BOURKE, Emeritus Professor Colin John
15 September 1936 – 10 February 2021
Dearly loved Husband of Eleanor.
Cherished Father and Step-Father of Chris, Andrew (dec), Richard, Annie, Matthew, Sia, and Kelly.
Adored Brother, Uncle, Father-in-Law, Grandfather and Great-grandfather.
Respected colleague, mentor, teacher and friend to many.
‘We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind.’
Funeral NoticeService held Thursday February 18, 2021 - 11:00am
The Funeral Service of Emeritus Professor Colin Bourke will be held at the Lismore Community Centre, Seymour Street, Lismore on THURSDAY (18 Feb) at 11:00am.
Attendance within the Community Centre is capped at 120 people as per current Covid-19 restrictions. Speakers will be set up outside in case of overflow.
At the conclusion of the Service, the cortege will depart for the Lismore Cemetery.
The Service will also be livestreamed for those unable to attend.
Reception at Lismore can be unreliable. If the livestream freezes or cuts out due to bad reception, the footage of the service will be uploaded later that afternoon.
15 tributes Leave your tribute
Dear Aunty Eleanor
I was very saddened to hear of the passing of my Uncle Colin. He was a great inspiration to me as a young girl and I have very fond memories of him through all these years. Uncle Colin and my mother, Betty, were very close cousins who held a deep respect for each other. I will miss him always.
Fond memories of a long standing loyal friendship spanning sixty five years from early education days at Geelong Teachers’ College.
Condolences to all. He will be greatly missed but his legacy remains.
Fond memories of Colin and family coming up to the farm in Cheshunt.
Condolences to all the family during the sad time.
Dear Aunty Eleanor and family,
I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Uncle.
He was such a respected gentle soul, who will be greatly missed at all our events. He was loved and respected by many, including my 3 girls, while studying at Monash.
My Condolence to you and your family at this sad time
Love Diane Singh and family
RIP Uncle Colin.
Back home in the arms of the elders.🖤💛❤️🦅🐢
Emeritus Professor Colin Bourke was the Inaugural Chair of the Lismore Indigenous Garden Project and brought his considerable knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to enable it’s establishment. This garden will feature plants that were grown in this locality for thousands of years and used for food, fibre and medicine.
Education was Colin’s life-long passion and as the project continues to develop his legacy will be remembered.
Our condolences to Committee Member Eleanor and to Colin’s extended family.
Dear Eleanor and Family.
I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the the passing of Colin and send my sincere condolences to you all.
Colin was a highly respected Emeritus Professor who has accomplished so much for others during his life. His commitment to family and his achievements will always be fondly remembered by us.
Dear Eleanor and Family
I am so sad to hear of Professor Colin’s passing. He was a very special person in my educational journey as without his intervention I would not have gotten through my Bachelor degree. He personally ensured that the issues I was experiencing in my final subject would not affect my study and oversaw the marking of my final papers himself. To have the Dean on my side was unexpected but gratefully received and I am forever grateful for his support.
I hope that the respect that so many have for him will help the family cope at this difficult time, knowing that Colin has helped so many and been such a positive influence on the lives of many Aboriginal people.
My love and thoughts are with you all.
Deanne Hanchant-Nichols, Adelaide
An inspiring colleague for a younger teacher. Great affection for his quiet but determined demeanour. Never forgotten.
Dear Eleanor and family
So many wonderful memories from our early days together here in the ACT. Thinking of you all today gathering to farewell a hero of education. My deepest love and respect to a great man and strength and love to you all.
Dear Eleanor & Family
We send to you all our deepest condolences, love and prayers on the loss of your dearly Beloved Colin a wonderful Husband,Father, Grandfather, Brother. Uncle, Cousin and a treasured friend especially to our Dear Sister Flo, who spoke often about your antics and how together you were a force to be reckoned with.
We were so happy to see you both again Flo’s Funeral 1& months ago, sadly noting that this was the last time we would see him
We are sorry we couldn’t be with you all today but we are with you in spirit and watching the service on line
We thank God for his life and his work in Aboriginal Services.
May God continue to bless you all and give you strength as you begin your life without him by your side.
Love from the Grant Family
Stan & Betty
Lorna & Bob Brown
Herb & Kay
Mr Bourke ( as we called him at school) was my teacher at Rubicon Junction State School 4143
I remember him as a wonderful teacher and under his guidance our little school started to win sporting competitions against bigger schools. I will never forget his sack racing instructions! He also took us into the bush to see wild orchids and had us crouching down and keeping still as a mob of kangaroos went by.
I saw him again just once years later in the late 1990’s when we had lunch together and I was able to thank him for the positive influence his teaching had on my life. Mandy Brent-Houghton ( nee Ford)
Uncle, Where to begin?
Firstly I am so so glad that I got to speak with and to visit you prior to your passing. I am also glad for the time we shared over the years and I am honoured that you saw me as a conduit for some of the business that you knew you might not get too toward the end.
I am gutted, yet I am grinning as I think of me telling you “Unc tell me to go if I get too much you know I will sit here and yap away all day’ and you responded ‘you have 10 more minutes’ with a grin – but you meant it.
Honestly you and Eleanor are both titans to me. There are others but today is about the dynamic duo and the sad loss of one part of that duo. The humility that both of you show is true to our cultures and it also masks so many of your achievements. Yet it also instilled in me an important lesson – don’t do things for money or personal glory do them quietly and do them for the right reasons. My mum taught me that and you both kept me strong and reinforced that despite the shenanigans of the sector. I am also glad I got to tell you about your impact on my life even before I ever met you and Eleanor. Your scholarship helped me to understand why my world and my life was the way it was through a lens that wasn’t available to me as a dumb ass kid who dropped out of school in year 9 and who had no aspirations or expectations of life beyond my fortnightly dole payment and the small world I lived in both in my head and in my world. You helped me to understand that my mentality and the limitations I was living were not ‘natural’ but were both political, imposed and not insurmountable. Meeting you and Aunty after that was seriously just a cherry on top.
I am going to close this off with a quote from Leanne Holt’s work. She promised not to sue so lets test that! Uncle Bob Morgan said about you – “Colin was quiet, unassuming, a really deep thinker . . . he’s one of those unsung heroes and doesn’t get enough of the recognition that I believe he deserves for his role in Aboriginal education, and he’s a gun of a man”. (Holt, 2021).
You really were and are a gun of a Kamilaroi and Koori man and I am sure the ancestral domain has been strengthened and invigorated by your arrival. I love you Uncle and will miss you forever and really appreciate the time, patience and faith that you showed in me.
Vale Emeritus Professor Colin Bourke … Colin was a man of principle, a cultural warrior for education, he had a generosity of spirit throughout his working career in Education specializing in Aboriginal Education. As a teacher, administrator, senior bureaucrat and academic Colin made a stellar contribution in the development of Aboriginal Education policy and programs. Cultural relevant curriculum for Aboriginal children and professional learning for teachers continued to be his keen interests. Colin was a leader whose influence knew no bounds. The NAEC, VAECG and Aboriginal Education movement from the 70’s benefited from his intellect and cultural integrity. Colin was a trailblazer in Higher Education serving as a Professor, Head of School/Research Centre, Dean and Deputy Vice Chancellor of UniSA before returning to Melbourne Colin leaves a legacy that will be celebrated and continue to influence change. My deepest sympathy to Eleanor and the family,
Dear Aunty sending lots of Ngurrbul to you will miss you dearly uncle 💜
My sincere condolence to the family.
RIP Uncle Colin.