Friday, 28 February 2020

Thomas Bourke - a wedding anniversary and an obituary

Thomas Bourke was the son of Michael Bourke (c. 1814 - 1877) and his wife Catherine (also known as Kitty, nee Kelly, 1819-1910). They arrived in Melbourne in 1839 and settled on Minton's Run,  a property of 12, 800 acres on the Toomuc Creek in Pakenham in 1843. Around 1850, they established the La Trobe Inn, more commonly known as Bourke's Hotel. Michael and Catherine had the following children* -  James (born 1839), John (1840), Thomas John (1843), Mary Anne (1844), Michael James (1845), Catherine Agnes (1846), Daniel (1848), Mary Lucy (1850), Ellen (1851), Milo Peter (1853), David Joseph (1859), Margaret Frances (1860), Cecelia (1862) and Agnes (1864).

Bourke's Hotel, the La Trobe Inn, photographed in 1909.

The Bourke family have made  a major contribution to the civic, sporting and community life of Pakenham and surrounding areas. I came across this obituary of Thomas Bourke in The Advocate, the Catholic newspaper published in Victoria from 1868 to 1990. The obituary was in issue of March 7, 1929, see it here.

On February 27, at his residence, "Snowview," Pakenham, Mr. Thomas Bourke, the eldest surviving member of one of the pioneer families of the Pakenham district, passed away. The parents of Mr. Bourke came to Australia from Shanagolden, in Limerick, in 1838, and Thomas, the third son, was born in Moonee Ponds in 1842. Later, the family took up land in Pakenham, and settled in the Toomuc Valley, transferring their residence after a while to an old landmark, still known as Bourke's Hotel, a typical village inn on the main Gippsland-road and a busy place of call on the old coaching and stock routes, long before the building of the Gippsland railway.

Thomas and Jane Bourke and family
Photo courtesy of Mary Garry
Back row – Milo Patrick (1882-1966)  John Stephen (1876-1969) Thomas (1842-1929)  Michael Francis (1878-1963)
Front Row - Joanna Agnes (1883 - 1935, married John Carney)  Jane Mary (1849 - 1931, nee Smith )  Bride (1881 - 1931, nee O’Callahgan, wife of Michael)
In 1875 Mr. Bourke was married to Miss Jane Mary Smith, of the Pakenham district, whose parents had also come from Shanagolden. The young couple settled down on land selected by Mr. Bourke some time previously. His brothers and sisters one by one moved away from Pakenham and he alone of the thirteen children who had  survived to adult life ended his days in the original home to which he had brought his young wife over fifty-three years before.

Snowview, Pakenham.  
The home of Thomas and Jame Bourke and their family.
Photo courtesy of Mary Garry

As a public man Mr Bourke will be best known for his association with the Berwick Shire Council, of which he was many times president, and a member for forty-five years. During most of that time he went on horseback from his home at "Snowview" to attend the meetings at Berwick, and it was only through advancing age that he resigned from the council some sixteen years ago.

For the past two years the deceased gentleman had, with but rare intervals, been practically confined to his room, but it was not until the last fortnight that it was realised his end could not be far off. He remained, however, perfectly free from pain, and conscious till the last. Fortified by the sacred rites of the Church, of which he was a simple childlike member, he gently passed away on the morning of February 27.

On Friday, March 1, a Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul was said in St. Patrick's Church, Pakenham, by his eldest son, Rev. J. S. Bourke, S.J. There were present the widow of the deceased, his daughter (Mrs J. Carney), and his sons (Messrs. Michael and Milo Bourke). Every family in the Pakenham and surrounding districts was represented at the obsequies, and many travelled from the city and elsewhere, to pay their last tribute of respect to an old friend.

Amongst the chief mourners were present also his surviving brother, Mr. D. Bourke, and Mrs. Bourke, and their sons, Messrs. William, Robert, George, and Daniel Bourke; his nephews Messrs. H. and M. Bourke, of Monomeith Park; Mr. Michael Bourke, of Kyabram: and Mr. R. Billings; his sisters. Mrs. Billings, Mrs. McKeone, Mrs. Coote, and Miss C. M. Bourke.

Amongst the clergy present were Very Rev. J. Lonergan (Adm.), Rev. F. Greenan, Rev. M. Beovich, Rev. W. Ebsworth, Very Rev. J. Sullivan, S.J.; Very Rev. E. Frost, S.J.; Very Rev. J. M. Murphy, S.J.; Very Rev. P. McGrath, S.J.; Rev. J. Egan, S.J.; Rev. V. de Francesco, S.J.; Rev. M. Keenan, Rev. J. Cusack, Rev. T. Little, Rev. D. Joyce, Rev. L. Curran, Rev. T. O'Mara, S.J.; Rev. V. Willis.

A touching and much-appreciated tribute to the deceased was paid by a party of children from Loreto Convent, Mandeville Hall, Toorak, who travelled to Pakenham under the care of Count Thomas O'Loughlin, and placed on the coffin, as it lay before the altar, a spiritual bouquet of Masses, Holy Communions, and prayers. At the conclusion of the Requiem, the funeral procession proceeded to the Pakenham Cemetery, where the interment took place by the side of a well-loved younger brother,  Mr. D. J. Bourke, of Monomeith Park, who had predeceased him by some ten years. The burial service was read by Rev. J. S. Bourke, S.J., assisted by Rev. T. Little and the clergy present. R.I.P. (The Advocate, March 7, 1929, see here.)

Wonderful photograph of Thomas and Jane Bourke
Photo courtesy of Mary Garry

Thomas and Jane Bourke celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in November 1925. That was also reported on in The Advocate  of November 19, 1925 (see here)

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bourke, of "Snow View," Pakenham, celebrated their golden wedding on Saturday, 14th inst., and on the following day a reunion of their relatives was held at their home, when the jubilarians were wished many happy returns of the day. Their four children are the Very Rev. J. S. Bourke, S.J., Rector of St. Patrick's College, East Melbourne; Mr. Michael Bourke, Mr Milo Bourke, and Mrs. John Carney. The reunion of parents and children was a most happy event, and in addition there were present Mrs. Michael Bourke, Mrs. Milo Bourke, Mr. John Carney, and six grandchildren. With the exception of the Very Rev. J. S. Bourke, S.J., all the members of the family reside at Pakenham.

The late Mr. Michael and Mrs. Catherine Bourke, parents of Mr. Thomas Bourke, came to Australia in 1838, and settled in the Pakenham district. Shortly afterwards Mr. and Mrs. John Smith also became residents of Pakenham, and a warm intimacy sprang up between them and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bourke. A closer link was established on November 14th. 1875, when Mr. Thomas Bourke, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Bourke, and Miss Jane Mary Smith, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Smith, were married at the home of the bride's father. Toomuc Valley, Pakenham by the Rev. Fr. McCarthy. 

Mr Thomas Bourke was a member of the Berwick Shire Council for about 40 years, and filled the presidential chair on several occasions. With his keen business training and close knowledge of the requirements of the district he served the ratepayers faithfully and well in the council, and his
retirement from municipal life was generally regretted. Throughout the Pakenham district Mr. and Mrs. Bourke are held in the highest regard. Enjoying a well-earned rest in the evening of their life, the venerable jubilarians have received congratulations from far and near, but especially from their fellow-residents of the Pakenham district. (The Advocate, November 19, 1925 see here)

*  This information on Michael and Catherine Bourke comes from Early Settlers of the Casey-Cardinia District,  published by the Narre Warren & District Family History Group.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Dutch Family - Van Benbroek family of Clyde

I came across this article about the Van Benbroek family of Clyde in The Advocate, the Catholic newspaper, of July 26, 1951. It's an interesting look at the life of one of the many families that migrated from Europe after the Second World War.  You can read the original on Trove, here, and it is transcribed below.  I believe the family was known as Van Den Broek, so either they changed the spelling or the Advocate had the spelling wrong, but I will leave the name as Van Benbroek in te transcription.

The Advocate July 26, 1951

Dutch Family

This introduces the Van Benbroek family, from Braband, Holland, who have settled in Berwick, some 30 miles from Melbourne. There's mum and dad and thirteen children. They have transferred their lives from a five-acre farm in Holland to one of 300 acres in Victoria. From hand-milking three or four cows in a little lean-to adjoining the 200-year-old house at Braband, they have taken to milking some 57 cows (later it will be 75) with modern machinery and in a well-lit and newly-renovated dairy, situated in close proximity to their neat weatherboard dwelling.

Although only a few weeks in Victoria the Van Benbroeks have really settled in and are working the farm to a well-set plan. Tractors, harvesters, reapers, chaff-cutters and other agricultural equipment were all new to them, but they are getting the best use out of them.

Last Sunday - strictly kept as a day of rest by Dutch Catholics - was a real family reunion, with relatives and friends visiting to attend Mass in the sitting-cum-bed room and to join in the family dinner. With Rev. L. Maas, S.V.D., chaplain to Dutch migrants in Victoria, our representative went to Berwick just to see how the Van Benbroeks spent the day. For Mass at 10, more than 24 men, women and children crowded into the little room. Two of the lads - Joseph (13) and Louis (14) acted as altar servers. The Gospel, the sermon and the prayers after Mass were all said in Dutch. The Van Benbroek family reached Victoria this July and they have just the barest smattering of English.

The Van Benbroek family. 
The Advocate July 26, 1951
The original caption of the photo is On this page is a picture of the Van Benbroek family—father, mother and thirteen children—who arrived from Holland on July 15 and are now settled in Berwick. From a five-acre farm in their native land they transferred to 300 acres in Victoria. Sunday was a real day of rest and a day of reunion. Mr. Van Benbroek came to Australia with his family because he was attracted by this great southern land, which, he considers, affords many opportunities for starting life anew.

During dinner - consisting mainly of food cooked in the Dutch manner - there were two sittings. Most of the elders (12, sat down at once) were accommodated at the first session and the youngsters at the latter. When the meal was over there was the usual after-dinner talk with guests and members of the family discussing crops and such everyday matters. Music was supplied by a harmonica and the male folk smoked their Dutch cigars about the fire.

What prompted Mr. Van Banbroek to come to Australia? His considered view, he told our representative, was that Australia was a young country and there were more chances of settling and starting life anew here. He had considered America, but the great southern land attracted him more. In his home at Braband, Mr. Van Benbroek found it extremely hard to get sufficient food for his large family. Work, too, was not plentiful and memories of the wars not pleasant. They sold everything they had and with their savings embarked on a Dutch ship last May and reached Melbourne on July 15. It cost Mr. Van Benbroek 20,000 guildens (£2200 Australian currency) to bring his family and their furniture and goods to the country. Happily they were fortunate in finding a home immediately on arrival. The Dutch chaplain had prepared in advance for them and there was no delay in transporting them by truck from the ship to Berwick.

The family has not visited Melbourne or Dandenong yet. Transportation costs would be tremendous. However, they hope to make a shopping excursion one of these days. The family brought seven bicycles with them, and on free days the youngsters ride about the countryside. When there is no Mass at the farm, they go to Cranbourne and Berwick Catholic churches in the utility truck made available for their use on Sundays by Col. Neill (owner of the property they are living on).

The article was embellished by these stereotypical illustrations of traditional Dutch life.

Four of the Van Benbroeks (including one who is studying carpentry) are working on the farm for wages. They hope later to have their own farm. Two other lads are working in the neighbourhood and a third has secured a position as gardener in Melbourne. The girls help mother about the house. The four youngest boys - Gerard (10), Leo (12), Joseph (13) and Louis (14) - are attending school at Clyde, some 10 minutes' walking distance from their home. Incidentally, most of the family attend at the Clyde school - two nights a week for English lessons with many other New Australians who are working in the neighbourhood.

The Catholic Migration authorities appeal to Catholics to nominate Dutch settlers who wish to settle in Victoria. Nominators are obliged to provide accommodation but not necessarily employment. Those wishing to come to this country include young married couples and families with three to ten children. Many wish to engage in farm work and some are tradesmen.

This is an excellent opportunity for farmers to obtain competent help. Parish migration committees can also assist in the work of welcoming and assimilating these New Australians. Some Dutch families are prepared to bring out their own pre-fabricated houses. For this scheme land is required, and suggestions and help in this regard will be most welcome. Applications from those willing to sponsor Catholic Dutch migrants can, in the first instance, be made with Rev. L. Maas, S.V.D., Dutch Hostel, 276 Cotham-road, Kew (WA 3391).

Sadly, the family met with tragedy a few years after their arrival in Australia when Mrs Van Den Broek died of burns received after an accident in the home.

The report of Mrs Van Den Broek's accident
Dandenong Journal July 7, 1954

Mrs Van Den Broek's death notice. She was buried at the Berwick cemetery.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Maryknoll buildings designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock.

Maryknoll was established in 1949 by Father Wilfred Pooley (1912-1969) as a Catholic community based on the principals of faith, family life and co-operative enterprise. You can read more about the establishment of the town, here. I came across the following images of early buildings at Maryknoll (or St Mary's as it was originally called) designed by the architectural firm Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock. 

You can read about the firm on the website, Built Heritage in the Dictionary of Unsung Architects section -  This is the introduction to the article - Smith & Tracey was formed in 1949 by recent graduates Smith & Tracey was formed in 1949 by recent graduates Des Smith (1918-2003) and Dan Tracey (1916-1992).  Shortly afterwards, they were joined by Eric "Ric" Lyon (1918-2006) and Les Brock (1920-2006), and the firm re-branded as Smith, Tracey, Lyon & Brock.  It operated as such until Lyon and Brock both left around 1960, whereupon it reverted to its original name.  The article on the website also has a list of the firm's works. 

Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock worked on many projects for the Catholic Church including Christian Brothers College in Warnambool in 1950; St Joseph's School in Springvale in 1952; St Joseph's Benalla in 1953 and  St Vincent de Paul's Homeless Men's shelter on Flemington Road (Ozanam House) in 1954.  They also designed the Holy Family Church at Maryknoll.

 The Advocate, September 14 1950

This photo (above) and report of the opening of  Holy Family Church at Maryknoll appeared in The AdvocateThis is Holy Family Church-School, opened by Archbishop Mannix of St. Marys Rural Settlement, Tynong North, on September 3. The building was erected from a design by Smith and Tracey, architects, Sydney-road, Brunswick, who also prepared the large-scale map of the settlement which appeared last week. The erection of the first seven permanent homes is now being undertaken and these will be occupied by settlers, at present housed in temporary quarters in the vicinity. (The Advocate, September 14 1950, see here)  

This is the  large-scale map of the settlement prepared by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock, referred to in the paragraph, above. It was in The Advocate of  September 7, 1950, see here.

Presentation Convent St Mary's North Convent at Maryknoll designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock.
The Advocate, March 20, 1952.

In March 1952, The Advocate, published this image (above) of the proposed convent for the Presentation Sisters to be built at Maryknoll. It was never built.

Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock also designed houses for the Maryknoll settlement.  One of these designs was written up in The Argus of November 1, 1954.

House designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock  for Maryknoll
Image: The Argus, November 1, 1954

This is the transcription of the article about the Maryknoll house - 

 Home for County - by Harry Perrott Argus Property Writer

Until comparatively recent years, it was not unusual to see a house, originally planned for a suburban allotment, built on a farm or in a rural setting. Many country people evidently thought they could not have the convenience of "town" living without using a "town" house plan. This, of course, is not so, and the small house illustrated here has all the conveniences of modern planning, but is essentially rural in character.

The plan is a simple rectangle in shape and has a low pitched roof, covered with corrugated asbestos
cement sheets. External walls are of 10in. Baltic weatherboards. Provision has been made for another bedroom and a verandah to be added. The door into the third bedroom will be in the space now used for a cupboard between the bathroom and bedroom. The two bedrooms are 11ft. x 10ft. and 13½ft. x 10ft. and both are fitted with built-in wardrobes.

The kitchen, 13½ x 10ft., is divided by a fitment so that one section can be used for meals or other purposes. For economy, the kitchen and living room fireplaces have been combined in a common chimney stack. The sun room, 10½ x 10ft., is another interesting and useful feature of this part of the house. The living room, 15 x 12ft., has deep windows and double doors opening on to a 6ft. wide verandah. There is a service hatch from this room into the kitchen.

The house is one of a series of low cost houses designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock, architects, for a rural community at St. Mary's, via Nar Nar Goon, in Gippsland.  (The Argus, November 1, 1954, see here

Plan  of the house, described and shown above, designed by Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock  for Maryknoll
Image: The Argus, November 1, 1954

I have created a short list of newspaper articles from Trove that mention the firm of Smith, Tracey, Lyon and Brock, you can access it here.