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David Burns interviewed by John Farquharson [sound recording]
Bib ID 24163
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Burns, David (James David Oswald), 1928- interviewee
Access Conditions Written permission required for research, personal copies and public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 2002 Jan. 8 
5 digital audio tapes (ca. 298 min.) 

Burns speaks of his family's Scottish background, how his grandfather, James came to Australia in 1862 with his brother David to spend the first few years as jackeroos living off the land; how the brothers opened a store in Brisbane before rushing off to the gold rush of 1867 in the Gympie region where they opened three very profitable local stores supplying the miners; their resulting capital let them move into shipping with James establishing himself in a merchant business based in Sydney; opening another store in Townsville to supply the north Queensland goldfields he employed as manager Robert Philp with whom he later formed the company Burns Philip & Co. Ltd. in 1883 allowing James to establish their head office in Sydney to lead development of trading and shipping in the Pacific Islands; how he himself came to join as an office boy the firm in 1947 under his father as chairman and managing director leading to Branch Inspector, Australia and New Zealand in 1957, a director of the company in 1959.

Burns speaks of his appointment as head of the family business following the death of his father in 1969 until his resignation in 1991; how the company operated under some of its key executives and the problems which lead to its shock demise beginning with the collapse of a trustee company the Melbourne based Estate Mortgage Company; his family's 400 acre property Gowan Brae at Parramatta bequeathed to the Presbyterian Church and later sold to the King's School; his family's other property of 99 acres at Bowral, the family's home Moidart built by his father in the 1930s and now run by him as a nursery and cattle business; the Burnside Homes for Orphaned Children built opposite Gowan Brae along Pennant Hills Road and now controlled by the Uniting Church since the merger of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches; the family's contribution to Australian business.


David Burns, businessman and chairman, Burns Philp and Co. Ltd, 1969-1991. James David Oswald Burns, born Sept. 16, 1928, is the last member of the Burns family to be associated with Burns, Philp & Co. Ltd, once listed amongst Australia's leading business firms.


Recorded on Jan. 8, 2002 in Bowral, N.S.W.

Digital master available National Library of Australia;

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary and uncorrected transcript (typescript, 177 leaves) available. 
Subjects Burns, David (James David Oswald), 1928- -- Interviews.  |  Burns, Philp & Co. -- History.  |  Burns, Philp & Co -- Management.  |  Merchant marine -- Australia -- History.
Other authors/contributors Farquharson, John M., 1929-2016, interviewer


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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 4834
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 4834 (transcript)
    Copy: Transcript
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 4834 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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