Obituary — Bourke farewells a great bloke

A requiem mass for the late Jim O’Shannessy was held at Bourke’s Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Saturday.

Jim passed away suddenly when returning from a family holiday on 17th January 2021.

Numbers were limited in the church building due to COVID restrictions, and a large crowd gathered outside to pay final respects to a popular Bourke resident.

Due to over 50mm of rain overnight, the interment had to be delayed until Wednesday, as the cemetery was closed to traffic.

Following is an abridged version of the eulogies presented by Jim’s brother Peter O’Shannessy and Jim’s friend, Lachlan Ford.

James Patrick O’Shannessy, better known as Jim, Jimbo or Jumbo was born to Jim and Nea O’Shannessy on 28th February 1963. He was the first of three sons. Jim’s brother Peter was born in 1965 and Mark was born four years later.

From an early age, Jim was full of energy, exploring and making a nuisance of himself, resulting in him breaking something or hurting himself. In the early days at Cooncoolie Station, governess Marilyn O’Brien was often seen chasing Jim through the house when he should have been doing schoolwork.

In 1973 Jim and Nea bought Janina Station, and governesses became scarce, so Jim boarded at the Bourke Hostel and attended St Ignatius Primary school. On trips back to the property Jim would niggle Peter until a fight broke out, and both boys would be in huge trouble. They would be let off at the last gate, to walk the last kilometre as punishment.

Jim boarded at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst from Year 7. He didn’t love school, and preferred clowning around with his mates, rather than learning. Jim left school at the beginning of Year 11 working as a jackaroo before starting with Dubbo wool firm Grazcos.

He moved with Dalgety to Nyngan, where he met Alice, the love of his life. Jason was their eldest son; Steven was born in 1986, and Shane in 1988. They moved to Bourke in the 1980’s and their daughter Lisa was born in 1996.

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