QUEENSLAND country rugby union legend Geoff Barton has been recognised in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday honours.
The Bargara-based 70-year-old is probably best known for his long association with the Queensland Outback Barbarians, which has taken talented rugby players from across country Queensland on bi-annual tours of the US and Canada.
“There are just so many talented blokes in the bush that who just weren’t getting the opportunity to experience what rugby has to offer,” Geoff said.
“Rugby really does have a global community and these young men not only make lifelong friends with their teammates but also with players from all over the world.
“Every town or city we go to everyone involved in rugby instantly has at least 15 new friends. That’s just the nature of rugby.”
What really inspires me is seeing young blokes coming from the bush and lifting their playing skills to a whole new level.
In fact Geoff was in Birmingham, Alabama, with the 2018 Outback Barbarians team when he received word he was in line for an Order of Australia Medal.
“I do it because I absolutely love it,” Geoff said.
“What really inspires me is seeing young blokes coming from the bush and lifting their playing skills to a whole new level.
“It is just such a special feeling to be recognised for being part of this wonderful sport.”
The Outback Barbarians have a remarkable record on the field. The team has lost only four of more than 60 games played across North America since 2008.
The former senior detective inspector also served as a selector for Queensland Country for 12 years and was a instrumental in the restructuring rugby union of Rockhampton in the 1990s.
Geoff was also the manager of the Rockhampton Brahmans representative side for 10 years in the 1990s.
As Queensland Police officer for 35 years, Geoff was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in 1981.