close icon

Development   /  Fisch Rasy (Tristan Rasmussan)

Stradbroke Island: An Island in Limbo

We know the history of Stradbroke Island, but the future of the island is far less certain.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Sabrina Dervis

  • PRODUCER Fisch Rasy



Stradbroke Island has long been one of Australia’s most picturesque tourism destinations, but it has also been the site of sand mines, typhus quarantine zones, asylums, and contentious land battles since the island was first colonised. In recent years, the Queensland Government and Redland City Council have closed the sand mines on North Stradbroke Island, and announced that a large area of land which had just been handed back to the Quandamooka people, the traditional custodians of Stradbroke Island, would be the site of one of the largest residential developments on the island. This documentary seeks to explore the Island’s rich history and how they have struggled due to poor planning, isolation, land disputes and COVID-19. Representatives from the Island with interesting and impactful stories will share their experiences with the end of sand mining on the island, the lockdown of an already isolated island paradise and having Indigenous land changing hands near constantly.

Support this project

0% funded
  • $100,000.00

  • $0.00

  • December 2023

  • 0

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $




Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Stradbroke Island has been home to the Quandamooka people for thousands of years, and home to sand miners and tourism operators for hundreds. In 2011 the Government announced a plan to close all sand mines on the island in December 2019, a win for the delicate ecosystem of the island, and four years later unveiled their plan to maintain the island’s economy. This plan sees Stradbroke rely solely on tourism for their economic stability. The strict COVID lockdowns in Australia have halted travel to the island, so with no money coming into the island, and little being generated locally, what are the residents to do?
To rub salt in that would, a large plot of land that had recently been handed back to the Quandamooka people has now been pegged as the site for a large residential development, which contradicts the wishes of the traditional custodians of the land and threatens that very same ecosystem that stopping the sand mining was supposed to protect.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Our impact vision is twofold. Firstly we want to see the Quandamooka people’s claim to the land honoured by the Redland City council and the development planned for the land not go ahead. Additionally, we would like to see a more comprehensive plan for Stradbroke Island’s economic recovery after the closing of the sand mines and the impact of COVID-19.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We hope to make the public aware of what has been happening on Stradbroke Island, including the theft of land from indigenous people, the effect of closing the sand mines and the nature of completely isolating the island because of COVID-19.
One of our best tourist destinations has been hit hard by poor decision-making and harsh lockdowns, more so than much of the state. We hope that people see how much the island has been affected by COVID-19 and make an effort to support local tourism by visiting the island and supporting local businesses there.
We also hope that people will support the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation in their quest to protect the land that was promised to them by the government.
Finally, we want the government to propose a comprehensive plan that gives the island more than just tourism to bring them economic stability.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We will reach out to the audience with stories from the island, which will arm them with the knowledge of what the residents of the island have been through. This will allow them to make informed decisions about the action they should take to help the island. We will show the government the impact that their actions have had on the miners, tourism operators and Indigenous people of Stradbroke Island and give them no excuses for the decisions they have made.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We are currently speaking with the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation and the Institute for the Clinical Advancement of Neuroplasticity on South Stradbroke Island regarding partnerships around this documentary. These partnerships will help us with finding characters and stories to feature in the documentary and provide in kind or monetary support for us to continue with this project.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We want people to be aware of the situation on Stradbroke Island. They will understand the impact of COVID-19 on an already isolated island, the government’s plan to have the island's economy rely solely on tourism and why that has failed so quickly, the back-and-forth of Indigenous custody of the land. The viewers will create change in the community by talking about the issues and advocating for change. They will lobby the Redland City Council and Queensland Government to provide a better economic plan for the island and land rights for the Quandamooka people.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will see an increase in tourism on Stradbroke Island, which will boost their economy until the government revises their economic plan to include an avenue other than tourism for the islanders to make money. Furthermore the development planned for the Quandamooka land on North Stradbroke Island will be cancelled or referred to the QYAC for their input on what happens to their native title land.