Simon Burke began his career at the age of 12, starring in Michael Cove's Kookaburra; a painful look at a dysfunctional working-class family, focusing particularly on an almost autistic young boy. Soon after at the age of 13, Burke starred in Fred Schepisi's acclaimed feature film The Devil's Playground for which he won the AFI Award for Best Actor at the Australian Film Institute Awards. He remains the youngest person ever to be honoured with this award. Since then he has enjoyed great success both in Australia and internationally in film, television, stage, concert appearances and cabaret.In 2014, Simon starred in Matchbox Pictures/NBC-Universal's highly acclaimed mini-series Devil’s Playground in which he reprised the role of Tom Allen that he created as a 13-year-old. He is the co-creator and executive producer of the project, which this year won both the AACTA and Logie Awards for Most Outstanding Telefeature or Mini-Series.He has since starred in numerous film, television and theatre productions in Australia and the UK. He starred as Captain Georg von Trapp in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium alongside Connie Fisher and then Summer Strallen. He also played the role of Mr Banks in Mary Poppins in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Auckland.Burke was Federal President of Actors Equity Australia 2004–2014. He is currently a Vice President of the International Federation of Actors (FIA), a global federation of performers' trade unions, guilds and professional associations.On 10 September 2015, at the Queens Birthday Honours ceremony presided over by the Governor of New South Wales, General David Hurley, Burke was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) with the following citation: "For distinguished service to the performing arts as an actor, singer and producer, and through senior advocacy roles for performers' rights and access to professional development and education programs."
In 2016 he publicly identified himself as being gay.