The 1863 directory of Mickleham gives Thomas Bourke as an owner of a farm and in 1868 gives Thomas as a dairy farmer of Root Cottage at Mickleham.
Thomas was a farmer on part of Portion 2a originally owned by Robert Langford Sidebottom. Robert sold off parts of his portion 2a land at Mickleham to William Edis for ₤110 and another portion to James Colbon for ₤130 and another portion to Thomas Bourke which consisted of 33 acres.
Thomas was married to Margaret and they had two children, William Patrick Bourke and Mary whose married name was Shannon.
The family lived and farmed on part of Portion 2a at Mickleham. When Thomas Bourke died on the 11th of January 1885 he made William Patrick Bourke his son his only executor of his will and left all to his son on the provision that he lodge, cloth and maintain his wife Margaret, while she remain his widow. If anything was to happen to William then everything was to go to his daughter Mary Shannon under the same provisions of looking after his wife.
The family must have been poor as on the inventory of the assets when Thomas died it states the only improvements on the property was a 'hut' and surrounding fences. So perhaps they named the modest building they lived in 'Root Cottage'.
In the inventory of goods it states there was 33 acres of freehold land, portion 2a at Mickleham, 4 cows, 1 heifer, 2 iron bedsteads and bedding, 1 table, sofa, 6 chairs, 2 ivory earthenware utensils and tools.
Thomas died on the 11th of January 1885 and as it seems William Patrick carried on farming at the property caring for his mother Margaret.