Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke has been humbled to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the sport of sailing Picture: Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke has been humbled to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the sport of sailing Picture: Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island sailor receives prestigious accolade

AN ACCOMPLISHED sailor has been humbled after he was recognised for his services and contributions to the sport of sailing with a Queen's Birthday Honour.

Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke said he was extremely "humbled" to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on Monday.

The talented sailor was only three-years-old when his father planted the seeds of an Olympic dream into his mind.

Coached by his Olympic swimmer father on "every sport Dad knew a bit about" until he was 11-years-old, sailing eventually found its way to Mr Bourke's heart.

"Staring at the black line in the pool was pretty hard work and I turned to my dad one day and asked him 'is there a sport you don't know anything about' and he said sailing," Mr Bourke said.

"The boat just did it for me - there was an independence to it and something about the combination of intelligence and physicality it demanded attracted me to the sport for life."

Mr Bourke went on to forge a commanding competitive career in sailing, represented Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, won three consecutive Laser Class World Championships from 1988 to 1990 and competed in three America's Cups, among a long list of achievements.

Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke has been humbled to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the sport of sailing Picture: Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island CEO Glenn Bourke has been humbled to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the sport of sailing Picture: Hamilton Island

He said he had been very blessed to be able to take his love and passion for sailing into all facets of his life through coaching and administration roles, something he thought may have heavily contributed to his AM appointment.

"I've been able to not just have coached teams like the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games team, but youth groups and up and coming elite sailors," he said.

"I've also been blessed to have a lot of amazing jobs within sailing to help boost the sport, such as CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race and now my role with Hamilton Island."

"I think that is what made me unique for this award, I've been able to contribute to sailing in all three levels - as an athlete, coach and administrator."

The love and passion for sailing is something he brought to the Whitsundays with him when he took over Hamilton Island's top job in 2008.

He has been instrumental in continuing to grow the sport of sailing in the Whitsundays with the Hamilton Island Race Week and the Brisbane to Hamilton Island Race, as well as contributing at a grassroots level.

SAILING FORWARD: Glenn Bourke has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to sailing. Picture: Hamilton Island
SAILING FORWARD: Glenn Bourke has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to sailing. Picture: Hamilton Island

"On the island we've purchased some training dinghies for the youth to learn on and it's been heartwarming to see the strides they have made," he said.

Mr Burke had been "humbled" by the nomination for the award and said it was one of the more special occasions in his life.

However, the award was made even more special for him as he believed the person who nominated him was a Whitsunday businessman with no connection to the sport.

"You never know who nominated you unless they tell you, but I have a suspicion it was a Proserpine businessman who submitted my name," he said.

"Honestly, (the appointment) becomes even more meaningful when it's nominated by someone who isn't a part of the sport and comes from the Whitsunday community.

"I feel like I've packed 20 years into my 12 years in the Whitsundays and I'm part of the fabric of the place now.

"There's no better place in the world to sail than the beautiful Whitsundays, and that's what I will keep telling the world."