Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Short Life of John Jasper


John Jasper Joly Burke, like his brother Richard died when he was 23. The above rather poignant notice appeared in the Births, Death and Marriages column of the Bendigo Advertiser on the morning of  Friday 26th May 1893.

BURKE: At Bendigo, Victoria, John Jasper
Joly youngest and last surviving son of the late Rev.
William John Burke, Rector of Castlcjordan, Co Meath,
Ireland, in his 23rd year.

The advert placed by the undertaker, requested that his friends follow the funeral cortege to Bendigo Cemetery, it did not mention family.  When John Jasper died his nearest relative was his  sister Miriam who lived in New South Wales, which at the time was days away from Bendigo. His only other relative was Emily, who was at the other side of the world. Miriam may not have made the funeral, that was the sad reality of those that died in the colonies in those days.

It is likely that john Jasper died in an accident, the most probable being a mining mishap. However his name does not appear in the well kept records of Bendigo mining casualties. He may even have even succumbed to a tropical disease, that his constitution was not able to cope with.

John Jasper is laid to rest in Bendigo Cemetery the record book contains the following information:

Internment number 12656 is John Jasper Burke, 23 years of age, funeral 26 May 1893 in Monumental section L4 at Bendigo Cemetery. Religion Church of England , last address was Ironbark. (a small community approx 2 kms from the heart of Bendigo .) Have located the grave on the maps, no headstone at present.

Emily and Miriam Sophia were now the last of that branch of the Burke family. They never met in person again, Emily never visited Australia and Miriam never returned home.

Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 26 May 1893, page 4, National Library of Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954). Mon 29 May 1893. P1. National Library of Australia


With thanks

Bendigo Cemeteries Trust

John Jasper Joly Burke leaves for Australia

Down Under

Like his older sister Miriam, John Jasper emigrated to Australia. John J Burke aged 21,    disembarked from the Oceania at Sydney Harbour 24th June 1890. His sister Miriam arrived two years before in 1888 and settled in  New South Wales. John Jasper may have joined her for some time but eventually left for Bendigo, formerly Sandhurst, in the state of Victoria.

Just about the time John Jasper arrived the town was in it’s second flush of prospering from the mining industry. Gold was struck in 1851, and later quartz was found. It was no longer a temporary structured town more substantial structures were being built. There was a variety of employment choices for young men.

John Jasper may not have intended to stay at Bendigo for long because, records show that he was boarding at the Fifeshire Hotel rather than at a more permanent address. The hotel was in Ironbark, a small community, about two Kilometres outside Bendigo town.

Sources New South Wales, Australia, Assisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1828-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 26 May 1893, page 4. National Library of Australia


John Jasper Joly Burke 1

Kings County Chronicle 29 September 1869

John Jasper Joly Burke was born in October 1869, younger brother to Emily and the last child of Rev Burke and his wife. Like Emily and Richard he was born at Windsor Terrace, Edenderry and like Emily (Arabella) his middle names Jasper Joly were after the Joly family of Clonbullock, near Edenderry.

Family Connections

Family Connections

The couple Jasper Robert Joly and his wife Maria Arabella Armit Joly, friends of Rev and Emily Burke and possible God parents to Emily and John Jasper, were land owners in the area. Jasper Robert Joly’s father Rev Henry Edward Joly had county Clare roots and may have known William John Burke when he was a young man too. The family were also connected to the Revell family on her mother’s side as, Emily’s aunt Abigail Graisberry married Rev. Henry Revell.

These connections seemed to last beyond the life of Emily’s parents and may have looked after the young Burkes when the Rev and his wife died. They may have even oversaw their education. John Jasper was only thirteen at the time and like his brother and sisters  sent away to school. Following his brother Richard he attended the Irish Clergy Son’s School in Lucan, Co Dublin. It is impossible to say what profession he trained for or if he attended college, but he did follow Miriam Sophia to Australia.


Kings County Chronicle 29 September 1869 Ireland, Select Marriages, 1619-1898 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Ireland, Marriages, 1619-1898. Operations, Inc.: FamilySearch, 2013.
Wexford Independent 14 February 1849
Thanks to Mary Revell Dinnin, for sharing her family history with me.

Goodbye to Richard

The following obituary appeared in The Clonmel Chronical, Tipperary and Waterford advertiser. in the evening of Saturday June 30 1888:

The funeral of Mr R. M. Burke

On Thursday morning last the remains of Mr Richard McArthur Burke, who for the last five years has been connected with the Bank of Ireland at Clonmel, were removed from his residence at Queen Street for interment at Marifield. The great esteem, which he gained among us, as well as the deep retreat felt at his decease, were fully exemplified in the large number of sympathising friends attending the funeral, amongst whom were several members of the Masonic Order in this town, each wearing the usual symbol of morning. On the coffin and around the hearse were placed a profession of beautiful flowers in wreaths and crosses, most kindly sent by the following amongst others: – Mrs Murphy of Prior Park; the Rev Cannon Warren and Mrs Warren, Mrs R Malcomson, Mrs and Miss Bradley, Mr and Mrs Phelan, Mr B Fayle, Merlin,; Miss Davis, Ashburne; Miss Greham, Mr Arthur Malcoson, Mrs and Miss Oughton, Mrs Pelisser, Rev A H Delap, Rev. Ep Wheatley, Mrs Clancey, Mr Triphook.

At the close of the burial service and before the body was lowered into the grave, the Rev. Mr Whetley delivered a short and touching address to this assembled around, referring to the spirit of perfect trustfulness in his Savior, which had sustained their young departed friend through a severe illness.

Masonic apron used for ceremonies such as funerals of members

Masonic apron used for ceremonies such as funerals of members

Emily’s brother Richard was only 23 years old when he passed away. He died from a painful disease, or natural causes, followed his parents by only five years. At the time of his death there was another family tragedy unfolding over the water in the UK, which could not have helped his health. This was one of the awful events that plagued the Burkes for a full decade.

Emily and her remaining siblings it appears did not attend the funeral. At the time it was not uncommon at the time for female members of the family of the deceased not to attended funerals. Practical purposes may have prevented them too, as it was possible that Emily, Miriam and John Jasper were living a long distance away and could not travel to Tipperary that easily. There was also a tradition that the Freemason’s, of which Ricard was a member took over pageantry of the funeral as suggested in the obituary.

women of the ‘upper classes’ were not expected to attend funerals in the 19th Century.   Why, you might ask?   Apparently ‘for fear they would be unable to control their emotions’.
I got this piece of interesting information from ‘The Unquiet Grave‘, The Development of Kerry’s Burial Grounds through the Ages. To read more from Kay Caball’s account of 19th Century funerals:

In any County or Town where there is a Masonic Committee, permission for a Masonic funeral must be obtained either from the General Committee or from the Sub-Committee of the district in which the deceased resided and each Brother attending must be clothed as directed by the foregoing rules.

Richard Burke's Headstone. Retrieved from:

Richard Burke’s Headstone.
Retrieved from:

In Loving Memory of Richard McArthur Burke, Son of The late Rev.rd William Burke Vicar of Castlejordan, Born May 6th 1865, Died June 26th 1888. Thou Will Keep Him In Peace Whose Mind Is Slayed On Thee. Isaiah.26.III.


From the Clonmel Chronical, Tipperary and Waterford advertiser. Saturday Evening, June 30 1888. Page 3.
The Ceremony observed at Funerals of Freemasons, according to Ancient Custom: with the Service used on those occasions. Sentimental and Masonic Magazine June, 1794 p. 521 Vol. 5 p. by Eamonn Crowley
309 21/08/2014
Thanks to Rebecca Hayes, Archivist and the Freemasons Dublin for providing articles and photo of masons’ apron

Miriam Sophia Betts Life Down Under

Life in the Colonies


The Australia of the 1880’s was a far cry from what it is today, a relatively rich land, a tropical climate and good employment opportunities, not quite what Miriam would have found on arrival. The cities may have been modern for the time but the outback would have been harsh and tough on an Irish constitution better adapted to cool more temperate weather. Somehow she adapted well and lived out her days there till she died in 1941 at the age of 78. Miriam would never return to Ireland.

What happened after she arrived in Australia is unclear, however her youngest brother John Jasper joined her there at some stage. He seems to have remained in Victoria, where she traveled to New South Wales. It was there that six years later she married Henry Samuel Marsden Betts, a member of a prominent family in Vale Head, Moolong.

Vale Head Estate

Part of Molong Run, John & Mary Betts property. In 1832 Mary Betts (nee Marsden) received 1280 acres as a grant at Molong. By 1952 it had increased its acreage to 1711 when it was offerred for sale by the Estate of the late R S Black. Molong’s original cemetery was located on Vale Head where the current Bowling Club is located.

Henry Samuel Marsden Betts was 54 years old when he wed his third wife Miriam Burke, she was 31, 23 years his junior. Miriam had two children, John Ulick in 1895 and Enid Cecily Patrica came along in 1898.

Theirs was a short but happy marriage, it said so in his obituary, less than 5 years later. “The consummation of this happy union was one son (John Ulick DeBurgo) and one daughter (Enid Cecily Patricia)”.

Miriam married into a ready-made family, she was stepmother to Henry Betts children from his second marriage. His first wife and baby died in childbirth. His second bore him eight of which six survived. Miriam and her new husband lived in relative comfort for the few years they had together, as Henry Betts was a good provider. A former Returning Officer for Parliamentary elections he also held the officer of Coroner. He was a Justice of the Peace in Queensland and when he settled in Moolong he was appointed to the Bench of Magistrates until his death in 1899.

Ní Dheirg, Íosold. Emily M. Weddall: Bunaitheoir Scoil Acla. Beann Éadair, Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim, 2010.
Molong Historical Society
‘Betts, Henry Samuel Marsden (1839–1899)’, Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 January 2016.