Private Austin Bourke
18th Battalion, AIF
Serial Number: 3788
Born: 1885, Mt Victoria, NSW
Died: 8 September 1916, Camiers, France
Austin Joseph Bourke was born in 1885 at Mount Victoria, the son of Richard and Mary
Jane Bourke. After the death of his mother when he was two, Bourke was raised by his
grandmother. He was educated at Penrith Public School and afterwards worked for
NSW Railways for a time. Before his enlistment at Narrabri on 3 October 1915 he had
been working on farms in the district. His father, also employed with NSW Railways died
suddenly at Goulburn on 6 October while on duty as guard on the Temora mail train.
Austin’s Uncle James Bourke of Boxgrove, Kingswood was then noted as his next of
kin. After several weeks training Bourke was allocated to the 9th Reinforcements, 18th
Battalion. On 21 January 1916, he left Sydney aboard HMAT Runic arriving in Alexandria
on 4 March. A few weeks later, he was on his way to France.
The 18th Battalion took part in its first major battle at Pozieres between 25 July
and 5 August 1916. Bourke was wounded in action on 29 July 1916, but remained
on duty. On 3 August he wrote his will giving half his property and assets to Louisa
Bailey of High Street, daughter of bootmaker William Bailey, and, his cousin Myrea
Bourke of Erskineville.
On 4 August 1916, Bourke sustained further gunshot wounds to his left shoulder and
leg and after being treated at the 4th Australian Field Ambulance was transferred
to the 22nd General Hospital at Camiers. He died from his wounds at 5.40 pm on
8 September 1916. Myrea Bourke’s father Michael received his belongings, photos
of his grave and his medals after his death. Bourke’s obituary in the Nepean Times
on 28 October 1916 read ‘He was of robust, stalwart physique, and of a genial
temperament’ and that in his death he had ‘gained the patent of immortal nobility’.
- Etaples Military Cemetery, France
- Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
- Honor Roll, St Nicholas of Myra Catholic Church, Penrith
- Honor Roll, Penrith Superior Public School