Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back to the children of Lawrence Bourke & Hannah Mulcahy

Where were we before I got sidetracked by the fascinating story of Lawrence and Hannah's grandson, John Meagher?.....having mentioned John Meagher, only son of three children born to Hannah Bourke before she died at the age of 31, I failed to mention briefly the two daughters of Hannah- Honora Catherine and Mary Frances Meagher.Hanora (known as 'Nora')married dentist John Grattan Thompson in St. Kilda in 1906. Mary married John James Evans in 1915 and died in South Yarra in 1951, aged 67.
Of John Meagher's life after he was acquitted of his wife's murder, I can find no details.

The sixth child of Lawrence and Hannah Bourke, Bridget Bourke was born at Campbellfield in 1856. In 1877 she married John Sylvester Daley from County Cork. Bridget died in Queensland on
July 25, 1927. The details on her death certificate are as follows:
Bridget Daley, home duties, died July 25, 1927, Waverley Street, Southport, Queensland; female; 71 years; cause of death morbus cordis; parents Lawrence Bourke & Hannah Mulcahy. Informant: Mary Dietz, sister, Waverley Street, Southport; buried Southport Cemetery July 26, 1927; witnesses at burial Thomas Wain, Ralph Johnson; minister W D Goggan, Roman Catholic; native of Campbellfield, Victoria; Married Coburg, Victoria, at the age of 21 years to John Daley; No issue living or deceased.

Mary Bourke was the sixth daughter and seventh child born to her mother, Hannah Mulcahy, and Hannah's husband Lawrence Bourke.She was born in Campbellfield in 1858.
On November 24, 1885, in Richmond, Mary Bourke married Arthur William Robertson. The announcement in the Argus read:
"ROBERTSON-BOURKE: On the 24th inst. at St Ignatius Church, Richmond, by the Rev. J. Mulhall S.J., Arthur William Robertson, to Mary Josephine,sixth daughter of the late Lawrence Esq; M.P., J.P., Kilmore." - Argus, Thursday, November 26, 1885.
Arthur was a commission agent and lived at 14 Clifton Street, Richmond.There is a reference in the Brisbane Courier of him having been residing in South Brisbane and working as a commission agent in April of 1886.
  Poor Arthur took his own life by hanging in July of 1897. Following is a report of the tragic event:

"Suicide of Mr. Arthur W. Robertson. Quite a thrill of sorrow and regret ran through every heart in our town on Wednesday afternoon last, when it became known that Mr. Arthur William Robertson, journalist, had committed suicide by hanging himself. R. Locke rays that " sorrow is uneasiness in the mind upon the thought of the good lost, which might have been enjoyed longer." Such was the feeling at the loss of our friend. Three weeks ago Mr. Robertson took ill, but during last week appeared much better, and was able to get about again, and appeared as usual, in good spirits, although rather weak. But, as one writer says, "many a heart and countenance wear a semblance of gladness, only to conceal its deep sorrow." We cannot always Judge of man by what he seems. Looking at the sea of life we forget the eddying whirlpools and treacherous reefs and brooding storms. We cannot let all that looks happy pass for unmingled joy. On Tuesday when people shook hands with Mr. Robertson, and asked him how he was getting on, he cheerfully answered first-class, and stated that he expected to be all right in a short time. All through it appears he showed the bright-side when any inquired about his health, which he inwardly knew was completely lost, for within a few days prior to his death Mr. Robertson was aware that he was suffering from Bright’s disease, and that it was only a matter of a short time before he must say goodbye to all earthly things. This evidently preyed very much upon his mind, and we are told that every man feels that there never ware such experiences of life as his own. No joy ever like his joy, and no sorrow like his sorrow, and Henry W. Beecher says that our own troubles are like a storm bursting right overhead, and sending down its bolts with direct plunge. Such must have been the case of our departed friend when the idea of suicide entered his mind, and we ask the question that others have asked, via.: Can the power that kills be the same that is killed ? Must It not necessarily be something superior and surviving ? The act of the soul, which in that fatal instant is in one sense so great an act of power, and it at the same time prompt its own annihilation? The will kills the body, but who kills the will? and man says "I am weary and tired of life."

  Mr. Robertson was born in Edinburgh in 1858, but came out to Australia twenty years ago. He first studied for a doctor, but whilst in Queensland he met with a nasty accident through a horse falling on him, the result of which necessitated his left arm being amputated. He then abandoned the idea of following the medical profession, and some time later connected himself with newspapers, and for a considerable time was connected with the Country Press Association. About six months ago he entered into partnership with Mr. Hodges, of the "Morwell and Yinnar Gazette," and since his advent into this district has taken a likely interest in sports meetings, and everything that tended for the advancement of the district. He was a man who always spoke his mind and was highly respected by all who knew him, and it could be said that he was a "jolly good fellow."

  The deed was committed in the kitchen of his private residence, about 12.30 in the afternoon. It appears Mrs. Robertson had gone to get some medicine from the doctor, leaving the house about ten minutes past 12 o'clock.

 Somewhere about the same time Mr. Frank Rowell called with the baker's cart, and Mr. Robertson put his head round the corner and cried out " We don't want any bread to-day." We are not quite sure whether Mrs. Robertson had "then left or not, but we are of opinion that she had. Shortly after Mrs. Robertson and the baker had left, Mr. Robertson must have commenced his work. It would appear that he first took the cord off his dressing gown and then got a chair and fastened the cord to a beam about eight and a half feet from the floor, he then took two bricks from the fireplace and placed them on top of a box; he must then have stood on top of the bricks and slipped his head into the noose, and jumping off the bricks strangled himself.

  Sometime before one o'clock Mrs. Robertson returned and was horrified to find, when entering the kitchen, her husband hanging by the cord apparently dead. She screamed very loudly and cut the cord immediately. Her cries attracted the attention of the neighbours who were on the scene in a moment, but it was all too late,-poor Robertson was quite dead,-and there is little more to say of the sad affair. Up to the present not a line has been found giving any clue as to the reason which prompted him to commit the rash act nor is any cause known, beyond that it is supposed his disease had preyed upon his mind and so upset him. Much sympathy is expressed for Mrs. Robertson in her sad bereavement, also for Mr. Hodges in losing such an energetic partner. Deceased's remains will be interred in the local cemetery today when all friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral which will leave his late residence at 2 p.m.

A magisterial inquiry touching his death, was held yesterday before Mr. E. Kelleher, J.P., when the following depositions were taken:

Mary Josephine Robertson on her oath deposed, I have seen the body lying in the next room, and recognise it as that of my late husband, Arthur William Robertson. He had been sick for a few weeks. Yesterday morning he complained about pains in his head. At about 12 noon yesterday I went to the Post Office for letters, I returned in about three quarters of an hour. On entering the kitchen I found deceased hanging by a cord from a beam in the kitchen. The cord produced is the same; it was used by him on his dressing gown. I cut him down, and he appeared to be quite dead. I have noticed that deceased was depressed at times.

Isaac Hayward, duly swore, said, I am a carpenter, residing in Morwell. On the 7th of the present month I heard screams from the residence of Mr. A. W. Robertson, and I went over to the house. In the kitchen I saw deceased reclining on the flour, and Mrs. Robertson holding up his head. I saw the cord produced hanging on a beam in the kitchen. The other portion was round deceased's neck, but loose. I examined the cord and saw that it had been out through. I have seen the body lying in the next room, and recognise it as that of A. W. Robertson.

 I removed the body from the kitchen to his bedroom, and took the cord off his neck ; he was then quite dead.

 Dr. William Moir on oath deposed: I am a legally qualified medical man in practice at Morwell. I have seen the body lying in the next room, and recognise it as that of A. W. Robertson. I had been attending him professionally for nearly three weeks for gastroenteritis with jaundice and uraemia. I last saw him on Friday-until recently he had been improving.
  I was called to see him on the 7th about 1.15 p.m. I found the body laid out on the bed, life extinct, the body quite warm, and he had been dead not more than an hour. The complaint that deceased suffered from might, with other things, tend to affect him mentally. On the neck there was a grove running obliquely upwards and backwards, behind the angle of the jaw and the lob of the ear, discoloured and ecchymosed at the bottom of the grove and livid at the margins, and mucous exuding from the nostrils.

The cord produced would cause the mark described. Them were no signs of other injuries about the body, except a slight bruise on the right leg, one under the knee, and one on the outside of the right leg. The appearance would indicate that death was caused by hanging.

A verdict was returned that deceased came by his death from strangulation by hanging himself by the neck, with a cord, from a beam at his residence at Morwell, on the 7th day of July, 1897, there being no evidence to show the state of deceased's mind at the time."
-Morwell Advertiser,  Friday 9 July 1897 

After her husband's death, Mary Josephine married for a second time. She married Charles Beitz in Queensland in 1900.
8. Sophia Watson Bourke.
Sophia Bourke was born at sea on board the vessel 'Sophia' on January 8, 1860 near, according to her marriage certificate, Victoria.She was baptised on February 20, 1860, at Coburg, a suburb of Melbourne.
She married Charles Alexander, an English-born schoolmaster, on July 22, 1885, at the age of 25. Like her sisters Mary and Kate, Sophia was married at St. Ignatius Church, Richmond, by Reverend Mulhall.
Charles's usual residence was given as Tenterfield, Queensland, and Sophia's as Richmond. Charles was the son of James Alexander, farmer, and Eliza Carter.He was born in South Wraxall, Wiltshire, on April 17,1858.
Witnesses at the marriage ceremony were Sophia's eldest sister, Margaret Lewis, and her brother-in-law-to-be Arthur Robertson(who married Sophia's sister Mary four months later).
Charles took his bride to Queensland, where the couple had four children:
1886: Charles Beresford Alexander
1888: Kathleen Eliza/Elizabeth Alexander.Born March 15, Milbong, Queensland.
1890: James Alexander.Newspaper reports that he was born on May 3, 1890, at Milbong, Queensland. Died 1892
1892: Lillian Alexander. Died 1893.

Sophia suffered a double tragedy in 1893, losing not only her youngest daughter Lilian, but also her husband Charles.Charles Alexander died in Queensland on August 21, 1893, aged 36.
Sophia and her remaining son and daughter remained in Queensland rather than return to Sophia's native Victoria. When War broke out in 1914, her 28 year old son Charles Beresford Alexander was quick to join up. He enlisted in Warwick, Queensland, with the 2nd Light Horse. His enlistment forms gave his occupation as 'grazier' and his next of kin as his mother, Sophia Alexander. His description was:
Blue eyes, black hair, fair complexion, five feet six inches tall.
Charles embarked at Brisbane on the ship 'Star of England' on September 24, 1914.Just over six months later he was Cairo, Charles contracted measles, and the complication of pneumonia set in whilst he was in hospital. He died on April 7, 1915,at Heliopolis, Egypt, aged 28 years, and was buried in the British Cemetery at Cairo.
Sophia Bourke Alexander was left with one daughter...Kathleen Eliza Alexander. Kathleen married Richard Thomas Lawler (son of William Lawler and Margaret McCann) in Warwick,Queensland, on April 24, 1918.She had lived in a little town called Greymare,near Warwick,for many years with her mother.Sophia and Kathleen were both buried in the Warwick Cemetery when they died:

Warwick Memorial Cemetery:
Alexander, Sophia. Died July 29, 1940, aged 80 years.
Alexander, Charles. Died 7 April, 1915,Egypt, aged 29. Trooper.

Lawler, Kathleen E. Died July 31, 1974, aged 86.
Lawler, Richard Thomas, died August 19, 1945, aged 72.

Consulting old Queensland Electoral Rolls and directories, it is interesting to note that, like her husband, Sophia Bourke Alexander was also a teacher, as was her daughter Kathleen until her marriage.

Queensland Teachers Index 1907-1920.
Sophia Alexander (Mrs)
School: Toolburra State School
Left service
Date: May 1919

Kathleen Alexander
Date: November 1911
School: Beebo State School

Kathleen Alexander
Date: August 1912
Transfer from Beebo State School to Thane.

Kathleen Alexander
Date: March 1918: Left service from Thane State School

Post Office Directories:
Greymare (aka 'Gray Mare): Darling Downs district. 169 miles from Brisbane.
1900: Sophia Alexander, teacher

1915: Sophia Alexander, teacher
C. Alexander selector
R.T Lawler selector

Electoral Rolls:

1913: Sophia Alexander, living Graymare School,Occ: school teacher
Charles Beresford Alexander, Graymare, farmer
Kathleen Elizabeth Alexander, Graymare, home duties.
Richard Thomas Lawler, Greymare, farmer

1922: Sophia Alexander, living Graymare school, school teacher
Kathleen Elizabeth Lawler, Greymare, home duties
Richard Thomas Lawler, Greymare, farmer

1934: Sophia Alexander, Gray Mare, home duties
Kathleen Elizabeth Lawler, Greymare, home duties
Richard Thomas Lawler, Greymare, farmer

The Queensland Intestacies, Insolvencies and Wills 1859-1900 has the following two entries:
Charles Alexander
Residence: Plainview, Westbrook, Qld
Occ: State School Teacher.
Intestacy, Brisbane Court.
September 9, 1893.

Surname: Alexander
Given Name: Sophia
Residence: Plainview, Westbrook
Country: Queensland, Australia
Notes: Widow
Type: Intestacy
Secondary: Not the primary name in notice
Court: Brisbane
Date: 9 September 1893


Kate Bourke was born in 1862, the last of nine children born to Lawrence Bourke and Hannah Mulcahy, and their eighth daughter.In 1886, aged 24, Kate married Michael Joseph Tobin. The Argus report read as follows:
"MARRIAGE: TOBIN-BOURKE. On the 6th inst. at St. Ignatius Church, Richmond, by the Rev. J. Mulhall, Michael Jospeh Tobin, eldest son of E.O.M Tobin, Esq, of Wangaratta, to Kate Veronica, youngest daughter of the late Lawrence Bourke Esq, MLA, J.P., of Kilmore".- Argus, Thursday, July 8, 1886.
Michael Joseph Tobin was the son of Edmond Omahoney Tobin and his wife Johanna Mary Ryan(married Victoria 1859).Edmond was the son of Michael Tobin and Mary O'Mahoney, and died in 1892 aged 60.
As far as I can locate, Kate and Michael had seven children:
1887: Francis Edmond Tobin born Carlton.
c. 1888: Kate Veronica Tobin. Died 1906, aged 18.
1891: Ruby Tobin born South Melbourne
1892: Ileen Tobin born Richmond. Died Richmond 1892.
1893: John Tobin born Albert Park. Died 1892.
1894: William Tobin born Albert Park. Died 1895 Albert Park.
1896: Percy John Tobin born Albert Park. Died 1972, aged 76

In about 1906, Michael Tobin deserted his family, leaving Kate to bring up Frank,19; Ruby 15 and Percy 10. Daughter Kate had died around the same time as her husband's desertion, aged 18 years.

The Electoral Rolls give the following information about some of Kate Bourke Tobin's family over the years:NOTE: Although Michael Tobin left his family, he was never far away, remaining in Albert Park for many years until he ended up in the Benevolent Asylum in Cheltenham for the last years of his life.

1909: 80 Victoria Ave, Albert Park
Kate Tobin, home duties
Francis Tobin, labourer

Michael Tobin, 47 Dundas Place,Albert Park,
gas stoker

1914:Albert Park.
Frank Tobin, 37 Moubray Street, labourer
Kate Tobin, " , home duties
Ruby Tobin, " , machinist

Michael Joseph Tobin, 47 Dundas Place, Albert Park, Foreman.

1919:14 Page Street, Albert Park
Kate Tobin, home duties
Percy John Tobin, soldier

Michael Joseph Tobin, 120 Bridgeport St, South Melbourne, foreman

1924: 12 Duke Street, Balaclava, St. Kilda
Percy John Tobin, storeman
Annie Tobin, home duties
Kate Tobin, home duties

Michael Joseph Tobin, 1290 Bridgeport Street, Sth Melb, foreman

Ruby Jospehine Gray, 12 Duke Street, Balaclava, St. Kilda, home duties
Sydney James Gray, " storeman

1931: 63 Clyde Street, Balaclave, St. Kilda
Percy John Tobin, storeman
Annie Tobin, home duties
Kate Veronica, home duties
Ruby Jospehine Gray, home duties
Sydney James Gray, storeman

Michael Joseph Tobin, M.B.A (Melbourne Benevolent Asylum), Cheltenham, nil

1936: 16 Havelock Street,Balaclava, St. Kilda
Kate Veronica Tobin, home duties
Ruby Josephine Gray, home duties
Sydney James Gray storeman

Percy John Tobin, 44 Dalgety Street, Balaclava, St. Kilda, storeman
Annie Tobin, " , home duties

Michael Joseph Tobin, Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, Cheltenham,nil occupation.

1937: 16 Havelock Street,Balaclave, St. Kilda
Kate Veronica Tobin, home duties
Ruby Josephine Gray, home duties
Sydney James Gray, storeman

1942: Alfred Street, Ferntree Gully Upper
Kate Veronica Tobin, home duties
Ruby Josephine Gray home duties
Sydney James Gray, storeman
Percy John Tobin, storeman
Annie Tobin, home duties

From these entries it can be seen that Kate Bourke Tobin was supported by her children after her husband's desertion, always living with either (or both)of the families of her daughter Ruby Gray and surviving son Percy.

With the advent of WW1, both of Kate Tobin's sons joined up. Eldest son, Francis Edmond, known as Frank, joined first, having been a clerk prior to the war.His war record as found on the National Archives site is 116 pages of fascinating reading.They include everything from reports of his discharge after being sent home from overseas as being unfit for duty, to the character references written by his commanding officers when he reinlisted, and a letter from his mother explaining why her husband should not receive Frank's war medals after he wrote and requested them.I will include a few of the pages from Frank's file in the next blog entry.
Sadly, Frank was killed in action in France on April 11, 1917, when he was shot in the chest by German soldiers.Kate's only remaining son, Percy, was also serving overseas at the time of his brother's death, and Kate wrote to the Army to try to get him sent to England where he could serve out the duration of the war without being close to the action. The War Department did one better for the grieving mother...they brought Percy back home to Australia and discharged him from further service.
Kate Veronica Tobin lived at her daughter Ruby's house in Ferntree Gully for the years leading up to her death in 1943,aged 81.Her estranged husband Michael Joseph Tobin died in 1939, aged 78 years.

1 comment:

Louise said...

Lovely to see my great uncle Jack (John James Evans), who married Mary Frances Meagher, mentioned there. Very interesting blog. Cheers, Louise (