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 the 7th and 8th December at the Australian National University. Speakers included those from the Government House reception, who expanded on their topics. Other input came from: Dr Christine Wright who spoke on Bourke’s soldiering skills; 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 in the near future.