YEAR OF DEATH
DETAILS OF DEATH
John BURKE was a Constable and part of a band of five constables engaged in the pursuit of convict Bush rangers in the Police District of Oatlands, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in January 1846.
BURKE had been sent by the constable in charge of his party to the township of Oatlands to inquire about a rumour that men had recently been captured in the area. Arrangements were made for BURKE to meet the remainder of the party at a bridge the following day.
BURKE arrived at the bridge some hours before the rest of the party and whilst kneeling by the water to get a drink, his foot accidently kicked his carbine, which was leaning against a nearby log. The carbine fell and discharged a shot, which struck BURKE in the back. John BURKE managed to drag himself under the bridge, seeking shelter from the hot sun and was discovered by the rest of his party several hours later. BURKE survived long enough to describe what had happened before succumbing to his injuries about an hour after being found.