Thursday, September 18, 2008
" In 1878 Mr. Patrick Bourke purchased land on the western side of Barr Street and during 1885, built the Victoria Hotel on that site. It was a two-storied brick building with an impressive verandah and balcony. Although this hotel had quite a number of licensees, Mr. Bourke retained the ownership and at the time of its closure in 1900 as the result of a local option poll, the license was held by his daughter, Mrs. Bridget Sheridan. Once it closed, the building became the family home until 1995 when it was completely demolished and the bricks reused to erect a new residence on the same land for Mrs. A. Einsporn, a great-grand-daughter of the original owner." page 57,
Close Sheridan family friend and fountain of knowledge about all things seeped in history in the Tungamah and Yarrawonga district is Lou Saunders Browning. She has given me two leads that I have yet to chase up..firstly, that in the years following the closure of the Victoria as a hotel, the building was let out to one of the Haebich ladies to use a a boarding house. Secondly, there was a rift between Paddy Bourke and his daughter Bridget about the money obtained at the hotel's closure, and the courts became involved. Both of these avenues of information require further research.
What we do know for sure, is that after marrying Paddy Sheridan in July of 1897, Bridget continued to manage the Victoria Hotel in Tungamah. At the age of 24, she gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Mary Frances, the following year.Mary was born on Friday, December 23, 1898, in the Victoria Hotel, Barr Street, Tungamah. Her 28 year old father, Patrick Sheridan, was noted as being an hotel keeper. No doctor attended the birth, but local woman "Mrs. Saunders" was named as the nurse who attended the birth. Mrs. Saunders must have acted in this midwife capacity for other Tungamah mothers, as she is also named as nurse for another birth on the same page as Mary's registration.
Just over 18 months later Bridget gave birth to her second child, my grandfather Patrick James Sheridan. He was born on Tuesday,May 29, 1900, also in the Victoria Hotel, and again Mrs Saunders assisted Bridget with the birth. Patrick Sheridan's occupation was still 'hotel keeper'.
With the closure of the Vic as a hotel in 1900, Bridget and her family moved to nearby Yarrawonga, and it was here that their third child and second son was born in 1902. Known as 'Jack', John Aloysius Sheridan was born on Thursday, February 20, 1902. Again no Doctor attended the birth, and the nurse was Mrs. C. O'Brien. Paddy Sheridan's occupation was still 'hotel keeper', and judging from the two photographs of Sheridan's Exchange Hotel already posted, it was here that John was born.
The Sheridan family remained in Yarrawonga for at least the next few years, as their next three children were born in 1904, 1905 and 1906. Margaret Sheridan was born on Sunday, February 9, 1904, at Yarrawonga. Mrs C. O'Brien was again midwife, but this time local doctor, Dr. Denis, also attended Bridget. Although the baby was born in Yarrawonga, when Paddy Sheridan registered the birth he signed his name 'P. Sheridan, father, Burramine'.
Just 22 hours later, on Monday February 10, 1904, little Margaret Sheridan died. She must have been a delicate baby from the beginning, as her cause of death was given as 'debility of 22 hours duration". She may have even been premature. Bridget and Paddy buried her on the same day as her death in the Yarrawonga Cemetery. Just a few weeks later her paternal Irish grandfather, Nicholas Sheridan, died of consumption at Yarrawonga and was buried in the same grave.
Just one day after the one year anniversary of Nicholas Sheridan's passing, his daughter-in-law Bridget Sheridan gave birth to her fifth child, this time a son whom they named William Thomas. William was born on Tuesday, February 28, 1905, at Yarrawonga. His father was noted as being a 34 year old labourer, and again Mrs. C. O'Brien attended Bridget in her labour.
Baby William had no more grip on this world than his sister Margaret... aged only three months, he contracted broncho-pneumonia during the cold winter months, and after an illness of 15 days he died. Dr. Denis had attended him on June 7, 1905, and William died on June 11. He was buried in the Yarrawonga Cemetery on June 13.
I can't imagine the anguish of Bridget at this time in her life. As a child herself she had witnessed the death of six of her eight siblings, and now had lost two babies of her own. At the time of baby William's death her other children were aged six (Mary), five (Patrick) and three (John).
Just over two months later Bridget fell pregnant with her sixth child. On Thursday, May 3, 1906, Bridget Alice Sheridan arrived, and this time all was well with both the pregnancy and baby. No doctor was in attendance, and Mrs. Brown acted as Bridget's midwife. Paddy Sheridan was a labourer, and the family were still living in Yarrawonga.
Bridget's and Paddy's final two children were born in Yarrawonga- Annie Teresa on March 19, 1909, and eighth child Peter Augustine on August 31, 1914.
The young Sheridan children attended the Convent School at Yarrawonga, but Mary Sheridan at least also had stints at Tungamah State School ( records show that she was enrolled here under the guardianship of her grandfather Paddy Bourke in c. 1908 when she was ten years old) and St. Columbia School at Berrigan.
The Sheridan family began to move around after the birth of Peter- postcards sent to Paddy Sheridan by his brothers serving in WW1 place him at Berrigan working for a Mr. M. Hickey, butcher. Another is addressed to him at Barooga. When Bridget died in 1963, her obituary stated that she and Paddy had managed hotels at Tungamah, Yarrawonga and Chiltern, but details on the latter have not yet been located. The Sheridans also moved interstate to NSW around the end of WW1, when Paddy conducted a butchers shop at Illabo, near Junee.
They returned eventually to the ex-Victoria in Tungamah, and remained there until they moved to live at Ascot Vale in Melbourne, with their son Patrick and his wife Mafra taking up residency in the old pub.
Daughters Bridget Alice and Annie Theresa moved to the city with their parents, and both obtained employment as confectioners until their marriages. Bridget had one blip on her life's radar, however, when she fell pregnant at the age of twenty, giving birth to a son named James Joseph Sheridan. ( His story is amazing in itself, and will be told at a later stage...suffice to say that his nickname within the family is "Jim the Crim", and that he met his end in a dark ally way in Sydney, shot with his own gun and dumped out of a car in 1967!)
Bridget Senior loved her grandson with a passion, and totally took over his upbringing. My grandmother, Mafra, related to me that Bridget had tried to pass the child off as one of Maf's and her husband's, in order to protect her daughter. It was of Maf's opinion that Jim's destiny was shaped from the very beginning as he was thoroughly spoiled by his grandmother, and that her indulgent treatment of him as a child shaped his adult disposition.
Bridget and her eldest daughter, Mary Sheridan, were very close, as was Mary's only child, Margaret Mallon, to her mother and grandmother. When Paddy Sheridan died in October of 1951, Bridget moved back to Tungamah where she lived with her eldest son, Patrick, and his family in their home, the old Victoria Hotel building.
One of Bridget's grandsons, my father Basil Sheridan, remembers the following about his grandmother:
" She was tall and wirey, and a top horsewoman. She used to tell us kids how as a girl she had ridden to dances all around the district on horseback, and how those dances would always be held on full moons so the riders could find their way safely in the moonlight."
Bridget Mary Bourke Sheridan lived with the Tungamah Sheridans until her death in 1963. I have no memories of her, having been a month short of my first birthday when she died.
My Great-grandmother Bridget Sheridan died in the Yarrawonga District Hospital on March 6, 1963, at the age of 89 years. She was buried in the Fawkner Cemetery, near Melbourne, with her husband, Paddy Sheridan.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Six months pregnant at the time, his mother Margaret must have been devestated, and when her last child arrived he was named John in honour of his lost eldest brother.
Tragedy wasn't finished with the Bourke family, however, and just eight days later baby John Bourke joined his five siblings in the Burramine cemetery. His uncle, John Mannix, and C. Molloy, were witnesses named at the burial
John died on June 17th, 1890, in the family home at Burramine. Just one week old, the cause of his death was given as 'enteritis' ( Inflammation of the intestines ). No doctor was given, but it was noted on his death certificate "Enteritis verdict at inquiry held by W.B Cairnes, Justice of the Peace, Yarrawonga, 18th June, 1890." The informant on the certificate was Police Constable A.J Robertson, number 4040, Yarrawonga, who was present at the magisterial inquiry.
I don't know the reason for such an inquiry...perhaps the baby's death was sudden or unexpected and there had been no time or reason to send for a doctor.
Little Margaret was not long for this world...she died aged only five months, of general debility and bronchitis, three weeks duration. For an unknown reason the death occurred in Kilmore, and when the baby's mother registered the death she signed her name "Margaret Bourke, mother, Kilmore'.
Margaret Bourke died at 5 a.m on the morning of January 23, 1888. Yarrawonga doctor, Dr. Denis, had last visited her on January 18th, presumably at Burramine. The baby was buried in the Kilmore cemetery on January 24, 1888.
Above: William Joseph Bourke, son of Paddy and Margaret Bourke.
Above and below: William Bourke appears back row, second from the left in both of these photographs of an unknown gathering.
Above: Priscilla beatrice Higgins Bourke and husband William Joseph Bourke with one of their children. Photo taken Buenos Aires.
Above: Two of the children of Bill and Prilly Bourke, either Billy or Vera (baby) and Maggie Bourke. Taken c. 1918-19, Bahia Blanca.
Above: A lovely family portrait of the three Bourke siblings...Vera, John and Maggie.
Above: Maggie, Billy and Vera Bourke, children of Bill and Prilly Bourke of Bahia Blanca.
Edward was born just a week after another Edward had paid a visit to his father's Burramine Hotel...Edward 'Ned' Kelly had 'borrrowed' Paddy Bourke's boat to get himself and his gang across the Murray and into NSW on their way to Jerilderie.
Edward's birth was never registered, but his baptism record exists. At the age of five months, Edward was baptised by Father J.J Egan, on July 8, 1879. His sponsors were his maternal Uncle, James Bourke, and James' wife Ellen McCluskey Bourke.
Little Ned started school at the age of 4 years and 5 months, at Tungamah State School. His date of admittance to the school was October 1883.
In the winter of the following year Ned Bourke fell ill with a condition that would kill him three weeks later. On July 17, 1884, in his Tungamah home, 5 1/2 year old Edward James Bourke died from inflammation of the brain. This condition usually related to either encephalitis (an acute inflammation of the brain, commonly caused by a viral infection) or meningitis (the inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord).
From a website devoted to "Old Time Doctor Treatments" comes the following information about symptoms and treatment of inflammation of the brain (http://www.doctortreatments.com/Inflammation-of-the-Brain.html
"The popular conception of this disease applies rather to another disease, inflammation of the membranes covering the brain, or meningitis. For it should be remembered that the brain itself, composed of nervous tissues, is surrounded by membranes which are not nervous tissues, but are simply coverings for the protection of the delicate structures of the brain. These coverings or membranes may become inflamed without involving seriously the brain underneath.For practical purposes, however, it is impossible to distinguish accurately between an inflammation of the brain and an inflammation of the membranous covering; in fact, in many instances the two are involved together.Symptoms: The disease usually begins abruptly, perhaps with a chill; there is intense pain in the head, redness of the face and eyes, vomiting, roaring in the ears, an excited, distressed look, and extreme sensitiveness to light, sound and movement. The pain may be felt over the entire head, or chiefly in certain limited portions of it.The eyebrows are usually contracted, in order to shield the eyes from the light, and sometimes the patient keeps his face buried in the pillow for the same purpose. Movement of the body or of the bed is apt to occasion unpleasant sensations. There may be delirium and convulsions, the latter especially in young children.Sometimes the delirium becomes a prominent symptom so early in the disease that the patient is considered insane. There is intense fever. After a day or two there may be an exaggeration of the head symptoms, the patient becoming so furious that it is necessary to confine his limbs in order to prevent him from injuring himself or others. After some hours, perhaps two or three days, there ensues what has been called the " stage of oppression." This case occurs when an exudation has taken place from the membranes of the brain, whereby this organ is compressed. The result is impairment, or even abolition, of many of the functions of the brain ; the pain in the head is decreased, or at least is not complained of; the extreme sensitiveness to light, sound and movement ceases ; the delirium disappears, and instead of it the patient is often stupid, or even unconscious ; paralysis of various parts of the body occurs ; this may result in the production of squint ; sometimes both pupils are contracted, or both dilated, or they may be unevenly contracted, the one large and the other small ; the respirations are slow and labored ; one arm or leg, or perhaps half the body, may become limp and powerless. If the disease terminate in recovery, these symptoms gradually disappear ; yet some of them are apt to persist for months, or even permanently. Thus there may be permanent impairment of vision or of hearing, or paralysis of various muscles. At other times the general bodily health may be recovered, but permanent impairment of the mind, even imbecility, may remain.In the majority of cases, death occurs usually in eight or ten days, sometimes within thirty-six hours. In these cases which terminate fatally so early the onset of the disease is not marked by the symptoms which have been described, for the patient seems to be overwhelmed as if by a large dose of opium. Almost from the first he lies stupid, almost unconscious, complaining little or not at all, and soon manifesting the signs of approaching dissolution.Treatment.-One of the first objects of treatment is to keep the bowels active. If the condition of the patient permit, free purging with some saline, such as the citrate of magnesia, may be employed ; but if, in consequence of delirium or obstinate vomiting it be not advisable to administer salts, a drop of croton oil may be placed upon the tongue. On the succeeding days smaller doses of the citrate of magnesia or half-drop doses of croton oil may be employed, so that the bowels may be kept free during the entire course of the disease.The head should be closely shaved and pounded ice applied to the scalp, enclosed in a bladder or an india-rubber bag. Care should be taken that the influence of the cold be distributed evenly over the entire head, and not limited to a single spot. If ice cannot be procured, cloths should be wet in cold water and applied to the head. In this case care should be taken to change these cloths every five or ten minutes, since otherwise they become warm and useless.There should also be used some means for causing the blood to circulate in the feet and limbs rather than in the head. For this purpose light mustard plasters may be applied to the soles of the feet and to the calves. Good results have indeed been obtained from immersion of the patient in a warm bath during the first two or three days of the disease.Care should also be taken to keep the room dark, and to avoid all unnecessary annoyance in the way of noise or bustle. The diet should be bland, and consist entirely of liquids.After the appearance of those signs which indicate that exudation has occurred in the brain - that is, after the patient becomes quiet and ceases to complain, the iodide of potassium may be given in doses of five grains three or four times a day in water. The scalp may also be painted with the tincture of iodine. During this stage it becomes necessary for the attendants to supply all the wants of the patient without waiting for him to express them. Thus he must be fed, and in most cases alcoholic stimulants are required to support the patient's exhausted powers. It is often also necessary to employ the catheter, since the patient will be unconscious of the necessity of evacuating the bladder.
Surprisingly, no doctor was recorded as having attended the little boy. Where there is usually recorded the doctor's name under "Medical attendant by whom certified and when he last saw the deceased" the information given is 'Not certified'.
Although Ned died in Tungamah, he was buried in the Burramine Cemetery on July 18, 1884.
Pat's early schooling was done at Burramine State School No. 1766. I have in my possession a small book called 'The Weaver of Quellbrun', which has glued on the inside cover a plate stating that nine year old Patrick Bourke had won second prize on May 24, 1882.
Another book, entitled 'The Three Magic Wands' was awarded to Pat when he was in 4th Class for 'General proficiency' by Tungamah State School teacher J.W Cooper, year unknown.
On December 10, 1886, 14 year old Patrick fell very ill with typhoid fever. Typhoid fever was a disease that was still very common in the 1880s, although after 1890 deaths due to the disease declined rapidly.
The main symtoms of typhoid fever were coughing, headaches, high fever, fatigue and abdominal pain. On about the seventh day of the illness a rash would appear and diarhorrea set in. Victims of typhoid fever would often die from complications such as internal haemorrhage, heart failure, pneumonia or even perforation of the bowel.
There was very little that either Pat's mother, or even Dr. Carr who attended him, could have done to help him. It was common practice in the 1800s to offer the patient a milk diet and try to bring down the fever, but in reality all a family of a person with typhoid fever could do was pray for recovery.
Prayers weren't enough for young Patrick Francis Bourke. In the presence of his family, Dr. Carr and Richard Martin, the district undertaker who also registered his death, Pat died on December 17, 1886, in his Burramine home.
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.
Above: The photo from which these hands were cropped has always moved me...Margaret Bourke is dressed in all of her finery for a photo with her daughter and grandchildren, yet the eye is immediately drawn to the crippled old hands which lay in her lap. I imagine the work that they would have carried out over their sixty-plus years...clearing virgin land on their Burramine selection, cooking,cleaning and sewing for her husband and family and nursing through their final illnesses six of her nine children who died before their time.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
My great-great grandmother, Margaret Bourke, was born to parents Patrick Bourke and Bridget Corbett on January 10, 1848, but was not baptised until almost a year later, on January 4, 1849. She was their first daughter, and followed sons James and John. Her place of birth was always thought to be Melbourne, prior to her parents moving to the Kilmore district, but her death certificate stated Mansfield.The abode of her parents on the above certificate is so difficult to read that I can't make it out.
I thought this discrepency warranted further investigation, so I purchased online the birth certificates of those children that Paddy and Margaret registered ( several of their nine children were never registered, including my great-grandmother, Bridget, and her siblings Michael, Edward and Margaret). The certificate of eldest son John in 1871 did not clear anything up...the quality of the certificate makes the birthplace of the mother difficult to read. It looks like "Margaret Bourke, formerly Bourke, aged 23, born at Devils River, Victoria." This location makes sense, as there is a location near Mansfield and Delatite called Devils River.
The birth certificate of second child, Patrick Francis Bourke,born 1872, states only that his mother was born in Victoria. The certificates for the next children in line, Bridget, Michael and Edward, are missing, but I have found the certificate for William Bourke in 1884, and it states that his 37 year old mother Margaret Bourke had been born at Delatite, Victoria. I have found no certificate for seventh child Margaret, but for Mary and John born in 1889 and 1890 respectively, Margaret Bourke's birthplace was 'Delatite'.
This information places a whole new spin on the movements of Margaret's parents when they arrived in Australia from county Tipperary. Her mother, Bridget Corbett, arrived in Melbourne in October of 1841 on board the ship 'Lysander' with her brother Michael Corbett. She was aged about 20, and Michael about 23.
It is unsure which ship her future husband Patrick Burke/Bourke arrived on, as there were several of the correct age arriving in Melbourne between 1840-1841. This includes two Patrick Bourkes on board the 'Lysander' in 1841...one aged 23 and one aged 28 ( birth years 1818 and 1813 approximately). There were also two young men named Patrick Burke on board the ship 'Duchess of Northumberland' in 1841- 26 years old and 18. I am not sure if the correct ship will ever be identified, as there seems to be no definite means of sorting one one Patrick Bourke from each of the other candidates.
Whatever the case, Bridget Corbett and Patrick Bourke were married at St. Francis Catholic Church, Melbourne, on April 24, 1843. Both had been residing at Newtown at the time of their marriage.Their first child John was born in Newtown on January 25, 1844.
Newtown was the name given in Melbourne's early history for the areas now known as Fitzroy and Collingwood.
Second child James was born at Eastern Hill on September 7, 1845. The "emelbourne.net.au" site provided the following information about Eastern Hill:
"Surveyor Robert Hoddle's street grid, aligned to the Yarra River, had as its horizontal bookends Batmans Hill at the western or Spencer Street end, and Eastern Hill to the east past Spring Street. More a rise than an eminence, in the town's early topography Eastern Hill was a pretty wooded hill, already becoming fashionable by 1840, and soon covered with neat cottages. At a distance from the commercial western hub of the town, East Melbourne would develop as the dormitory of professional Melbourne in the decades following the 1850s gold rush. "
It was over two years later that third child Margaret Bourke was born at Delatite, over 200 km north-east of Melbourne, located in a wide valley surrounded by mountain ranges.
It would be six long years before another child of Patrick and Bridget Bourke would be baptised, and no clues to tell us where the family was in the interim. Bridget Bourke was baptised at Kilmore on February 8, 1854, having been born on January 21st of the same year.
Six years is a very long period to go without children being born, and I actually believe that Bridget Corbett Bourke suffered a series of still births or similar during this period. In 1857, at the time of her son Timothy Bourke’s birth, his mother registered the event and told the Registrar that she had “four boys, 2 girls living; deceased 2 boys, 2 girls”.
When Patrick Bourke recorded the birth of his son, Patrick, in 1861, he described the four deceased children as being “three boys and one girl”. This discrepancy suggests that the babies were still born or died very soon after birth, and perhaps were not even named. No official trace has been found of these four babies, except for their mention on their brothers’ birth certificates.
The birth certificate of the last child, Nicholas, named his siblings as "John 20; James 18; Margaret 16; Bridget 14; Thomas 10; Edward 7 and Patrick 2." Their father Patrick Bourke gave the information, and in true father style, has totally mixed up the ages, and even the name of one child. The ages should have read " John 19; James 18; Margaret 15; Bridget 9; Thomas 8; Timothy ( not 'Edward') 6 and Patrick 2".
The early history of the Delatite district may help explain why Patrick Bourke and his young family were there in the 1840s.
The first white settlers to the Mansfield area during the squatting explosion of the late 1830's. Because there was no pasture improvement, large runs were needed to run profitable numbers of livestock, and squatters were always in search of good grazing land. In 1838 a company was formed in Scotland headed by the Marquis of Ailsa, and also included George Watson and a lawyer named Alexander Hunter Snr. In 1839 Watson and Alex Hunter Jnr. were sent as company representatives to take up land in Tasmania. However, they were quickly attracted to Port Phillip where they found good land at Keilor, and subsequently at 'Ballowra' at Seven Creeks near Euroa. Later in 1839 it is reported that an employee, Andrew Ewan, was despatched from 'Ballowra' to search for strayed horses. He crossed the Strathbogie Range, came down Merton Creek, found the horses, but more importantly recognised a green lush valley fed by some good streams. Immediately John Hunter and Hunter Campbell came to check out the location. The legend has it that they camped overnight below the Paps, close to the junction of the Delatite River and Brankeet Creek, and at night were so frightened by sounds of a corroboree being conducted nearby, that they called the spot Devil's River. As 'Ballowra' was already overstocked, the Hunters moved cattle and horses to this new run which they called 'Wappan' (after the Aboriginal name for the Delatite River, Wappang). By 1846 several other squatters had moved into Devil's River country including Chenery and Goodman on the other side of the Delatite River; David Waugh in the Piries area; Edward Bell a friend of the Hunters at Mimamaluke south of Mr Waugh's run; Wardrop & Clarke of Change; W.F. Arundel of Barjarg, (a cousin of the Hunters).
Bridget Corbett Bourke's brother, Michael Corbett, worked at Seven Creeks Station at Euroa after initially working at Woodstock near Kilmore ( he was living here in 1849 when he married Mary Wardle, also of Woodstock). There was also a report from an 1841 immigrant who wrote of the fellow passengers on his ship: “Many of the immigrants were under engagement to Hunter and Watson, the managers of the Marquis of Ailsa's station, at Mount Battery, Delatite, or, as then termed., Devil's River.” This 28th day of July, in 1841, I arrived in Melbourne per ship 'William Abrams', Hamlin commander, from Greenock, after a voyage of about 122 days. "
- from 'Reminiscence of a Pioneer' By J Wood-Beilby
This may all tie up with the reason why my Bourkes were living in the Delatite region around the late 1840s, prior to them moving to Bylands in the Kilmore district and finally Pine Lodge near Shepparton.