VALE – BURNIE JOHNSON – A TRUE AMBASSADOR

This afternoon our region lost one of it’s finest ambassadors when Burnie Johnson, an indigenous representative of the  Gureng Gureng tribe, passed away after suffering a stroke yesterday.

Many local residents will remember Burnie as a down to earth and passionate representative of our region’s indiginous community who championed the cultural history of his people, his land and the ongoing goals of reconciliation.

Burnie regularly represented his people at many functions including the traditional “Welcome To Country’ functions which preceded many official events including citizenship ceremonies, opening ceremonies, welcoming ceremonies and many others. He was very much respected by those who attended these functions including Prime Ministers, the Governor of Queensland, State Premiers, Ministers, local Mayors and Councillors and many, many, members of the community.

To my mind, Burnie could be best described as a Cultural Engineer who built bridges between the traditional owners of this land and its ensuing inhabitants. He earned the respect of people from a diverse range of racial and cultural backgrounds and did so with that ever-present and slightly ‘cheeky’ wit accompanied by an ever-present broad smile.

His presentations were often accompanied by exhibits and stories of his cultural background which he enthusiastically shared with his audience together with his pride of being a part of a diverse and merging commmunity.

Isobel and I would like to extend our most sincere condolences to Joan and his extended family and friends on his passing in the hope that they take some comfort from the esteem in which he was held by so many

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