Funeral Notice and Tribute – Ken ‘Burra’ Bone


??UPDATE 7th July – Funeral service will now take place at the Les Stewart Memorial Sports Complex (Collins Rd Cherbourg)??

Kenny ‘Burra’ Kevin William Bone

22 December 1946 – 29 June 2022

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council pays tribute to our former long serving Mayor

Ken Bone was born and spent all his life here in Cherbourg.

A true Wakka Wakka elder of our community, Kenny Bone grew up knowing the life of a “Domo Boy”, of restricted movements, strict rules, permits and rations, through to controlled wages and the fight for reparations for Aboriginal workers who had all, or part of their income set aside by the government. 

Kens life saw eras of change for his people, of freedom and recognition, of changing fortunes, slow growing reconciliation and land rights, all in his lifetime. Burra worked for his Cherbourg community, present at the starting point of transition for his people, a long journey from reliance and control…. to freedom and empowerment.

His generation struggled to throw off shackles of control, adapting, fighting for a better future, better health, social and emotional wellbeing, better pathways and the opportunity of prosperity for coming generations.

Burras working life was driven by a determination to advocate for community, to give a voice to his mob, his passion took his career into local government, commencing with our council in 1991 where he went on to serve as chairman in 1994 and 1997, elected mayor in the year 2000, 2004 and for a final term from 2012 before standing down from office in 2016.

Ken was heartened and rightly proud of the opportunities emerging for younger generations from our community, noting his people had “come out of the dorms” to go onto employment in and around the region and across the country, he observed tour younger generation “have a brighter future”.

In Kens time as Mayor, he saw many ups and downs that needed careful navigation for his community… drought, floods, a global financial crisis, social and emotional issues, health and wellbeing, an Alcohol Management Plan, youth suicide and Cherbourg’s recognition as the second most disadvantaged community in Australia…. but Ken has also seen the starting points of reform, the growth that has come from adversity, he has seen improving education and health outcomes driving a gradual turn around, growing strength and capabilities in the hearts and minds of our emerging elders.

In his final years of office, he recognised and praised the strength of our Cherbourg women, especially the women at The Ration Shed, church and hospital, it was at an International Womens Day event in 2014 he said “These are places that make you proud to be in Cherbourg,”.

It was at that time Mayor Bone suggested a woman should run for mayor: ‘It’s about time I retired and gave it to the ladies of the community, you can make a difference,” he said.

Ken loved his sport, his golf… and of course football, a proud Cherbourg Hornets Fan (and the Brisbane Broncos) 

Uncle Kenny is survived by his wife Marlene, nine children and six stepchildren.


Family and friends are warmly invited to attend Uncle Kenny’s Funeral Service being held at the Cherbourg Sports Grounds on Friday 15th July 2022 commencing at 11.00am. Family and community goodbye time will be held from 10.00am prior to the commencement of the service. Interment will be held at the Cherbourg cemetery following the service.

We are grateful for the life of Kenny Bone – his lifetime of achievements, the legacy he has left our community, may he rest Peacefully in the Dreamtime