Burke Shire Council

Order of the outback ball Order of the outback ball

BlazeAid honoured with 2016 Order of the Outback

The Burke Shire Council in Queensland's Gulf of Carpentaria honoured rural volunteer organisation BlazeAid with the 2016 Order of the Outback.

 In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 160 guests at the Order of the Outback Ball on  Saturday 30 July,  Burke Shire mayor Ernie Camp presented BlazeAid Vice President Brian Carr with an engraved camp oven, along with a framed photograph of an iconic Burketown image - a sole  mangrove tree growing out of the sand at the mouth of the Albert River.  


Started by Kevin and Rhonda Butler from Kilmore East in Victoria, BlazeAid is a volunteer organisation that harnesses the skills of hundreds of people from across Australia, repairing infrastructure on farms and rural properties that have been affected by natural disasters.

‘BlazeAid has tapped into the spirit of the outback, with volunteers spread far and wide helping farmers and graziers to return to normal operations after fire and flood.

‘Through dogged determination, Kevin, Rhonda and their network of volunteers have gone above and beyond in giving a helping hand when it’s most needed,’ says Cr Camp.

BlazeAid Vice-President Brian Carr, who is currently coordinating BlazeAid activities near Julia Creek in North West Queensland, accepted the Order of the Outback from the Cr Camp.

BlazeAid and two other organisations were nominated by residents of the Burke Shire for the 2016 Order of the Outback. They were the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners and the ‘Who Got the Rain’ Facebook page.

Cr Camp says that the three nominees undoubtedly fulfilled the criteria of service to people of regional and remote Australia.

 ‘The Burke Shire has been awarding the Order of the Outback for over thirty years; recognising  individuals and organisations whose efforts often stay under the radar of public acclaim,’  says Cr Camp.

To ensure the sustainability of the award and the accompanying ball, the Burke Shire received financial and in-kind support from several corporate partners including: Telstra, Ergon Energy, the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Queensland Rural, Regional Express Airlines, Partners in Business, Civica, Booth Rural, George Bourne and Associates, Lagoon Creek Resources, Preston Law, Hastings Deering and Floraville Downs.

The next Order of the Outback Ball is scheduled to be held in 2018.

History of the Order of the Outback

The Award, which had its origins in the 1980s, is presented bi-annually. It recognises individuals or organisations that enrich the lives of people in the Australian Outback through their paid or unpaid work. As a result, nominees can come from anywhere in Australia.

Past recipients of the Award include:

  • Dr Don Bowley from the Mount Isa base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Ian McNamara from Australia All Over
  • The flying ministries of the Salvation Army and the Uniting Church
  • The Burke Shire Emergency Service Groups
  • Author Colleen McCulloch
  • Snake expert Ram Chandra; and
  • Aussie Helpers (2014)
  • BlazeAid (2016)

It has a long standing tradition for the Burke Shire to hold a ball to celebrate the Order of the Outback.  This year, our theme is Diamonds in the Dust.

Nominees for the 2016 Order of the Outback

Three organisations were nominated by residents of the Burke Shire for the 2016 Order of the Outback. They are:

The recipient of the award will be announced at the ball.

Our corporate partners

The Burke Shire expresses its appreciation to our Corporate Partners who have contributed financial or in-kind support to the 2016 Order of the Outback Ball. They are (in alphabetical order):

  • Booth Rural

  • Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation

  • Civica Pty Ltd

  • Ergon Energy

  • Floraville Downs

  • GBA Consulting Engineers,

  • Hastings Deering

  • Lagoon Creek Resources

  • Partners in Business (PIB)

  • Preston Law

  • Queensland Rural

  • Regional Express Airlines

  • Telstra

More information

To find out more about the Order of the Outback award and ball, please call 07 4745 5100 or email office@burke.qld.gov.au