Bourkes from Summer Hill :: Genealogy
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Bourkes from Summer Hill

Journal by oconnorpr

Summer Hill is a pretty little place towards the north of Tipperary, Ireland, where the eastern slopes of Mt. Knockanora roll down to the Cromage River. The town of Borrisoleigh is not far to the south. It was here that a daughter was born to John Winslow and his wife, Mary Connors in 1816. They named her Mary like her mother. At the same time, and further to the south, Patrick, Daniel and Catherine Bourke were growing up on the farm where their father, Patrick Bourke and his wife Mary, lived and worked, outside the city of Thurles.

Daniel Bourke was nearly forty years old when he married Mary Winslow in Borrisoleigh, in 1844 and brought her to his home at Thurles. His sister, Catherine married Martin Egan who worked on a nearby farm. The Bourkes had two children, Mary born 1845 and Patrick born 1847, when the potato crops failed and there was much hardship and suffering. By good luck (The Grace of God) and great care they survived and, when conditions had improved their family increased. Michael was born 1850, Catherine 1853, James 1855 and Thomas 1858. The Egans also had a daughter Catherine, born 1851 and a son Martin in 1856.

About this time Caroline Chisholm was advocating the advantages of life in Australia. Daniel's brother Patrick emigrated and sent home messages in accord with Caroline's advice. Both Daniel's and Mary's parents had died during the famine so that was one less tie they had with the home country. Their older children, Mary and Patrick had been to school and learned to read and write, an advantage that had been denied both Daniel and his wife. They decided to go to Australia and give their children more opportunities.

The Australian immigration laws were such that the bounty, or help towards paying their fares, was given to young married couples who could be expected to make a considerable contribution to the workforce. Daniel and Mary put back their ages, then found that they would have to pay an extra 7 for having more than three children under ten years of age, so they left the six years old Catherine with the Egan family. The fare for the family, parents and five children, was 18.

They procured berths on the "Abyssinian" which sailed from Plymouth 22 June and arrived in Sydney 20 September 1859. A fast trip of only 89 days (just less than three months).

Mr. Dangar of Gostwyck was looking for shepherds so he employed Daniel and it was not very long before Patrick was employed, too. Mary went as a servant to Beverley Station, near Bundarra. After some years of working and saving Daniel was able to buy his own block of land and build a home of their own for his family. He named the place "Summer Hill" after his Mary's home in Tipperary. Some of their descendants still live on "Summer Hill".

The family had been missing Catherine, just as she had been missing them. Daniel sent for her to come and rejoin them, and her cousin Catherine Egan came with her. They sailed on the "Racehorse" which left Plymouth 22 September 1866 and arrived here just in time for Christmas.

Catherine, now fourteen years of age, found on her arrival, that her sister Mary had married James Kennedy at Bundarra, two years earlier on 10 April 1864, and they now had a son Daniel one year old. Her brother Patrick married Julia Kennedy on 4 February. that year, 1866. Julia's father had died only five months after the wedding, 9 July 1866, and her mother Norah (nee Lenihan) was living with the Bourkes on Summer Hill. Catherine's mother was ill and so she was grateful for the companionship of her cousin. They had grown close as sisters over the years together.

1868 was destined to be a year of great sadness for the Bourke family. James, who was then twelve years old died on 6 February. Patrick and Julia's seven months old daughter, Mary, born 7 July 1867, succumbed to the dreaded typhoid fever on 28 February. Then Daniel's wife, Mary, weakened by the insistent stomach trouble she had borne for years and saddened by the sufferings of her children, died 13 March, 51 years of age and only nine years after coming to Australia. The family then leaned on Norah Kennedy for help and strength to keep the home going, and she, wonderful woman that she was, gave herself unsparingly for many years.

Patrick Bourke and Julia raised a family of ten children and always Julia was pleased and grateful to have her mother's help. Catherine was eight years in Australia when she married Francis Donoghue, a former shepherd and now owner of his own land and sheep on Salisbury Plains. They had six children but one little boy did not survive. Her cousin Catherine Egan married Patrick Shanahan who, with his father Thomas Shanahan and mother Bridget Heffernan were running their sheep property, "Harlow Park", which is on the road to Gostwyck. After their third child Bridget was born in 1877, Patrick took Catherine "home" to Ireland, to visit her parents. They sent her brother Martin out assuring him of a home and work on "Harlow Park" until he could find a place for himself. He sailed on the "Hereford" from Plymouth, 20 September and reached Sydney, 6 December 1878.

Patrick Shanahan and Catherine raised a family of eight children of whom the seventh, John Joseph was just a year old when Patrick's mother, Bridget died, 4 May 1888. Patrick had been especially close to his mother since he was left to look after her when his father first came to Australia and was preparing their home. Then he was all of ten years old when he brought her out on the "Herald of the Morning" which arrived 23 June 1858. That was thirty years ago
and he had never ceased caring for her. His father, Thomas died three years later, 4 July 189

Mary and James Kennedy had seven children, but unfortunately James fell victim to drink. Their son James had died back in 1870 when only a few months old and now in 1878 Kathleen, a baby in arms was ill. James came home one evening, drunk as usual and Mary, wearied with nursing the sick baby and with trying to do everything for the other five children, cried out to James, "If you can't come home sober for once then don't bother to come at all." With that he turned and walked out the door and was never again seen or heard of by the family.

Kathleen died soon after and Mary was left to do everything. Her father, Daniel came to live with her and was a good help. Mary had always been a good seamstress and now she was able to take in some sewing. Hanora, her oldest daughter, now twelve years old was also quickly learning the art of sewing and was able to assist her mother. The Boys, growing up without a father's guidence and restraining hand were notoriously undisciplined and a cause of much mischief in the town. On one occasion when there had been some disturbance, the police arrested Thomas, 12 years old and the youngest of the three, and were on their way to the lock-up when Daniel, 23 years and Joseph, 14 years, on their horses blocked the bridge and would not let the Police proceed until they released Thomas, then the three boys galloped off together and were not seen in the town again.

Mary and her two daughters, Hanora and Mary, were now all excellent seamstresses and went to Sydney where they did sewing for one of the big stores. Hanora used to sing in the choirs. It is from here that Hanora's story becomes one with Walter King's.

Mary Agnes Kennedy was four years younger than Hanora but the two sisters had grown close to each other and to their mother in the years after their brothers had left home and then when the mother and daughters moved together to Sydney. Mary, who was known as Minnie, married John (Jack) Carter in Sydney and so was happily settled with her own family and home when their mother died and Hanora went back to Uralla. Mary and Jack had two sons, Peter and Keith, Peter married Claire ..... but Keith did not marry, he lived with his mother until her death.

Martin Egan worked for a time on Harlow Park until he could buy his own block of land near Big Ridge, which he named "Millane Farm". On 9 May 1887, he married Anastasia Ryan whose home was along the road to Gostwyck. Anastasia had come from Thurles as a baby, carefully packed in a laundry basket and tended by her mother on the voyage out. William Ryan and his wife Anastasia Webster had travelled to Australia on the "John Temperly", which arrived in Sydney 1 August 1863. Their four years old son, Daniel was with them, too. William's brother John met the family in Sydney with his horses and dray. John was a hotel proprietor in Uralla at this time and perhaps he would have gone to Sydney for supplies as well. They had another brother James, at Kentucky. William went to work on Gostwyck until he was able to buy his own block of land along the Gostwyck Road, which he named "Rosehill". Here William and Anastasia raised their family of eight children, after two little ones had died in the typhoid epidemic in 1868.

Anastasia Ryan was 25 when she married Martin Egan and went to build there home on Millane Farm. They had nine children.

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by oconnorpr Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2007-06-06 02:03:48

oconnorpr , from Newcastle, NSW, Australia, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jun 2007. is researching the following names: DARCY, CONNOR, CURTIS and 4 other(s).

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by bbourke on 2013-01-20 01:24:19

Howdy, Do you have any information on what happened to Daniel and Mary's son Michael? I he is my great great grandfather.

by bbourke on 2013-01-20 01:53:46


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