visit to The Princess Diana Orthopaedic Centre, Huambo, Angola

I am humbled and honoured that my mother’s work and commitment to demining continues to inspire and that her legacy is being recognised and celebrated today with the naming of...

27 September 2019

A speech delivered by The Duke of Sussex at a HALO Trust minefield, Dirico, Angola

Landmines are an unhealed scar of war. By clearing the landmines, we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity.

27 September 2019

A speech delivered by The Duchess of Sussex at the visit to The Justice Desk, Nyanga Township, South Africa

You have welcomed us into this community, have been open and honest with us, both about the dangers women and children face, and about how you are addressing them.

23 September 2019

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at a visit to the Justice Desk, Cape Town, South Africa

We are so incredibly grateful to be able to listen and learn from you about the issues that define your daily lives in these communities. And that’s what this is, a community...

23 September 2019

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at the Invictus Games Foundation 5th anniversary event

I think for me this has always been about the competitors and their families. What they represent, the strength and determination, the grit, every part of it.

11 September 2019

The Duke of Sussex's speech at the launch of Travalyst in Amsterdam

We have the opportunity to address this tourism paradox and turn one of the world’s biggest problems into one of its greatest solutions

03 September 2019

International Youth Day 2019

12 August 2019

A speech delivered by The Duke of Sussex at the Chatham House Africa Programme event

Thank you Honourable Minister, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a pleasure in joining you to focus on such an important collaborative goal. This event is the culmination of a great...

17 June 2019

A speech delivered by The Duke of Sussex at Founder’s Day

We should all be incredibly proud and grateful knowing that 46 of you here fought in the Second World War... I thank you for inviting me here today and I wish you all the...

06 June 2019

A speech delivered by The Duke of Sussex at the opening game of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019

Cities across England and Wales will come alive over the next six weeks as World Cup fever sweeps the nation once more

30 May 2019

Prince Archie of Sussex

Find out more about Archie Mountbatten-Windsor
Press release 06 May 2019

The Duchess of Sussex has been delivered of a son

Read more
Press release 06 May 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex: Update

Read more

The Duke of Sussex's speech at WE Day UK

To be amongst all of you progressive, motivated, open minded, change-makers, is what gives me hope for the future

06 March 2019

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at The Endeavour Fund Awards

You do not have to be defined by your injury or disability. It does not have to hold you back.

07 February 2019
Press release 08 February 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Morocco

Read more

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at a the Commonwealth Youth Roundtable

This year, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, and with the theme: ‘A Connected Commonwealth', there is a great opportunity to harness the talent...

30 January 2019

A speech by The Duke of Sussex at Circus Zambia, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust Event, Lusaka

We established The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust to be your platform. The place where your voices can be heard, where your work is seen and taken seriously.

27 November 2018