- IE IJA J/933
- 26 December 1876-27 August 1969
Born: 26 December 1876, Pakenham, Victoria, Australia
Entered: 10 October 1896, Loyola Greenwich, Australia (HIB)
Ordained: 28 July 1912
Final vows: 15 August 1946
Died: 27 August 1969, St Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, Australia - Australiae Province (ASL)
Transcribed HIB to AsL : 05 April 1931
by 1908 at Stonyhurst England (ANG) studying
by 1912 in San Luigi, Napoli-Posilipo, Italy (NAP) studying
◆ David Strong SJ “The Australian Dictionary of Jesuit Biography 1848-2015”, 2nd Edition, Halstead Press, Ultimo NSW, Australia, 2017 - ISBN : 9781925043280 :
He came from a very large family and had innumerable relatives all over Australia.
He was educated at St Patrick’s Melbourne and spent a year on his father’s farm before entering at Loyola Greenwich.
1898-1901 Juniorate at Loyola Greenwich
1901-1907 Regency at St Ignatius, Riverview as teacher, Prefect of discipline, junior Librarian, junior Debating Prefect, working with boarders and also rowing.
1907-1909 Philosophy at Stonyhurst, England
1909-1911 Theology at Milltown Park, Dublin
1911-1912 Theology at Posilipo, Naples and Ordained at Milltown Park
1912-1913 Tertianship at St Stanislaus, Tullabeg
1913-1916 He returned to Australia and firstly to St Patrick’s, Melbourne
1916-1921 He was sent to Xavier College, Kew
1921-1931 He returned to St Patrick’s, Melbourne as Rector (the second Old Patrician to hold this office). In 1922 he issues the first school magazine the “Patrician”. He built some new classrooms in the north wing of the College, restored the front entrance hall, adding a mosaic floor.
In the 1930s he failed to establish a Preparatory School at Caulfield.
He won the hearts of his students with his good natured humour. He taught English, Religion and Latin, and especially communicate this love of the poetry of Scott, Coleridge and Longfellow. He never neglected the Australian poets, especially Lawson and O’Brien. He also produced a play “The Sign of the Cross”, in which most boys in the school had a part.
After St Patrick’s he was appointed to the Richmond parish, where he was Socius to the Provincial for 15 years, kept the financial books, directed retreats and was Minister and procurator of the house. He also engaged in priestly ministry in the parish.
1934 As Minister at Richmond he set up the new house of studies, Loyola College Watsonia.
1934-1969 He spent these years in parish ministry at Richmond and Hawthorn. It was mainly at Richmond where he was most valued and appreciated. He was both Superior and Parish priest at both locations at various times.
His last days were spent at Loyola College Watsonia, suffering the effects of a stroke.
At almost 90 years of age he was invited by the Berwick Shire Council, within whose jurisdiction his birthplace Packenham lies, to write a history of the Bourke family of Packenham as a contribution to the shire’s centenary celebrations. He undertook this work with zest and thoroughness, researching, interviewing and travelling. He also wrote a similar book on his mother’s side of the family.It was facetiously said of him that he suffered from “multiple consanguinity”. The Bourkes were no inconsiderable clan with deep family attachments. he never overlooked a relationship, no matter how tenuous. Beyond these he had a vast army of friends towards whom he displayed an almost extravagant loyalty.
He was a genial, slightly quick-tempered type of man whose work in both schools and parishes was appreciated. He received the cross “pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” for his work in organising the National Eucharistic Congress at Melbourne in 1934.
One of his outstanding characteristics was an astonishing gift for remembering names and faces. This came from his love of people and God’s world in general. He was always warm and gracious to all who knew him, He had a spirit of optimism and was a practical man of affairs. He showed clarity of mind, singleness of purpose and a remarkable orderliness of disposition that marked his life. St Patrick’s College and the parish of Richmond could not be remembered with recalling the considerable influence that he had on the people he served.