Order of the Outback Ball

Burketown was the place to be on Saturday night 30th June! A magical atmosphere was created for the biennial Order of the Outback Ball, by the use of soft lighting and colourful décor, with fine attention to detail.

The Ball celebrated this year’s winner of the Order of the Outback Award – Johnathan Thurston. Johnathan’s selection as the 2018 recipient focused more on his off field successes, including his work with Indigenous youth through the ARTIE programme, the establishment of NRL House in Townsville, support of healthy diet, lifestyle and anti-drug campaigns on Cape York Peninsula and support of the Recognise campaign to name but a few. Through utilisation of his high profile for greater good, not primarily for personal gain, he has enriched the lives of those living in the Outback by giving hope and inspiration to countless aspiring athletes, Indigenous people, their communities and diehard sports fans.

As the evening unfolded, a beautiful meal was served and guests were entertained by Mt Isa’s popular BullDust Band. MC Tania Kernaghan kept proceedings flowing and provided guests with two special songs during dinner. Later in the evening local Member for Traeger Robbie Katter sang his rendition of Johnny Cash’s popular song ‘Jackson’, to much acclaim from the audience. Burketown Sport & Community Assoc. managed the bar which provided the Club with an opportunity to raise much needed funds.

Dancing continued until midnight, interspersed with prizes including the lucky door prize of 2 return tickets from Burketown to Cairns donated by Regional Express. Corporate Partnerships enabled Burke Shire Council to hold this iconic event, and thanks also go to the following partners: Queensland Government (Gambling Community Benefit Fund), Aeon Metals, ERSCON, George Bourne & Associates, Preston Law, Floraville Downs, Hastings Deering, Partners in Business, Queensland Rural, Telstra, Ergon Energy, Graham Bailey Earthmoving, D & D Concreting and RM Williams.


The Order of the Outback Award, which had its origins in the 1980s, is presented biennially. 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.


  • 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.

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.