Right Reverend Monsignor Thomas BourkePrint Page Print this page

A bas-relief life size head and shoulders sculpture commemorates Right Reverend Monsignor Bourke, the parish priest of Townsville for more than 20 years who died in 1928. 

A large number of parishioners of the Strand and other Townsville parishes were present at South Joseph's Church, the Strand on Monday evening, the occasion being the unveiling of a memorial to the late Right Rev. Monsignor Bourke, by His Grace, Most Rev. J. Duhig, Archbishop of Brisbane. Placed in a niche on the side wall, beside the head of the tomb that holds the mortal remains of the late Monsignor, in St. Joseph's Church, the memorial takes the form of a bas-relief, life-size, of the head and shoulders of Townsville's deceased Domestic Prelate. As such it should serve as a perpetual reminder of the esteem in which the late Monsignor was held by his people. At the base of the memorial is the inscription : "Sacred, to the memory of the Right Rev. Monsignor Thomas Francis Bourke, V.G. P.P. Born 17th August 1874, died 3rd September, 1928." In addition to the most reverend visitor, other members of the hierarchy and clergy present were, Right Rev. T. McGuire, Bishop of Townsville, Right Rev. Monsignor McLaughlin, Adm. V.G., Rev. Dr. Kelly (Townsville West), Rev. Fathers Sweeney (Strand), Bray (South Townsville), McCoy (Mundingburra) and Rush (Townsville West). Several Sisters of Mercy from St. Patricks College were also present in the side aisle. Introducing His Grace, Dr. McGuire said that, despite the fact that Archbishop Duhig had many demands on his time, he had graciously agreed to unveil the memorial that had been erected to tho late Monsignor Bourke. The memorial itself was a beautiful piece of work. It was His Lordship's privilege to have as a friend the late Monsignor, when they were students together at the ecclesiastical college, and it was the privilege of the people of Townsville, to claim him as a friend and a great priest for the many years of his ministry with them. 

Prior to unveiling the memorial, His Grace, Archbishop Duhig, addressed the congregation as under : — 'I deem it a great privilege to be requested by your good Bishop to unveil this memorial. It is entirely appropriate that there be some memorial erected by the people to commemorate, not only the great work of the late Monsignor Bourke, but also your affection for him. He first came to Townsville as curate to one of the noblest priests that it has been my privilege to know, the late Father William Mason Walsh. He was later appointed to Walkerston, and on the death of Father Walsh in 1908, there was no one in my mind, who could fill his place more adequately than his old curate, Father Thomas Bourke. Townsville was then made a Deanery and for 20 years, first as Dean and later as Domestic Prelate end Vicar General, the late Monsignor served the people of Townsville and the whole Diocese of Rockhampton. There is no need for me to dwell on the character of the late Monsignor. You knew him as well as I did, some of you more intimately. His character was a singularly beautiful and simple one. He was a most zealous priest, a devoted friend, with a wonderful hospitality and a very fine man. I do not think that anyone ever approached the late Monsignor without knowing what it was to share in that kindness and sympathy, so characteristic of him.
Excerpt from Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld) : 23rd December 1930



Address:8 Fryer Street, St. Joseph`s Church, North Ward, 4810
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -19.253297
Long: 146.817581
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 22nd December, 1930
Front Inscription
Sacred, to the memory of the Right Rev. Monsignor Thomas Francis Bourke, V.G. P.P. Born 17th August 1874, died 3rd September, 1928
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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