Susannah Alletta Nicholson

#227, (16 May 1850-31 August 1907)
FatherDonald Nicholson (12 Jan 1812-3 Nov 1899)
MotherMargaret Brown (14 May 1818-22 May 1874)

Short Biography

     Susannah was born in Bowning NSW, the fifth surviving child of Scottish parents. She spent the first 9 years of life in the Yass district, and then another ten in the vicinity of Forbes.

At the age of twenty she became the mother of Frederick Hilton William Nicholson, but didn't disclose who the father was. She evidently didn't keep the child.

She married Michael Bourke, a miner, at the age of twenty four - and gave birth the same momentous day. She and Michael became the first matron and wardsman of Parkes District Hospital, and four more children were to follow.

Susannah and Michael moved to Stannifer and he became a publican, but died of alcoholic posioning there leaving her a widow with three children (and one on the way) at the age of 33.

She moved to Sydney and worked as a shopkeeper before re-marrying at the age of 37. She spent the last 20 years of her life with her new husband, dying at the age of 57 of cancer.
     (For a brief history and context on the Bourke family - which this person is an extended member of - see this page)

NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page - Tim Hill.
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Susannah was born on Thursday, 16 May 1850 at the NSW country town of Bowning, New South Wales.1,2 She was the daughter of Donald Nicholson and Margaret Brown. It is most likely that her name christitian and middle names were in memory of Susannah Alletta McCallum, who died at the age of fourteen whilst swimming in the Murrumbidgee. She was the eldest daughter of Archibald McCallum who owned the "Good Hope" homestead near Yass. Donald and Margaret, Argyle's grandparents, apparently lived there, working for the MacCallum family in the late 1840's. Our Susannah must have been conceived at about the time the other Susannah drowned.2 She was baptised on Sunday, 16 June 1850 at Yass, New South Wales.1 Susannah Alletta Nicholson was also known as Susan.3

Whilst in her pre-teen years Susan lived with her family in the Yass district4, and at Limestone Creek5. She lived with her parents at Yass, New South Wales, in October 1852. She lived with her parents at Limestone Creek, in the district of Yass, New South Wales, in January 1859.6 She lived with her parents at South Lead, in Forbes, New South Wales, in October 1865. Donald and Margaret were to remain residents of the town for at least three years.7

Susannah, aged 20 and an unknown person became the parents of Frederick Hilton William Nicholson on Thursday, 13 October 1870 at Forbes, New South Wales. This first child of Susannah's, born when she was 20, was illegitimate - the father's name was not stated on the birth certificate. Her mother Margaret was present at the birth..8 She presumably moved with her parents to Bushman's Lead, New South Wales, in 1871. They made the move just after gold had been discovered, when the town 'consisted of a butcher's shop, a bakery and a few houses which the hardy pioneers had constructed from the timber around them.9,10' Susannah Alletta Nicholson was a witness at the wedding of Henry Olliver and her sister Mary Jane Nicholson at her father's house on Sunday, 8 September 1872 at Bushman's Lead, New South Wales.9

Her mother died 22 May 1874 at the age of 56. Susannah was aged 24 when this happened.11,12

She married Michael Bourke, a miner, son of Patrick Bourke and Mary Ann Cannon, in a Weslyan Methodist ceremony at her father's house on Saturday, 26 December 1874 at Parkes, New South Wales. She was 24 and her husband Michael was 27. Witnesses to the wedding were Margaret Nicholson, Donald Nicholson and James Brown Nicholson.13 Susannah, aged 24 and Michael Bourke, aged 27 became the parents of James John Bourke on Saturday, 26 December 1874 at Forbes Street, in Parkes, New South Wales. James was apparently born on the same day as his parent's wedding (although it is not known which of these two events happened first on this rather momentous day). James was to be the first of four children born to Michael and Susannah, but did not live much beyond his first birthday..14,12

Susannah Alletta Nicholson and Michael Bourke were first matron and first wardsman of the Parkes District Hospital. This was a very small affair with no more than six male beds and four female beds. These appointments may have been helped by Susannah's sister's husband High Sutherland being president of the hospital. It isn't known how long they held the positions, but by March 1881 the hospital was looking for people for the positions again and offerring to pay £75 per annum. It was customary for these roles to filled be a husband and wife, and for them to be offerred the roles jointly. However, it is open to question how effective Susannah was at the role, considering she had two children within two and half years of the opening of the hospital.15,16

A newspaper article announced the opening of the hospital on 21 October 1876:
" On Friday last the public hospital was opened. The morning broke rather unfavourably, looking as though we were going to have a very wet day; but about nine o'clock it cleared up, and the Freemasons, Oddfellows, and United Miners' lodges all came forward, and marched in procession, headed by the hospital committee and the Parkes brass band, who played very creditably, under the leadership of our public school teacher Mr. Booth. On arriving at the hospital, the treasurer and secretary read their reports, showing a very satisfactory state of affairs; after which, P. Dalton, Esq., P.M., who presided, declared the hospital ready for the reception of patients. The doors were then thrown open by Mr. H. H. Cooke, J.P. Mr. Dalton made a very able appeal to tbe public to give the institution tbe amount of support it deserved. The Rev. Mr. Hopkins next addressed, the assemblage in a very forcible speech. The public then dispersed-some to inspect the building and the remainder to the sports on the green, consisting of foot-races, jumping, ounders, and a variety of other sports, all hands appearing; tn enjoy themselves immensely till late in the afternoon when at the sound of the bugle, all mustered and marched in procession to the town.17

Susannah, aged 26 and Michael Bourke, aged 29 became the parents of Don Bourke on Saturday, 10 February 1877 at Parkes District Hospital, in Parkes, New South Wales.18

Susannah, aged 28 and Michael Bourke, aged 31 became the parents of Mary Alberta MacCallum Bourke on Friday, 14 March 1879 at Parkes, New South Wales. It is most likely that Mary's middle name "MacCallum" was in memory of the MacCallum family who owned the "Good Hope" homestead near Yass. Donald and Margaret, Mary's grandparents, apparently lived there, working for the MacCallum family in the late 1840's..19

At some point, the family moved north some seven hundred kilometres to the tin-mining district near Stannifer and Michael took on the publican's licence for the Royal Hotel at the tin mining town of Tingha, New South Wales - perhaps this was connected with his brother James' licence for this same hotel a few years earlier.

Michael and Susannah were likely affected by a fire which hit their hotel on 27 February 1880:
"COPE'S CREEK, TINGHA.
February 21.,
He have for a long time been in a sort of semi-stagnation, and it is only lately; through the rise of our staple produce, "tin", that we have become aware that Tingha is destined to play an important part as thé centre of a large tin producing district. Several miners are now prospecting for new runs of tin, and we trust they will soon receive a rich reward.
Yesterday forenoon, a cry of fire was heard, which threw our usual quiet and phlegmatic inhabitants into a state of excitement and activity, and it was soon found that the stables and shed of Bourke's Royal Hotel, and of McLean Brothers' stores were on fire. At one time it was thought the whole town of Tingha must succumb to the flames, as several buildings, even so faraway as Sullivan's Commercial Hotel, and May and Groves' butcher's shop, had caught fire on their bark roofs. As it was, willing hands were soon on the spot, and the fire was fortunately conflned to the stables of McLean Brothers and Bourke's. We believe that Mclean Bros., who lost several tons of hay, blankets, and other goods, are insured, but Mr. Bourke, of the Royal Hotel, is a heavy loser..."20



The hotel was most likely operating from a rude slab hut. Pubs where:
"the meeting places where there was always some miner celebrating his luck or drowning his sorrows at the lamp-lit bars and where there were frequent fights to settle a score or prove a point. In the evenings, mellow Irish voices and rich Welsh voices could be heard raised in song, with the music of bagpipes, concertinas, fiddles, flutes mouth organs or tambourines drifting from dimly lit tents and huts - music that drifted on the night air to mingle with the baying and barking of dogs and the grunting & squealing of pigs."21


Susannah, aged 31 and Michael Bourke, aged 34 became the parents of Susan Georgina Gormon Bourke on Tuesday, 5 July 1881 at the tin mining town of Stannifer, New South Wales. The "Gorman" part of her name comes from her her aunt's married name, as the Gorman's also lived in the district and were also publicans..22

Her husband Michael died 27 November 1883 at the age of 36, leaving her a widow at age 33. He died of alcohol poisoning in Sydney in the care of his brother.23 She was determined as beneficiary in her husband Michael Bourke's probate settlement (as he died intestate) on 9 April 1884. His estate was valued at £435. It had taken more than four months for this determination to be made.24 Susannah, aged 33 and Michael Bourke, aged 36 became the parents of Argyle Michael Bourke on Thursday, 24 April 1884 at Stannifer, New South Wales.25

Susannah lived in May 1888 at the Sydney suburb of Macdonaldtown.26 She was a shopkeeper in May 1888 at Macdonaldtown, NSW.27

She married John Dalgety Thomson, son of John Thomson and Betsy Bruce, at the Wesleyan Parsonage, 379 King St. on Monday, 7 May 1888 at the Sydney suburb of Newtown. It is likely that at least some of Susannah's children would have chosen to live, at least for a while, with their mother and her new husband. Marie, who was very young when her mother remarried, called herself Marie Thompson on at least one occasion.28.27

Despite being named as an engineer on his marriage certificate, he was apparently a publican within a year. This may have been Susannah's influence, given her family's involvement in the hotel trade. However, the situation is clouded due to how common the name 'John Thomson' was; in any event, it would seem they spent the next six years moving from pub to pub in Sydney. Nearly three years later on Thursday, 10 December 1891 a John Thomson relinquished the licence to at the Captain Cook Hotel Clyde Street in the Sydney suburb of Millers Point.29 On 23 December 1891 a John Thomson relinquished a colonial wine licence associated with at 341 Oxford Street in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.30

In 1893 a John Thomson was the publican of the Blue Anchor at 176 George Street, in Sydney. It is very likely that this is the John Thomson of our interest.31 John acquired the publican's licence to Trafalgar Hotel in Castelreagh Street, in Sydney on Thursday, 29 June 1893 on the same day that he relinquished the licence to the Blue Anchor.32 John acquired the publican's licence to the Glasgow Arms at 312 George Street, in Sydney on Wednesday, 30 August 1893 on the same day that he relinquished the licence to the Trafalgar Hotel.33

The renewal of the licence for Sydney was objected to a policeman on 13 June 1894:
"John Thomson applied for a renewal of the Glasgow Arms, George-street. Inspector Potter objected, on the grounds that applicant had a private bar apparently sub-let to females. Sergeant Carbeny testified that in May he visited the private bar, and on one occasion saw two barmaids sitting on two men's knees. On another occasion one - of the barmaids was sitting in an unbecoming way across a man's knees. He called the licensee's attention to the conduct. For the applicant Captain Kain, of the barque Bass Bock, was called. He stated that on the night of the 31st ultimo he was in the bar where Miss Brennan and Miss Payton were barmaids. Witness noticed the officers approach, and denied that any impropriety or indecorous conduct took place. Under cross-examination : 'Did you have your arms round the girl's neck?' 'No, it is not likely.' ' Why?' Because I'm a married man.' (Laughter.) Miss Kathleen Brennan stated that she was in receipt of £1 weekly from Thomson as barmaid. She denied that improper conduct had taken place. The bench, by a majority, granted the application, but cautioned the applicant to be more careful."34,35



The Thompson family were the managers of the Como Hotel, in Como, Sutherland, New South Wales for at least a year or so circa 1895.

Susannah and John hosted a festive evening on 20 February 1895:
"The members of the Festive Den, Como, and several of the Eastern Suburbs Harmonic Club, entertained themselves and friends at a quiet social gathering on Wednesday evening. Mrs. Thompson, the hostess of the Como Hotel, Como, placed her ballroom (which was tastefully decorated for the occasion) at their disposal, and a most enjoyable time was spent. Between the dances, several songs were creditably rendered, notably Mr. A. Blanchard, 'I Forget,' 'I'm in the Chair,' 'Moonbeams;' Mr. George Green, ' My Sweetheart When a Boy,' 'The Broken Home;' Mr. A. E. Bateman, ' What Will Tou Lend Me on Dolly,' and ''E Dunno Where 'E Are ;' Mr. Val. Bourke, 'The Ship I Love;' Mr. B. Dean, 'Poetical Fellows;' Mr. Ern. Bourke, song and dance; Mr. W. Shortall, 'Sweet Marie;' Mr. W. Bourke, 'Estudiantana.' Messrs. E. Bourke and Bash officiated at the- piano and Mr. A. E. Bateman fulfilled the duties of M.C.36



On Monday, 28 October 1895 Susannah Alletta Nicholson and her son Donald were charged with having sold English Ale at Como, New South Wales from an unlicensed hotel. Three police officers observed them serving drinks where there were some 2,000 people at the hotel. They were assisted by John Dalgety Thomson but he wasn't charged though he acted to see the policemen off the premises. However, despite anything that may have happened, the police work was sloppy and the case was dismissed.37
The Como Hotel (photographed 1883-1910?)
(source: National Library of Australia - William Robert Easdown collection - nla.pic-vn3297758)


Her husband John died 16 March 1898 at the aproximate age of 39, leaving her a widow at age 47.

Susannah Alletta Nicholson advertised to take in boarders in Como, Sutherland, New South Wales after the death of her husband.38

Her father died 3 November 1899 at the age of 87. Susannah was aged 49 when this happened.
Susannah Nicholson's death notice
(Sydney Morning Herald, 02 Sep 1907)
Susannah lived in August 1907 at at "Thornleigh" in Bay Street in the Sydney suburb of Rockdale. at Rockdale, apparently the home of her son-in-law Joe and daughter Mary.39,40

Susannah died on 31 August 1907 at the Sydney suburb of Rockdale at age 57 of abdominal cancer. Susannah had been ill for ten weeks before her death. Cancer was also to claim her youngest daughter, Susie, at the age of forty.39 Her body was interred at Woronora Presbyterian cemetery on 2 September 1907 at Sutherland. (She is buried in Section C Grave 46 with her husband John Thomson).39,41,42

Child of Susannah Alletta Nicholson

Child

Children of Susannah Alletta Nicholson and Michael Bourke

Children

Family of Susannah Alletta Nicholson and John Dalgety Thomson

Last Edited5 Nov 2013
ChartsBourke family - descendants
Brown family - descendants
Miller Family (Scotland) - descendants
Nicholson Family 1 - descendants
Mike Hill - ancestors
Descendents of Patrick Bourke
Four generations

Citations

  1. [S248] Parish Registers - Parish of Yass, 1788- 1856 Vol. 50 entry 1231.
  2. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1849 'Family Notices.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 8 November, p. 3, viewed 16 October, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12906915
  3. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1907 'Family Notices.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 2 September, p. 6, viewed 29 August, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article29689221
  4. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1857 No.12375.
  5. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1859 No.14301.
  6. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1859 No. 14301.
  7. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1865 No.2533.
  8. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1870 No. 9613.
  9. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1872 No.2094.
  10. [S644] The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser, 1934 'GENERAL NEWS.', The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser (NSW : 1876 - 1948), 8 October, p. 3, viewed 3 August, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112820901
  11. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1874 No. 4743.
  12. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1875 No. 10,895.
  13. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1874 No. 2353.
  14. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1876 No. 6115.
  15. [S328] The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser, 1879 'PARKES.', The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), 13 May, p. 3, viewed 17 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18924410
  16. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1881 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 8 April, p. 12, viewed 20 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13472711
  17. [S593] The Australian Town and Country Journal (New South Wales), 1876 'PARKES.', Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), 21 October, p. 9, viewed 2 March, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70605169
  18. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1877 No. 11,630.
  19. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1879 No. 13,250.
  20. [S593] The Australian Town and Country Journal (New South Wales), 1880 'COPE'S CREEK, TINGHA.', Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), 28 February, p. 38, viewed 27 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70941438
  21. [S216] Helen Brown, Tin at Tingha.
  22. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1881 No, 19,252.
  23. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1833 No. 1973.
  24. [S4] Supreme Court of NSW - Probate and Administration, Series 3 No.9651 27th November 1893.
  25. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1884 No. 23,195.
  26. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1888 No.2731.
  27. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1888 No. 2731.
  28. Birth certificate, Argyle Hill, 1902 No. 5981
  29. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1891 'WATER POLICE LICENSING COURT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 11 December, p. 7, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13845640
  30. [S641] The Evening News, 1891 'Water Licensing Court.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 26 December, p. 6, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111990802
  31. [S31] Sand's Directory, Sydney & NSW 1893 p.883.
  32. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1893 'LICENSING COURT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 30 June, p. 3, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28262848
  33. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1893 'WATER POLICE LICENSING COURT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 31 August, p. 3, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13937470
  34. [S641] The Evening News, 1894 'Water Licensing Court.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 14 June, p. 5, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114085490
  35. [S31] Sand's Directory, Sydney & NSW 1894 p.837(?).
  36. [S641] The Evening News, 1895 'SOCIAL ITEMS.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 22 February, p. 3, viewed 20 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108069817
  37. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1895 'THE POLICE AND THE LICENSING ACT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 29 October, p. 3, viewed 20 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14022859 ("THE POLCE AND LICENSING ACT
    At the Newtown Police Court yesterday, before Mr Addison, S.M. , Sub-inspector Elliott proceeded against Mrs J. Thompson [sic], of Como for having, on the 7th instant at Como, sold English ale without holding a license.
    At the same court Donald Bourke a son of Mrs.Thompson was charged with a similar offence at the same place.
    Mr Bull who appeared for the defence, pointed out that the premises where the alleged offence was committed was the Como Hotel, in which a renewal of the then existing license was refused at the last annual Licensing Court. The alleged offence took place on Eight Hour Day, when there were some 2000 pleasure seekers at Como. Five days after the alleged offence the owner of the
    premises obtained a license, which he afterwards transferred to the present licensee. He pleaded not guilty in each case, and intended to show by evidence the extraordinary conduct of the
    police on the day in question He would admit all formalities and also admit that there was no license attached to the premises at the time of the alleged offence.
    Constable Smith stated he was stationed at Petersham. He, in company with other two police officers, was on duty at Como in plain clothes on Eight-hour Day. At that time there was no license in existence for the premises known as the Como Hotel. Witness was sitting on a verandah of the hotel during the afternoon, and close to him was a window of a room once used as a private bar. The window was partly open, and witness could see into the room from were he was sitting. He saw the defendant Bourke enter the room along with two other men. One of the men said to the other "What is yours? mine is whisky" and received as a reply from his companion, "English ale for me." They were both served with drinks by defendant, and tendered in payment a large silver coin, either a 2s piece or half a crown. Defendant took the money and gave them change in return. Other evidence was given showing that attempts had been made to get liquor from the defendant, and it was admitted that the police took two quart bottles of colonial ale with them from Sydney.
    Donald Bourke stated he was the defendant in this case. He saw the three constables present in court at Como on Eight-hour Day. They were in plain clothes, and were hanging round the hotel all
    day and at last became such a nuisance that his father was sent for and put them out. They were bothering witness's mother all day for drink Witness was informed during the afternoon that they
    were police officers. Two boys resident at Petersham told him. Witness saw the three constables at the lunch table. Constables Meehan and Hazlett were slightly the worse for liquor. Witness denied serving any person with liquor on Eight-hour Day.
    Mrs. Thompson stated she attended to the lunch table on Eight-hourDay at Como. The police officers in court partook of lunch in the afternoon, and that she had to send for her husband, who came down end ordered them off the premises.
    At this stage Mr. Addison said he did not wish to hear any further evidence for the defence. To his mind the conduct of the police in this matter was, to put it m the mildest form, very indiscreet. By their own evidence they admitted trying to force people to break the law. They also admitted - and he thought it a disgrace - having taken with then several bottles of beer from Sydney. He did not consider they were the right men to undertake such work. He had, therefore, not the slightest hesitation in dismissing the case.
    Mr. Elliott said he would withdraw the case against Mrs Thompson.").
  38. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1899 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 10 March, p. 8, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14203908
  39. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1907 No. 11049.
  40. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 02 09 1907 p.6.
  41. [S477] Website Australia Cemetery Index, 1808-2007 Ancestry.com, Compiler: Central Coast Family History Society; Collection Title: Index to the Charles Kinsela Funeral Directors Registers; Reference: Woronora Presbyterian. Section C Grave 46.
  42. [S680] Webpage Woronora General Cemetery and Crematorium (http://www.woronoracemetery.org.au/) http://www.woronoracemetery.org.au/finding-loved-ones
  43. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1881 No.19,252.
  44. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1883 No. 1973.