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THE BOURKES AND PAKENHAM RACECOURSE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA. (and the Cocks and others of Bunyip.)

Journal by itellya

Text wouldn't submit but was luckily saved and will be submitted when the OH NOES gremlins buzz off.
If you still have yesterday's Sunday Herald Sun (9-2-2014) have a look at "Packenham it in" on page 57.

When my twin brother and I were about five we were driven to Grandma Cock's at Bunyip for Christmas dinner. As it was over 100 degrees and dinner was cooked on a slow combustion stove, we were glad to escape to the relative coolness of the blazing sun after our meal. After dad died,my brother and I would be taken to platform 1 at Spencer St Station to catch the train to Bunyip. We loved the train, because, both having ants in the pants, we could spend most of our journey wandering the aisle that ran the length of one side of the carriage. We either stayed with mum's sister, Grace (Mrs Hinson) or Les and Jess Roberts at the top of the hill.

As mum had to work to support us we were later allowed to travel on our own,just like big people, to stay with Auntie Grace or Jess Roberts, who was a life-long friend of mum (nee Edna Cock.) Although we had driven through Pakenham at the age of five, the place had not yet become part of my being. Later, as a typical smutty teenager the name of Pakenham Upper burned its way into the part of my brain that manufactures corny jokes.

When I got a car and a licence, Pakenham became very much part of the romance of the drive to Bunyip, along with places like Officer, Tynong, Nar Nar Goon etc and John Towner's pub. (After John Coleman's career-ending injury, John Towner looked likely to become the next Coleman until he was crudely propelled into the fence and was never the same afterwards.)

Thus when I read page 57 of the Sunday Herald Sun of 9-2-2014, I felt compelled to write a journal about a part of my past,just as I had about Campbells Creek. The headline was "Packenham it in." I would have used "Packenham up"! Daryl Timms' article is presented virtually verbatim with some re-ordering to give genealogy and track information separately. Don't be too hard on Timmsy about his south west gaffe; I have to be on constant guard not to make the same blue.

Gavan and Hughie Bourke (pictured)have vivid memories of growing up in the family home located on what was later to be named Racecourse Rd.There were seven Bourke siblings and their backyard was the racetrack which was founded in 1875. The Bourke link with the racetrack goes back to Ireland in 1838 when Michael Bourke married Catherine Kelly in County Limerick,leaving for Australia on their wedding day and arriving in Melbourne on St. Patrick's Day,March 17, 1839. After five years they gained a squatter's licence and selected land in the Pakenham district. They had 15 children, but two died in infancy and it was their youngest son,David Joseph Bourke, who farmed land on the current racetrack site and allowed races on his paddock.

After the death of David it was sons Hugh and Michael who played the crucial role of keeping the club alive. Despite pressure for the site to become Crown land,the Bourkes agreed to sell the track to the racing club for 25 000 pounds ($50 000)in a deal finalised in 1957. "It was about a quarter of what it was worth,but back then our family wanted it to stay a racetrack forever and we always thought it would, " Hughie said this week.

Brother Gavan agrees that it's sad that the track,on a 27 hectare site and sold for redevelopment for $30 million,will be part of the massive suburbia explosion in the heart of Pakenham. The first races had been annual amateur picnic meetings,the only meetings between 1896 and 1909 being on New Year's Day,but in December 1926 the club moved to regular,professional meetings with the inaugural Pakenham Cup after 4000 pounds (raised with the help of locals) was spent to upgrade and remodel the track as demanded by the government. The Bourkes leased the track to the club for free on the condition that profits benefited public amenities.

It will be an emotional time today (9-2-2014)for the Bourke clan when the track hosts its final meeting-featuring the Pakenham Cup- as the club prepares to move to a new track and multmillion dollar development on 246 hectares of farmland at Tynong , 10 km east of Pakenham and 65 km south west (sic; southeast) of Melbourne.

I don't know whether anyone is writing a Bourke family history. Perhaps it might be a descendant living far
(see comment 2.)

P.183, MEMOIRS OF A STOCKMAN, Harry Huntington Peck.
Old Mrs. Bourke who was the landlady of the Pakenham hotel at
the bridge over the Toomuc creek for so many years was an
institution of the district. She was most popular with the Gippsland
travellers and drovers as she took pains to make all visitors
comfortable. Her fine sons David and Daniel prospered as graziers
and bought good properties, the one Llowalong originally part of
Iiushy Park on the Avon near Stratford, and the other Old
Monomeith, where the next generation Hughie and Michael, trading
as Bourke Bros., are to-day the largest regular suppliers of baby beef
to Newmarket, are well known as the owners of show teams of
first-class hunters and hacks, and of late years have been very
successful in principal hurdle and steeplechase races.

Surnames: BOURKE COCK HINSON KELLY
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by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2014-02-10 01:47:34

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:

Comments

by itellya on 2014-02-10 07:18:53

SORRY,THE GREMLINS HAVE STRUCK AGAIN.

by itellya on 2014-02-12 04:07:51

from Pakenham who never reads the sports pages and would never have found this article. Whovever, get onto Hughie and Gavan now because they obviously have a fair grasp of the genealogy, but even more importantly, I bet they have a trove of anecdotes that you'll never find in B,D&M. or even trove.I wouldn't fancy sorting out which of the Bourke-Kelly marriages is yours without help from Hughie and Gavan.

Let's see what trove can tell us about my maternal ancestors (pioneers of Broadmeadows Shire) and others at Bunyip and the Bourkes at Pakenham.
BOURKE/PAKENHAM.

COCK/BUNYIP.

by itellya on 2014-02-14 03:30:53

I had saved trove and google information about the first use (1858?) of Pakenham (the parish) which came from an officer in the peninsular war, but was also the maiden name of the Duke of Wellington's wife and the name of a British Prime Minister; one article about David Bourke of "Mount Bourke" at Pakenham; and several articles about Bunyip, such as Jack Cock being a trustee of money that Mr Shelley had left to beautify the town, that were intended to provide a documentary background to the anecdotes about Bunyip and Wycheproof that I intended to tell.

Today,I made my fifth attempt to submit this result of about six hours of work. After highlighting it,I clicked paste instead of copy and lost the lot. Sorry.

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