Colonel James Burns

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Colonel James Burns

Postby Michael T » 28 Aug 2017 12:25

Lieutenant-Colonel James Burns (later Sir James Burns, K.C.M.G., M.L.C.) 2 Sep 1897 - 30 Jun 1903

Joined Parramatta Troop as a trooper, 6/6/1891; captain, 23/7/1891; major, 9/1/1896; lieutenant-colonel, 17/9/1897; in command of the regiment from 2/9/1897 until 30/6/1903.

The Burns of Burns Philp and Company Ltd, he brought to bear his high business instincts in the problems of his regiment, and developed it rapidly where his private purse could be of any use; his generosity was unending, and the personal interest he took in so many of its members, and in the needs of the various sub-units, together with his quiet, gentlemanly manner, made him perhaps more beloved than any other of the regiment's commanders. Thanks should be given him by members of all periods for having made possible the tours of duty to the Diamond Jubilee and to Aldershot which provided good experience and contacts and brought in useful customs—customs that preserve the more dignified traditions which, though often conservative, prevent the purely wartime soldier from making too sweeping transitions.

Colonel Burns's house and grounds, two kilometres to the north of Parramatta— in genuine esteem he was sometimes called the Laird of Gowan Brae—were practically thrown open to Parramatta Squadron: their rifle range was in a gully there, and Sydney also went through its annual musketry course on it in 1898.

His term included the South African War and he did much for the indi¬viduals going and returning, and for the comfort of the service squadron when it was overseas. He was promoted to the command of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, with the rank of colonel, 1/197/191903, and retired 4/191/191907. His son, James Burns, who was also to become the head of Burns Philp and Company Ltd in later years, joined the Parramatta Squadron in 1900 and served in the regiment for three and a half years.

An indomitable, unconquerable Scot, Colonel Burns had many and varied interests, including pastoral, financial and philanthropic, as well, of course, as controlling the business of Burns Philp and Company. He was appointed a Member of the Legislative Council in 1908, was knighted in 1917 and died 22/8/1923.

See image attached.
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Michael T
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