Mary Burke was born around 1852 to William Burke (farmer) and Bridget Hayes (spellings may be much more fluid!) - whose origins were uniformly recorded on her marriage, children's birth certificates and her death certificate as being "Cashel, Tipperary, Ireland". Mary Burke, 24, sailed on the 'Windsor Castle' from Gravesend, London on March 10, 1876 under the 'free' (unassisted) category, arriving in Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Queensland on June 21, 1876. On board also from the Tipperary region was James Burke, 28, who may have been Mary's older brother/a cousin/an uncle based on later property record transactions. There were Hayes who sailed on the same journey - Mary Hayes, 20, and John Hayes, 18, although possible family connections have not been established. Many Irish Roman Catholic Tipperary-familiar surnames sailed with Mary, such as the Kennedy family and Ryans. There were 196 Irish migrants, overwhelmingly the majority, out of the 382 travelling. On arrival in Brisbane, Mary worked as a domestic ('housemaid').
Our Mary Burke (now 25) married on 14 January, 1877, a fellow 'Windsor Castle' sailor, James Charles Marden (son of Leonhardt Marden/Elizabeth Erhardt), born in Hamburg, Germany who was baptised Roman Catholic after their wedding and the death of their second son. They built a home in Mossgrove St, Woolloongabba to raise their family. They had seven children - William Patrick (1877), Joseph Leonard (1878 - died as an infant), James Peter (1880), John Charles (1881), Mary Elizabeth (1883), Bridget Catherine (1885) and Sarah Eleanor (1888) - we're hoping there might be a few clues in naming patterns for further ancestors or family members.
A few interesting oral snippets handed down through the family: 1) It was reputed that Mary Burke's family had "gypsy" heritage (which could allude to non-Irish Romani, Irish Traveller and/or economic/ occupation nomadic movement heritage); 2) Mary Burke/Marden was proud of her horse skills sending out advertisements for a new buggy horse declaring "lady can drive" in 1896; 3) Musical talent was especially valued and nurtured in the children, with "open house" held on weekends with dances on the verandahs and couples 'jigging' on the big, wooden tables as piano melodies spilled out into the night; 4) Thomas Charles Beirne (b. 9 July, 1860) of Ballymacurley, Roscommon, a fellow Irish immigrant who made his name as a Brisbane entrepreneur, philanthropist and household name, was reputed to be a cousin; 5) Whenever a lightning storm approached, all the mirrors would be covered with blankets or towelling, to prevent anyone seeing the reflected lightning, potentially signalling death or ill-luck.
Although Mary was illiterate her entire life - she signed her will in 1923 with an 'X' - she ended up owning quite a few properties in her own name, one of the earliest purchased from a James Burke (who potentially travelled with her from Ireland) in 1884 . Mary passed away at her daughter Bridget 's (Bedelia/Delia who married into another Irish family through Vincent Myles) home in Venner Rd, Annerley. Another daughter Mary Elizabeth married into a fellow Irish migrant family who lived in Sunbeam St behind Venner Rd, the Catholic Kilmartins of Ennistimon, County Clare (James Kilmartin Jnr). We've a 1913 portrait of Mary Marden nee Burke, at her youngest daughter Sarah Eleanor's (Sadie's) wedding, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
|Date of Birth||1st Jan 1852|
|Date of Death||15th Apr 1923|
|Father (First Name/s and Surname)||William Burke|
|Mother (First Name/s and Maiden)||Bridget Hayes|
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