(Centre) Lillian Burke.
(Centre) Lillian Burke. Renee Albrecht

Beloved Gympie woman a nominee for Qld Australian of Year

GYMPIE region Aboriginal elder Lillian Burke is a nominee for the 2019 Queensland Australian of the Year awards.

Aunty Lillian has been nominated for her tireless volunteer work in the community, and her position as an inspirational community elder.

She was recently named a Senior Fellow of USC for her work in encouraging young Aboriginal students to study and move on to university.

In her Senior Australian of the Year nomination Aunty Lillian is described as a tireless and inspirational champion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Aunty Lillian Burke and Uncle Kev Starkey deliver a smoking ceremony at the opening of Headspace Gympie on Tuesday August 28.
Aunty Lillian Burke and Uncle Kev Starkey deliver a smoking ceremony at the opening of Headspace in Gympie. Josh Preston

"She's participated in 100 boards, committees and consultancy groups, devoting up to five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week, to volunteering.

"Lillian is president of Cooloola Aboriginal Services, Gympie State High School's adopted elder and mentor, and runs the annual NAIDOC celebrations, Sorry Day and other significant days in Gympie.

"With Fraser Island's Indigenous Advisory Committee, she helped Aboriginal rangers create a cultural heritage database, was involved with a leadership camp for Indigenous high-school girls, a healthy-eating program for young mums, and a program for foster carers of Aboriginal children.

 

Caption: Kabi Kabi and Butchulla elder Aunty Lillian Burke says there is still much to be done to reach reconciliation and equality.
Caption: Kabi Kabi and Butchulla elder Aunty Lillian Burke says there is still much to be done to reach reconciliation and equality.

"Her outstanding efforts were recognised with Volunteering Queensland's Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award in 2016.

"Lillian has also been named an Honorary Senior Fellow of the University of the Sunshine Coast.

"A Butchulla woman with a Kabi connection, Lillian was forcibly removed from her family as a child and forced to live in a girls' institution. Despite these traumatic events, she has devoted much of her life to serving her community."

 

The 2019 Queensland Award nominees are:

Lorraine Hatton - Veteran and community leader (Paradise Point)

Jon Rouse - Detective Inspector and children's champion (Ashgrove)

Tony Sharp - Social entrepreneur (Bethania)

Dr Harry Stalewski - Founding father of paediatric surgery in North Queensland (Townsville)

 

Artist Robert Langton
Artist Robert Langton "Rocko" from Cherbourg with Aunty Lillian Burke.

2019 QUEENSLAND SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Lillian Burke - Community elder and volunteer (Gympie)

Professor James Dale AO - Scientist (Moggill)

Professor John Grant-Thomson AM RFD - Medical engineer and inventor (New Farm)

Sandra Richards - Farmer, environmentalist and volunteer (Townsville)

 

Aunty Lillian Burke and Sean Connelly, co chairs of the NAIDOC committee in Gympie.
Aunty Lillian Burke and Sean Connelly, co chairs of the NAIDOC committee in Gympie. Philippe Coquerand

2019 QUEENSLAND YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Angel Dixon - Model and activist (Gold Coast)

Kristen Larsen - Activist and volunteer (Upper Kedron)

Chaz Prezident - Entrepreneur (Bundall)

Mikhara Ramsing - Social enterprise CEO, youth suicide activist (Anstead)

2019 QUEENSLAND LOCAL HERO

Joan Beacroft - Social justice advocate (Bloomfield)

Elijah Buol - Advocate (Regents Park)

Elisabeth Ewen - Swimming coach volunteer (Stafford Heights)

Barbara Kienast - Volunteer (Samford)

The Queensland Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero Award recipients will be announced on the evening of Friday 9 November 2018 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

 

Naidoc Darren Burns, Aunty Lillian Burke and Elisha Randall from Blue Light. Photo Renee Pilcher / The Gympie Times
Naidoc Darren Burns, Aunty Lillian Burke and Elisha Randall from Blue Light. Renee Pilcher

The Queensland Award recipients will join other State and Territory recipients from around Australia in the national awards, which will be held in Canberra on 25 January 2019.

National Australia Day Council CEO, Ms Karlie Brand, said the Queensland nominees are among more than 120 people being recognised in all States and Territories as part of the 2019 Australian of the Year Awards.

"The Queensland nominees are extraordinary people doing what they see needs doing most," said Ms Brand.

 

Aunty Lillian Burke and Sean Connelly, co chairs of the NAIDOC committee in Gympie.
Aunty Lillian Burke and Sean Connelly, co chairs of the NAIDOC committee in Gympie. Philippe Coquerand

"Through their experiences, skills and contributions, they are all making a difference and making their mark."

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au