James Bourke-Finn

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James Bourke-Finn was born in Co. Limerick, Ireland.

Goldfields Involvement, 1854

On 18 December 1854 the following people signed the petition of James Bourke, late of Eureka, for compensation after the burning of his property: Patrick Smyth Priest Cath; Timothy Doyle; J. Amos?] Barrister; C. Brougham; Hicks Bolger; Patrick Bolger; Timothy Shanahan; Robert Carr MD; [A. Lynn?]

We the undersigned do bear testimony to the general character of James Bourke that he is a quiet, honest and industrious man and we further say that our ernest prayer and desire is that His Excellency will take into his favourable consideration his petition as here requested: Patrick Sheehan, Storekeeper; Patrick Bolger, Merchant Ballarat; James Bourchier, Clare Hotel Ballarat; Robert Muir of Muir Bros and company; William Fullerton [librarian?]; William McCulloch, Storekeeper; H. Glenny, Storekeeper; Bradshaw and Salmon, Storekeepers; George Harris, Storekeeper; A.E. & R. Alexander, Beehive; Robertson and Cole; Hogg & Norris, Storekeepers; [? Craplin??], Storekeeper; Alfred Sickler.

Post 1854 Experiences


Peter Lalor. Melbourne Leader, 17 May 1862.
We have this morning to record the death of one of the oldest pioneers of the Valley in the person of Mr Jas. Bourke, of Wunghnu. Mr Bourke, Who had long passed the allotted span, , being 85 years of age, died at his residence, Mundoona, on Sunday last, the cause of death being senile decay accelerated by bronchitis. The funeral took place on Tuesday and was very largely attended, the last sad rites being performed by the Rev Father Tobin. Mr A. Dunn had charge of the mortuary arrangements.
The late Mr James Bourke was a native of Co. Limerick, Ireland, and came to Australia in ’53 or ’54, and immediately proceeded to Ballarat where he opened a store. He was a witness of those stirring events leading up to the Eureka Stockade and, whilst he took no part in the fighting, his sympathies were strongly with the diggers, and this was evidently known for his store was burnt by the soldiers on that historical day when the Stockade was stormed. Amongst others, he was chosen by the diggers to assist their leader, Peter Lalor, to escape and for many days helped to carry him from place to place until things quietened down. After that he selected land near Miners’ Rest where he resided for 25 years. About 1879 he selected land in Mundoona where he lived until the day of his death, respected and esteemed. He leaves a widow, five sons and two daughters, all of whom are well known and respected throughout the Valley.[1]

See also

Further Reading

Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.

Riot at Ballarat appointed to enquire into circumstances connected with the late disturbance at Ballarat together with the evidence taken by the board laid upon the Council table by the Colonial Secretary, by Command of His Excellency the lieutenant Governor and ordered by the Council to be printed 21st November, 1854.


  1. Courier 18 October 1899.

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