William Burke – grave tales

The following photographs are of the impressive memorial on the grave of William Burke who was buried on 4th November 1909. The first was taken not long after the memorial was erected and the second some 117 yrs later and as I am sure you will agree, it has stood the test of time very well. It was made by monumental mason “Needham and Lowe”.

Grave of William Burke Kalgoorlie Cemetery 1909

Grave of William Burke Kalgoorlie Cemetery 1909

Grave of William Burke Kalgoorlie Cemetery 2016

Grave of William Burke, Kalgoorlie Cemetery 2016

The inscription reads ‘Beloved husband of Margaret Burke, Born Kilkenny Ireland’. William was reported to be the richest man in Kalgoorlie. As this article says he was the proprietor of the Tower Hotel. His wealth is apparent in his memorial which is the largest and most impressive memorial in the whole cemetery. It is also positioned quite near to the main gate and occupies a double burial plot. William’s second wife, Margaret, remarried in Kalgoorlie in 1913 to Philip Keogh (AKA Philip ‘Paddy’ Marsh, a bookmaker). In that same year she transferred the licence of the Tower Hotel to him. Oddly she died in Perth but is also shares the grave and is buried with William. She died in March of 1918 at her home in Fitzgerald Street, Perth. She was to leave her estate to her Daughter also Margaret.Margaret then went on to marry John O’Dea in 1920 in West Perth.

'The Truth' newspaper Perth 6 Nov 1909

‘The Truth’ newspaper Perth 6 Nov 1909

OBITUARY. in ‘The Advocate’ Melbourne 4th December 1909

The remains of the late Mr. Wm. Burke, whose death was recorded in “The Advocate,” were laid to rest in the Kalgoorlie General Cemetery, West Australia. The body was conveyed to St. Mary’s Church, where a solemn Requiem Mass was celebrated by the Very Rev. Canon Robinson, in the presence of the members of the bereaved family and a large number of intimate friends. The body lay in the church till 2 o’clock in the afternoon, when the first portion of the burial service was said by the Rev. Canon, the church being occupied by a large congregation. The funeral procession was then formed, with the officiating clergyman at the head, followed by the members of the H.A.C.B. Society, after whom came the hearse with coffin, three mourning coaches, the deceased’s own horse and buggy, and a cab containing wreaths and other floral offerings, whilst a few score vehicles made up the balance of the cortege. Representatives Of the legal, banking, mining, and mercantile interests of the town and district were noticeable among those who paid this last tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased. The service at the graveside was of an impressive character, and was conducted by the Rev. Canon Robinson, who also delivered a short address, in which he spoke of the generosity of the deceased towards the Church, and of the many gifts he had made for the adornment of St. Mary’s. The late Mr. Burke was characterised as a man. of steadfast principles, of upright conduct and honesty of purpose; who had rendered their due to all men. The pall-bearers were the officers of the. H.A.C.B.S., of which the deceased was a very old member. The remains were enclosed in a polished, hand carved oaken casket, with massive solid silver furnishings, the interior trimmings being of pure white silk. Wreaths were sent by the following :—Mrs.- W. Burke, sons and daughters of first family, sons and daughters of second family, Mr. and Mrs. T. Burke and family, Messrs. Brennan Bros.,- Mr. and Mrs. J. Coughlan, Mrs. Kirby and family, Mrs. Guille, Mr. and Mrs.  A. Thomas, Mrs. Jones and family, Mrs. Lilly Harold, Mrs. Jarrett, Mr, and Mrs. Lucharness, Mr. and Mrs. S. Eastwood, Misses D’Arcy, Miss Clark, Mr, and Mrs. T. McAulifie, Mr. and Mrs. J R. Boylen, Mr, V. Whelan, Miss G. Scope, Mr. and Mrs. J.V.O’Reillv, Miss White, Mr. and Mrs. W. R Boxall, directors of Hannans Brewery Co., Union Brewery, Kalgoorlie Brewery, Messrs. and Co., Boulder City Brewery, and Mrs. A. W. Page, Mr. J. W. Sheehan, Mr. J. Bailie, Mr. and Mrs. P. Dunne and family, Mr. P. Lynch, Mrs. Jowett and family, Mr. N. Keenan, Mr. D. O’Donnell, Eastern Goldfields Licensed Victuallers’ Association, Mr E. T. Randall) Messrs. Allen and Brimage, and Mr and Mrs. M. Mannion.


Over the Hills – a verse


Over the hills where the sun goes down,
Ever and ever so far away,
There’s an old, old house in an olden town,
I see it now, with its roof so grey,
Tho’ it’s ever and ever so far away.
And a fair and slender form. I see
In the open doorway, standing.there
With the sweetest face in the world to me,
That gentle face with the shining hair,
In the open doorway a-standing there.

Up on the hillside the woods are dark,
The pine and the fir tree boughs hang low,
But I see her name I cut in their bark,
Ever and ever so long ago,
Where the pine and the fir tree boughs hang low.
I climb to the hilltop, high above
The lowland meadow and darksome wood,
To the old, old tryst, where I told my love,
While leaning against the wall we stood,
High above the meadow and darksome wood.
To the old churchyard, with stones moss grown,

Down the grassy country lane I go,
Past field’s sweet-scented with hay new mown
Tho’ it’s ever and ever so long ago,
Down my burning cheeks the hot tears flow.
To-night to another I pledge my love,
I thought I’d forgotten those olden days,
But over the hills my thoughts will go
To the little churchyard, where she lies

And I thought I’d forgotten those old, old days.

Dead Mens Gold


A Story of the Early Days of Hannans. Written in Nov 1904. I'm full up of Hannans Find," remarked my mate. " I'm off back to Coolgardie". "You'll go alone," I laconically added. I felt a bit disappointed in Dick. I was a curious … [Continue reading]

Edith Annie Bowe

Edith Bowe Boulder 1915

The following story was sent to me by an OFH reader Jean Bearda about her Grandmother, Edith Annie Bowe, who was born 26th March, 1891 in Sydney, Australia and died  15th October, 1972 at Melbourne, Australia. She has very kindly sent me the … [Continue reading]

Not At Watsons !!! – pub tales


The Sun Newspaper 15th Nov 1903 Mr J R Watson, licensee of the Boorara Hotel, referring to a couple of 'They Says' ( like 'Heard on Hannan') pars in last weeks paper, writes:- 'Mine is the only licenced house at Boorara and we see nothing of … [Continue reading]