Ground-penetrating radar will be used to help find the graves of more than 100 Aboriginal people who perished at a Fraser Island mission a century ago.

High-tech radar equipment is being used to uncover a dark chapter in Fraser Island’s history.

It’s been more than a century since a mission on the picturesque Queensland island was abandoned, leaving behind an enduring secret.

In the seven years the mission was open, more than 100 Aboriginal people perished from illness and malnutrition – the result of appalling living conditions.

Their bodies were buried, but those who ran the mission did not mark the graves.

Now scientists from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) will try to return that knowledge to the island’s K’Gari community, with the help of ground-penetrating radar.

USC soil scientist Peter Davies said his research team would work with elders and others to find the graves, using the radar to produce 3D images of what lies beneath the surface of the ground.

“The radar is the ideal instrument to locate disturbed ground, human remains and artefacts and has been previously used in locating Indigenous burial sites up to 20,000 years old,” he said.