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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Bourne, Joseph Orton (1844–1931)

by Marjorie Walker

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

Joseph Orton Bourne (1844-1931), public servant, was born on 30 June 1844 at Windsor, New South Wales, the second son of Robert Ebenezer Bourne and his wife Eleanor, third daughter of Joseph Orton. In 1850 he went with his parents to Melbourne where he was educated privately and in 1858 the family moved to Bathurst in New South Wales. In 1859 he went in the schooner Vixen to Brisbane, where his grandfather, Robert Bourne (1794-1871), who had been appointed by the London Missionary Society to the South Seas in 1816, was secretary to the Board of General Education. For the next two years Joseph attended the Normal School where he was among the first to be enrolled. In September 1861 he entered the Surveyor-General's Department as a cadet and on 1 October 1862 was appointed a draftsman. He transferred to the Registrar-General's Department on 1 January 1873 as chief draftsman in the Real Property Office and on 1 October 1884 was appointed the first deputy-registrar of titles. He became registrar of titles on 4 December 1889 and held this post until he retired on 30 June 1904.

By his arrival in Queensland in the year of separation he shared in the growth and development of the public service and identified himself with the life of the young colony. A keen athlete when young and a fine rifle shot, he was gazetted lieutenant in No. 1 Battery, Artillery Brigade of the Queensland Volunteer Force on 24 March 1877 and promoted captain on 1 April 1881. He resigned on 5 January 1883 and was placed on the unattached list of officers on 28 February and on the retired list on 16 January 1889.

On 23 April 1883 at All Saints Church of England, Brisbane, Bourne married Emily, elder daughter of Dr William Hobbs and his wife Anna Louisa, née Barton, a sister of Edmund. His wife died on 23 January 1915 aged 56, and on 27 November 1931 Bourne died at his home in Abbot Street, Ascot, aged 87. He was survived by two sons and a daughter, Muriel; a second daughter died in infancy. The two sons saw service in World War I and then settled in the United States, Alfred in Chicago and Joseph in San Francisco.

Select Bibliography

  • R. S. Browne, A Journalist's Memories (Brisb, 1927)
  • Queensland Government Gazette, 4 Oct 1862, 11 Dec 1872, 5 Jan 1883, 1 Oct 1884, 2 Feb, 4 Dec 1889, 14 May 1904
  • Brisbane Courier, 24 Apr 1883, 5 Dec 1889, 28 Jan 1915, 28 Nov 1931
  • Telegraph (Brisbane), 28 Jan 1915, 27 Nov 1931
  • Daily Mail (Brisbane), 28 Nov 1931
  • G. H. Bourne, Notes on the Bourne Family (State Library of Queensland).

Citation details

Marjorie Walker, 'Bourne, Joseph Orton (1844–1931)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 24 October 2020.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

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