Thomas Ulick Burke (1826 - 1867) was a well-known figure in gold-rush Victoria, Australia, famous as the victim of the "Break O' Day" aka "Scarsdale" aka "Piggoreet" murder.
Victoria is a state in south-eastern Australia. Victoria is Australia's smallest mainland state and its second-most populous state overall, thus making it the most densely populated state overall. Most of its population lives concentrated in the area surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which includes the metropolitan area of its state capital and largest city, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city. Geographically the smallest state on the Australian mainland, Victoria is bordered by Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south, New South Wales to the north, the Tasman Sea to the east, and South Australia to the west.
Thomas Burke was born in 1826 in Normandy to a military family based in County Galway, Ireland. His parents were Captain John Burke of Her Majesty's 16th Lancers, Tiaquin, County Galway, and Jane Lowe.
Normandy is one of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.
County Galway is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West of Ireland, part of the province of Connacht.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Burke emigrated to Australia in 1858 from Ireland, where he had been working for the Provincial Bank of Ireland at Limerick. He arrived during the Victorian gold rush, moving first to Melbourne where he worked for the Bank of Australasia, before becoming manager of the Smythesdale branch of the bank around 1860.Smythesdale in the 1860s was a prosperous gold-mining town on the Woady Yaloak River in an area which supported a large though itinerant population of miners and other workers.
Limerick is a city in County Limerick, Republic of Ireland. It is located in the Mid-West Region and is also part of the province of Munster. Limerick City and County Council is the local authority for the city. The city lies on the River Shannon, with the historic core of the city located on King's Island, which is bounded by the Shannon and the Abbey River. Limerick is also located at the head of the Shannon Estuary where the river widens before it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 94,192, Limerick is the third most populous urban area in the state, and the fourth most populous city in Ireland.
The Victorian gold rush was a period in the history of Victoria, Australia approximately between 1851 and the late 1860s. It led to a period of extreme prosperity for the Australian colony, and an influx of population growth and financial capital for Melbourne, which was dubbed "Marvellous Melbourne" as a result of the procurement of wealth.
The Bank of Australasia was an Australian bank in operation from 1835 to 1951.
Burke married Louisa Blake, the daughter of Sir Thomas Edward Blake of Menlough Castle, Galway, at St John’s Church in Melbourne in 1862.The couple had two young children at the time of Burke's death in 1867. Burke was according to accounts of the day a popular and respected member of the community. He was a Justice of the Peace and in 1861 was elected president of the Smythesdale Mechanics' Institute and also elected to Smythesdale Council.
There have been four baronetcies for persons with the surname Blake, one in the Baronetage of Ireland, two in the Baronetage of Great Britain and one in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. Two of the creations are extant as of 2010. The Blake Baronetcy, of Menlough in the County of Galway, was created in the Baronetage of Ireland on 10 July 1622 for Valentine Blake, Mayor of Galway in 1611 and 1630 and a member of the Irish House of Commons for Galway. His grandfather Thomas Blake had preceded him as Mayor. The second Baronet was a member of the Irish Parliament for Galway Borough. The third Baronet represented both County Galway and Galway Borough in Parliament. The sixth Baronet was a member of the Irish House of Commons for County Galway. He was the first Catholic gentlemen of distinction to join William of Orange. The twelfth Baronet represented Galway Borough in the British House of Commons. The fourteenth Baronet was High Sheriff of County Galway in 1872. See also the Blake Baronetcy of Twizell Castle below.
Mechanics' Institutes are educational establishments, originally formed to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men. Similar organisation are sometimes simply called Institutes. As such, they were often funded by local industrialists on the grounds that they would ultimately benefit from having more knowledgeable and skilled employees. The Mechanics' Institutes were used as 'libraries' for the adult working class, and provided them with an alternative pastime to gambling and drinking in pubs.
One of Burke's tasks as bank manager was to travel throughout the Woady Yaloak diggings buying gold from miners.By this stage gold transports were no longer accompanied by armed escorts. Early on 10 May 1867, Burke collected a horse and buggy from the Smythesdale coach-builder and traveled to the Break O’ Day area (now Corindhap, Victoria), arriving at the nearby town of Rokewood at 1130 am. He bought gold at Rokewood and Break O’ Day, then left to make the return journey to Smythesdale, stopping at hotels along the way to buy more gold.
Corindhap is a town in the Australian state of Victoria located on the Ballarat-Colac Road, 38.9 km from Ballarat and 62.9 km from Colac. Formerly known as Break O'Day.
George Searle, a publican at Break O’ Day, and Joseph Ballan, his employee, left on horseback shortly afterward with the intention of robbing Burke. They travelled cross-country and intercepted Burke at what is now the intersection of the Pitfield-Scarsdale Road and the Old Pitfield Road. While Searle distracted Burke with conversation, Ballan walked behind him and shot him in the back of the head. Burke died instantly. Searle and Ballan secured the gold and cash that Burke was carrying, moved the buggy containing Burke's body into scrub beside the road, and released his horse.Louisa Burke raised the alarm when her husband failed to arrive home. Burke's body was discovered the next day.
The Woady-Yaloak area was relatively densely populated in 1867, and several witnesses saw Searle and Ballan moving cross-country around the time of Burke's murder. The murder weapon and stolen gold were soon discovered stashed near Searle's hotel at Break O' Day. The pair were arrested and charged with murder.
During their trial, Searle admitted to the robbery but sought to have his charge of murder reduced because it was Ballan who had shot Burke.Searle and Ballan were tried at Ballarat by Judge Redmond Barry, who convicted them both of murder and sentenced them to death. Searle and Ballan were hanged at the Ballarat Gaol on 7 August 1867 and buried in the grounds. They were two of thirteen men executed at this prison before the abolition of capital punishment in Australia.
The murder achieved notoriety and the trial and execution were widely reported in newspapers around Australia.The courthouse was crowded during the trial and demand to attend the hanging was high.
Burke was buried in the Scarsdale General Cemetery. The plot is easily accessible today and is accompanied by a tourist information sign (see photo at top of page).
The murder caused distress among local business people, some of whom who felt it was no longer safe to travel unescorted.An employee of the Union Bank in Smythesdale asked the Police Superintendent at Ballarat for a police escort to be provided when he was carrying money, but the request was refused due to lack of resources.
Burke's existing children, Elly Elizabeth and John Lambert, survived to adulthood. Louisa was pregnant at the time of Burke's murder and a third child was born and named Ulick Thomas in December 1867. Louisa remarried in 1872, to John King, with whom she had more children. Elly married William Saunders in Fitzroy, Melbourne in June 1889.John married Minnie Aikenhead at West Devonport, Tasmania, in February 1891. Ulick moved to Tasmania and then to Queensland, where he ran a dairy farm and served in the Australian infantry in World War I.
In 1972 a monument was erected near the site of Burke’s murder by Smythesdale residents (see photo above). In 2001 an alternative monument was erected beside it by a descendent who disagreed with the description of the murderers as "bushrangers". Both monuments are accessible beside the Pitfield-Scarsdale Road between Scarsdale and Rokewood, about 100 meters south of Old Pitfield Road intersection, at.
In 2002 geologist and historian Laurie Moore published a book on the Burke murder. "Shot for Gold: The murder of Thomas Ulick Burke at the Woady Yaloak goldfield" is available from the Woady Yaloak Historical Society which is headquartered in Smythesdale.
Ballarat is a city located on the Yarrowee River in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. The city has a population of 101,588.
The Golden Plains Shire is a local government area in Victoria, Australia, located in the western part of the state. It covers an area of 2,704 square kilometres (1,044 sq mi) and at the 2016 Census, had a population of over 21,000. It includes the towns of Bannockburn, Gheringhap, Lethbridge, Linton, Berringa, Teesdale, Rokewood and Meredith.
Thomas Burke or Tom Burke may refer to:
Walter de Burgh, 1st Earl of Ulster, 2nd Lord of Connaught, also spelt Bourke or Burke, was an Irish peer from the House of Burke.
William de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster and 4th Baron of Connaught was an aristocrat in the Peerage of Ireland. His murder at age 20 led to the Burke Civil War.
Robert O'Hara Burke was an Irish soldier and police officer who achieved fame as an Australian explorer. He was the leader of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, which was the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north, finding a route across the continent from the settled areas of Victoria to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The expedition party was well equipped, but Burke was not experienced in bushcraft. A Royal Commission report conducted upon the failure of the expedition was a censure of Burke's judgement.
William John Wills was a British surveyor who also trained as a surgeon. He achieved fame as the second-in-command of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition, which was the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north, finding a route across the continent from the settled areas of Victoria to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Chiltern is a town in Victoria, Australia, in the northeast of the state between Wangaratta and Wodonga, in the Shire of Indigo. At the 2006 census, Chiltern had a population of 1063.It is the birth place of Raymond "Chuck" Bennett. The town is close to the Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park. Chiltern was once on the main road between Melbourne and Sydney but is now bypassed by the Hume Freeway running one kilometre to the east.
Ballymore Castle in Lawrencetown, County Galway, Ireland was originally a 15th-century tower house belonging to O'Madden. A house was added in 1620, and the castle has been much altered since then.
Gordon is a small town in Victoria, Australia, named after settler George Gordon. The town is located on the Old Melbourne Road in the Shire of Moorabool local government area, 95 kilometres (59 mi) west of the state capital, Melbourne. At the 2011 census, Gordon had a population of 1,151.
The Woady Yaloak River is a perennial river of the Corangamite catchment, located in the Western District Lakes region of the Australian state of Victoria.
Mount Egerton is a historic gold mining town in Victoria, Australia. It is located on the mountain by the same name in the Shire of Moorabool local government area, 97 kilometres (60 mi) north west of the state capital, Melbourne. At the 2016 census, Mount Egerton had a population of 582.
Thomas "Tom" Outridge was an Australian rules football player and administrator. Originally from Ballarat, Victoria, he played 217 games for Perth and Subiaco in the West Australian Football League (WAFL), and also represented Western Australia in 27 interstate matches, captaining the side at the 1930 Australian National Football Carnival. Outridge was also the winner of the inaugural Sandover Medal, in 1921. After his retirement, he served as secretary and later president of the Subiaco Football Club, and also as a commentator. In 2004, Outridge was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Ulick Burke, 3rd Earl of Clanricarde, Irish peer, died 1601. He was the son of Richard Burke, 2nd Earl of Clanricarde and Margaret O'Brien. He married Honora Burke, daughter of John Burke, on 25 November 1564 at Athenry, County Galway, Ireland.
During the Australian gold rushes, significant numbers of workers relocated to areas in which gold had been discovered. A number of gold finds occurred in Australia prior to 1851, but only the gold found from 1851 onwards created gold rushes. This is mainly because, prior to 1851, the colonial government of New South Wales had suppressed news of gold finds which it believed would reduce the workforce and destabilise the economy.
McMillans Bridge, is a riveted wrought iron open web truss bridge, located over the Woady Yaloak River on the Rokewood-Skipton Road between Rokewood and Werneth on a historical route between Geelong and the 1850s goldfields at Ararat and Streatham.
Pitfield Bridge, is a riveted wrought iron, Warren truss road bridge, located over the Woady Yaloak Creek on the Rokewood-Skipton Road near Pitfield in Victoria, Australia. The bridge was originally constructed in the late 1850s, by the Woady Yallock Roads Board, and modified later in the century by construction of a large riveted wrought iron truss span.
William Hixon McDonald (junior) (1840-1898) was an Australian miner, political candidate and pioneer of Corindhap, Victoria.