Governor Richard Bourke Commemorated

On 3 December 1831 Irishman Major-General Richard Bourke arrived in Sydney to begin a six-year term as the eighth governor of the colony of New South Wales. On the 184th anniversary of Bourke’s arrival, his contribution to the colony was marked by a reception at Government House in Sydney hosted by the current governor General David Hurley and Mrs Hurley. During the evening the invited guests were informed and entertained by talks on Bourke given by Dr Richard O’Brien, who spoke on Bourke’s relationship with his cousin Edmund Burke, Professor Tony Parr, who spoke on Bourke’s period as acting governor in Cape Colony, and Dr Jeff Brownrigg, who spoke on Bourke and music in colonial Australia. This event was followed by a colloquium in Canberra on 7 and 8 December at the Australian National University. Speakers included the three from the Government House reception, who expanded on their topics, and Dr Christine Wright on Bourke’s soldiering, Dr David Roberts on Bourke’s convicts, Dr Richard Reid on Bourke and immigration, Dr Jeff Kildea on Bourke’s law, Prof John Molony on Bourke and Plunkett, Dr Cheryl Mongan on Bourke and his Australian travels, Dr James Warden on Bourke and Batman’s “treaty” with the Aborigines, and Dr David Headon on Bourke’s statue in Sydney. It is proposed to publish the papers in an edited collection.

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