John Bourke was born at Kilmore on November 17, 1870, the first child born to 26 year old Paddy Bourke and his 23 year old wife Margaret. He was aged only 3 or 4 years when his parents, grandmother, uncles and aunt all took up selections in the parishes of Burramine and Boosey in North-east Victoria.
The first school to open in the Burramine district was the Burramine State School in 1876, so John would have been amongst the first children to attend the school. he also attended Tungamah State School for a period in the 1880s when his family resided in Tungamah for a few years.
John never got the opportunity to take a real interest in his father's farming or business pursuits...he died just four months after his 19th birthday.
John Bourke, eldest son of Paddy and Margaret, died on March 26, 1890, and the following day joined his brothers Edward and Patrick and sister Margaret in the Burramine Cemetery. His cause of death was given as " Albuminuria (the presence of excessive protein -chiefly albumin but also globulin- in the urine; usually a symptom of kidney disorder) 2 years, and haemic convulsions, 2 days. He had been treated by local Yarrawonga doctor, Dr. Denis, who had last attended John the day before his death.