Kurt Fearnley humbled by Queen's honour

Emma Kemp
Champion wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley has been appointed Officer of the Order of Australia

Kurt Fearnley isn't the type of bloke to talk himself up.

When Australia's champion wheelchair racer crawled every inch of the gruelling Kokoda track he did it for the soldiers lost in World War II, for his family, charity, and all those Paralympians who came before him.

As he geared up to win April's Commonwealth Games T54 marathon gold in his final race in green and gold, he ensured the spotlight was firmly on others living with disabilities - "the guys who don't have the stage".

And when Fearnley became the first para-athlete to carry the Australian flag at a Commonwealth Games closing ceremony he even double-checked he was the right person for the job, then relished the enormity of what such a statement could do for the pride of a young kid in a wheelchair.

It's perhaps in his very nature then that the mischievously humble 37-year-old from Carcoar would consider himself somehow unworthy of being appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) as part of the Queen's Birthday honours.

"I'm never someone to feel like I really deserve it - I race wheelchairs and I do this thing that I love," Fearnley told AAP.

"And you try and give purpose to the racing, to contribute to the community ... and have conversations around disability.

"I hope I can earn this honour, because at the moment I feel I've had too much fun to consider the last couple of decades work.

"I do believe that when you get given these moments you embrace them and work your arse off to try and make sure that you earn it."

Fearnley is known for far more than his three Paralympic gold medals, multiple world titles and two Commonwealth golds as well as a slew of marathon victories worldwide.

His appointment recognises his distinguished service to people with a disability, support of Indigenous athletics and his extensive work with charitable organisations.

Also honoured is Australian swimming legend Dawn Fraser, who has been appointed the highest honour, a Companion in the Order of Australia (AC).

Former Test batsman and chairman of selectors John Inverarity and administrator Helen Brownlee have both been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Other sporting figures honoured include AFL great Bob Skilton, former rugby league player Max Krilich, Barton Sinclair and Anthony Bell, all of whom have been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).