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                                                    JOHN    BOURKE

 John Bourke was born around 1816 in Crough, County Limerick Ireland.   His parents William Bourke and Mary Anne Dee were  farmers.   John's siblings were Michael born about 1822   Edward,  Eliza and Hannah, of whom nothing is known, it is thought that Edward, Eliza and Hannah may have emigrated to the United States of America. John Bourke was tried on the 5th of March 1839 for administering  an unlawful oath

The following excerpt was taken from the Limerick Chronicle dated March 6th 1839

                              John Burke and Patrick Crofts were indicted for
                            administering an unlawful oath to Dorah Piper, on 23rd
                            October last, while searching for firearms , and in another
                            count for stealing a bayonet, the property of John Piper,
                            near Adair.
                            Mary Raleigh sworn, examined by Mr. McDermott, stated she
                            lived with her uncle, John Piper on the day of last
                            October, between 12 and one o'clock in the day, some persons
                            came to her uncle's house, knew the prisoners to be among
                            them - identified them,
                            Burke came into the house first, and asked if Mr. Piper
                            lived there, Crofts came in after him, remained smoking
                            awhile, Burke whispered to Crofts, he then said, "come
                            Mistress, have you got any arms?"She said not, Crofts then
                            drew out a pistol and
                            cocked it, he had a pair of pistols in each pocket, he then
                            went into the bedroom and found a bayonet, he went into the
                            loft and was looking for a gun, noticed his dress
                            particularly, and described it.
                            He swore he would have murder of a gun, she said she had
                            not one, Crofts bid Burke to swear her, Burke went to
                            Crofts for the pistol when she refused to take to oath, he
                            then put the bayonet to her side and swore he would run her
                            through if she did not
                            take it, she was then obliged to swear there were no
                            firearms in the house, Burke asked her, on her oath, were
                            there any arms at Mr. Delmege's, she did not to the best of
                            her opinion.
                            Dorah Piper sworn - This witness deposed to the facts
                            exactly as stated by the former witness.
                            Michael Slattery, policeman, sworn - knows the prisoners,
                            searched for them on the night of 23 October, found them in
                            company with three others playing cards at widow Beston's
                            house, found four shillings in Burkes's pocket, he wore the
                            same dress as
                            described bye Mrs. Piper and Mary Raleigh. It was produced
                            in court and agreed with their description.
                            John Shear sworn - Recollects the 23 October last, had
                            Crofts employed digging potatoes that day, he came to work
                            in the morning and remained until 3 o'clock in the day.
                            Edward Donohue was sworn to prove an alibi for Burke. Mr.
                            Michael Potter, gave the prisoner Crofts an excellent
                            character, he said he lived with him for 15 years and found
                            him very well conducted.
                            John Boyse, Esq. Swore he knew Crofts for 25 years and knew
                            him to be a quiet and well behaved man.
                            His Lordship said there was positive evidence that the
                            prisoners having administered an unlawful oath, and stolen
                            a bayonet, the defence of the prisoners was an alibi, and
                            that was the line of defence, which to render it effective,
                            should be accurate
                            as to the, minute as to circumstances, and perfectly
                            The Jury retired for a few minutes, and returned with a
                           verdict of guilty against both prisoners.

 John was transported on board the Augusta Jessie, from Dublin to Norfolk Island   in 1839. On his transportation records it states that   he   was 5ft 71/2 inches tall, was 26 yrs of age, Catholic, Single and could read  and write.  He was sentenced to 7 years.  After serving his sentence John travelled to Tasmania on board the Maitland On his permission to marriage request, he states his  convict number as 11863                    


 John Bourke married Maria Frances Little (born about 1828 in Sligo Town Sligo Ireland) on the 23rd September 1845 in St Josephs Catholic Church Hobart Tasmania, Australia.                  

 John and Maria moved to the Bellarine Peninsula where they had   14 children.  William 1 47 - 1896, Anne 1848 - 1932, James 1851 - 1883, Thomas 1852 - 1931, Mary Anne 1855 - 1875, John Thomas  1856 - ?, Robert James 1858 - 1942, Hugh 1860 - 1931, Stephen  1862   - 1936,Elizabeth Ada 1864 -1938, Michael 1867 - ?, unnamed   female 1868 - 1868, Edmund 1870 - 1870, Maria Alice 1872 - 1959

John Bourke, his father in-law Thomas Little and a man by the   surname of Lynch (connected to the Bourke's and Littles through marriage) had quite a bit of land according to the Bellarine Rate Book                                                       

After leaving the Geelong area John Bourke and his family settled   in the Burramine/Boosey area.  William Bourke (Johns eldest son)  stayed behind in Geelong.  The Bourke family held quite a bit of  land in the Boosey and Burramine district.