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