Tag Archives: Bank of Victoria

Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: James Burston

James Burston who was promoted to Honorary Brigadier General after returning to Australia and Honorary Major General prior to retirement in 1920
Colonel James Burston was promoted to Honorary Brigadier General after returning to Australia and Honorary Major General prior to his retirement in 1920

Colonel

James Burston was the first born son (1856) of Samuel Burston and Sophy Keath, who married in Kilmore in 1855. There were 2 other children; George and Agnes. They lived on 5 blocks on the corner of Parade and Lamb Streets. They also had a business in Somerset House on the north east corner of Bourke and Sydney Streets which they sold after a short time and purchased “Oak Park” at Prospect Hill between Kilmore and Broadford.

The family were by this time in the malting business and moved to Flinders Street Melbourne where they bought up several other malting businesses including Victoria Breweries. James and George managed this business after the death of their father in 1886. James married Marianne McBean in Kilmore in 1883, and had 3 sons and 3 daughters.

James had joined the Victorian Volunteers and by 1885 was promoted to Captain of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. In 1897 as a Lieutenant Colonel he represented Victoria for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in London. He served in the Boer War.

In 1900 James was elected to the Melbourne City Council and was Mayor in 1908 and retired by 1912 but continued in public office as Chairman of the Officers Selection Board and on the board of the Bank of Victoria and others.

In 1915 James at the age of 58 was the Commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade AIF, which saw service in Gallipoli. Deteriorating health saw him repatriated to Mudros on the Greek Island of Lemnos where he became Officer Commanding of Reinforcements. He was repatriated to Melbourne in 1916 and retired in 1920.

James died at his residence at Hawthorn on the 4 March 1920 and is buried in St. Kilda Cemetery. There is an ornate brass plaque in St. Paul’s Cathedral to his memory mentioning his Boer War service.

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 19 May 2015, p10

See also James Burston, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Centenary of WW1; Kilmore Remembers: Richard Thomas Cooke

Dick Cooke came from Irish catholic roots and was a son of Pyalong. One of twelve living children he was born at home on the family farm on February 24 1896. His father was Nicholas Cooke and his mother was Margaret, nee Ryan.

He was educated at Pyalong State School, then Assumption College Kilmore.

In February 1913, aged 17 he began work as a bank clerk in the Kilmore branch of the Bank of Victoria while undertaking his compulsory military training with the Essendon Rifles Senior Cadets.

In January 1915, he moved to Watchem with the Bank. By April he had been sent to Ouyen.  It was here, in June with his parents’ consent he enlisted.

As part of the 23rd Battalion, he was among the last of the reinforcements at Gallipoli and also part of it successful evacuation.  By the end of the year he was in France. In July 1916 he was wounded in the Battle of Pozieres.  In late August, Richard rejoined the Battalion.  He had survived one of the worst battles of the War only to return to the Somme offensive. On Thursday, 9th of November 1916, Richard was killed on the line at Flers.   He was 20 years old. Later a friend would write: “I can’t say how sorry I am to hear of young Dick Cooke going under. He was such a happy good natured young fellow, always smiling, the sort of lad everybody liked”.  The Kilmore Advertiser described him as “a game, joyous boy and a general favourite”.

He is remembered at the A.I.F. Burial Ground in Flers, France.

In Pyalong, he is commemorated on the Pyalong State School Honour Roll, a Roll of Honour from the Shire of Pyalong, now located in the Community Hall. His name is on a plaque beneath a picture of Saint Joseph in the Pyalong Catholic Church.

In Kilmore, he is commemorated on the doors of the small chapel at Assumption College, on the Honour Board in the Kilmore Memorial Hall and on the Kilmore War Memorial.

By Elizabeth Pidgeon

Richard Thomas Cooke, 1896-1916
Richard Thomas Cooke, 1896-1916

Photo source: Cooke Family

Reproduced in the North Central Review, 9 December 2014, p6