Shire of Burke

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Shire of Burke
Burke LGA Qld.png
Location within Queensland
Population 554 (2010)[1]
 • Density 0.013806/km2 (0.03576/sq mi)
Established 1885
Area 40,126.8 km2 (15,493.0 sq mi)
Mayor Ernie Camp
Council seat Burketown
Region North West Queensland
State electorate(s) Mount Isa
Federal Division(s) Kennedy
Burkeshirecouncil logo.gif
Website Shire of Burke
LGAs around Shire of Burke:
Gulf of Carpentaria Gulf of Carpentaria, Mornington Gulf of Carpentaria
Roper Gulf (NT) Shire of Burke Carpentaria
Barkly (NT) Mount Isa Cloncurry

The Shire of Burke is a local government area in North West Queensland, Australia. The shire lies on the south coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria and abuts the border with the Northern Territory. It covers an area of 40,126.8 square kilometres (15,493.0 sq mi), and has existed as a local government entity since 1885. The major town and administrative centre of the shire is Burketown. The shire and town and the Burke River passing through all are named in honour of ill-fated explorer Robert O'Hara Burke.[2]

From the months of August to November, a rare meteorological phenomenon known as "Morning Glory" – long, tubular clouds, some up to 1000 km in length – are often observed in the skies above Burke Shire[3]

The shire contains Boodjamulla National Park (formerly called Lawn Hill National Park) and the World Heritage Site Riversleigh fossil fields. The Aboriginal Shire of Doomadgee lies inside Burke Shire to the west of Burketown. It also includes Gregory Downs.


Map of Burke Division, March 1902

The Doonmunya Division was created on 11 November 1879 as one of 74 divisions around Queensland under the Divisional Boards Act 1879 with a population of 396.[4] However, the divisional board appeared to be completely inactive, perhaps because the division was so large (being the area surrounding the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria) and was very sparsely settled.[5] Nonetheless some of the citizens were unhappy about this.[6] Consequently, on 11 January 1883, the Doonmunya Division was abolished and a new Carpentaria Division was created to replace it.[7][8][9]

However, once the Carpentaria Divisional Board became operational, the residents of the Burketown area became concerned that their rates were likely to be spent on the Normanton area rather than their own and began to agitate for their own division west of the Leichhardt River.[10] On 30 January 1885, the Burke Division was created from lands formerly within the Carpentaria Division with some adjustments to the Cloncurry Division.[11][12][13]

On 31 March 1903, Burke Division became the Shire of Burke.[14]

Towns and localities[edit]

The Shire of Burke includes the following settlements:


  • 1927: F. T. Webber [15]
  • 2014: Ernie Camp [16]


The populations below exclude the Aboriginal community of Doomadgee, which hovered between 800-1000 residents for most of the period under consideration.

Year Population
1933 355
1947 250
1954 248
1961 361
1966 291
1971 384
1976 413
1981 466
1986 511
1991 513
1996 660
2001 1,010
2006 1,145


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 March 2011). "Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2009–10". Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Burketown (entry 5355)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 13 September 2015. 
  3. ^ ABC Australia, August 2003, Soaring the Glory Accessed 12 December 2006.
  4. ^ "Proclamation [Doonmunya Division]". Queensland Government Gazette. 11 November 1879. p. 25:1007. 
  5. ^ "Local Government Practically Applied.". The Queenslander. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 15 January 1881. p. 71. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "NORMANTON.". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 12 January 1883. p. 6. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Proclamation [Doonmunya Division abolished]". Queensland Government Gazette. 13 January 1883. p. 32:98. 
  8. ^ "Proclamation [Carpentaria Division constituted]". Queensland Government Gazette. 13 January 1883. p. 32:98. 
  9. ^ "Agency ID556, Carpentaria Divisional Board". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "BURKETOWN.". The Brisbane Courier. National Library of Australia. 26 September 1884. p. 6. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Proclamation [Burke Division constituted]". Queensland Government Gazette. 31 January 1885. p. 36:328-329. 
  12. ^ "Proclamation [Carpentaria Division amended]". Queensland Government Gazette. 31 January 1885. p. 36:328. 
  13. ^ "Proclamation [Cloncurry Division amended]". Queensland Government Gazette. 31 January 1885. p. 36:327-328. 
  14. ^ "Agency ID546, Burke Shire Council". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  15. ^ Pugh, Theophilus Parsons (1927). Pugh's Almanac for 1927. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  16. ^ "Mayor and Councillor Profiles". Burke Shire COuncil. Burke Shire Council. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • "Burke Shire". Queensland Places. Centre for the Government of Queensland, University of Queensland. 

Coordinates: 17°44′10″S 139°32′56″E / 17.73611°S 139.54889°E / -17.73611; 139.54889