Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Michael Bourke, fourth child of Paddy & Margaret Bourke.

Michael Bourke, the fourth child and third son born to Paddy & Margaret, was born on January 27, 1877, at Burramine, Victoria. (I should have been covering the third child, Bridget Mary Bourke, in this position, but since there is more information to deliver about my great-grandmother, I am leaving her until the end). He and Bridget are pictured above.
Michael was baptised on June 6, 1877, by Father J.J. Egan. His sponsors were his Uncle, Michael Bourke, and his father's only sister, Ellen Bourke. His birth was never officially registered.
Michael grew up in the Burramine and Tungamah districts, receiving his education at both Burramine and Tungamah State Schools. As a boy he shared his family's love of horses and horse racing, and had ample opportunity to indulge in both as his father ran the Burramine races for many years and bred and owned a large number of horses.
As an adult, 'Mick', as he was known, was an excellent bushman, able to live comfortably off the land whenever required. Family stories attributed this talent to the many hours that Michael spent as a boy learning from the Aboriginals who still lived along the Murray River at Burramine.
Maf Sheridan, the wife of Michael Bourke's nephew Patrick Sheridan, told me that as a young man Mick was an outgoing fellow who loved dancing and attended any social function in the area. After a visit to the barber's shop on one occasion, however, Michael developed a severe 'barber's rash' which never left him. He became very secluded, and refused to attend dances again. He wore a beard for the rest of his life, but never grew out of his embarrassment, and remained a bachelor.
Mick Bourke shunned the introduction of the motor car, and travelled everywhere by pushbike. He even frequently rode his bike from Burramine, Tungamah or Cobram ( where he later lived) to Melbourne, sleeping under bridges along the way.
After completing his schooling, Michael became a farmer, presumably on his father's Burramine property. With his mother, Michael was named as one of the executors of his father's will. In 1919, four years after his father's death, a transfer of land document stated that Michael Bourke was a farmer of Burramine.
Mick Bourke spent his latter years at Cobram. he died at 'Lisieux', a private hospital in Cobram, on Sunday October 21, 1945, at the age of 68 years. he was buried in the Cobram Cemetery the following day, in Roman catholic block number 474. The Cobram Cemetery register states:
" Michael Bourke, pensioner, 68 years, born Burramine" , and the register was signed by J.A Hanrahan, who was also a coffin bearer at Michael's funeral.

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