John Fitzgerald Burns

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John Fitzgerald Burns, 1875 engraving John Fitzgerald Burns by Samuel Calvert - Illustrated Australian News (1875).jpg
John Fitzgerald Burns, 1875 engraving

John Fitzgerald Burns (1833 – 19 March 1911) [1] was an Australian politician, member of the Parliament of New South Wales, Postmaster-General in the 1870s and Colonial Treasurer in the 1880s.

Burns was born in the north of Ireland, and emigrated to New South Wales at an early age. [2] In 1854 he married Lucy Maria Smith at Maitland. [1]

Having engaged in mercantile pursuits in the Hunter River district, Burns was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Hunter at a by-election in 1861, [3] holding the seat until his defeat in the 1869 election. [4] He was unsuccessful at the 1870 Goldfields North by-election, [5] but was elected for Hunter in the 1872 election. [6] He was Postmaster-General in the third Robertson ministry from February 1875 to March 1877 and in the Farnell ministry from December 1877 to December 1878. [7] He introduced postal cards into Australia in 1875, and was the first to give employment to women in the telegraph department. In 1878 he arranged with the Governments of the other Australian colonies and New Zealand for the duplication of the submarine cable to Australia. [2] Burns was Colonial Treasurer in the fifth Robertson ministry from December 1885 to February 1886.

In January 1887 Burns was appointed Colonial Treasurer in the fourth ministry of Sir Henry Parkes, serving until January 1889. [7] On 21 January 1887 his seat in the Legislative Assembly was declared vacant because of his acceptance of the position of Treasurer and he was summoned to the Legislative Council for the purpose of taking charge of the supply bill as the Representative of the Government in the Legislative Council. [8] [9] He took his seat in the council which passed the supply bill. [10] A general election was called and Burns resigned from the council to re-contest the Hunter. 1887 was the first election in which political parties emerged. Burns, as a member of the Parkes government, stood as a Free Trade candidate and was re-elected unopposed at the 1887 election for The Hunter. [11] He held the seat until 1889. [7]

Burns switched to St Leonards for the 1889 election when it was expanded to return 3 members, and was the third member elected. [12] He was narrowly defeated in the 1891 election. [13] [1] In the 1894 election for Willoughby he stood as an independent free trade candidate, but was unsuccessful, receiving only 86 votes (4.53%). [14]

He was gazetted a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1887, [15] but declined the honour, and the appointment was cancelled. [2] [16]

Burns died in Paddington, New South Wales on 19 March 1911 (aged 78), survived by four sons and two daughters. [1] He is buried in Waverley Cemetery. [17]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Rutledge, Martha. "Burns, John Fitzgerald (1833–1911)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Melbourne University Press. ISSN   1833-7538 . Retrieved 21 November 2013 via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. 1 2 3 Mennell, Philip (1892). "Burns, Hon. John Fitzgerald"  . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co via Wikisource.
  3. Green, Antony. "1861 Hunter by-election". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  4. Green, Antony. "1869-70 Hunter". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  5. Green, Antony. "1870 Goldfields North by-election". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  6. Green, Antony. "1872 Hunter". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  7. 1 2 3 "Mr John Fitzgerald Burns (1833-1911)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  8. "Legislative Assembly: declaring the seats of ministers vacant". The Sydney Morning Herald . 22 January 1887. pp. 7–8. Retrieved 17 February 2021 via Trove.
  9. "Summoned to the Legislative Council". New South Wales Government Gazette (37). 21 January 1887. p. 477. Retrieved 17 February 2021 via Trove.
  10. "Legislative Council". The Sydney Morning Herald . 22 January 1887. p. 7. Retrieved 17 February 2021 via Trove.
  11. Green, Antony. "1887 Hunter". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  12. Green, Antony. "1889 St Leonards". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  13. Green, Antony. "1891 St Leonards". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  14. Green, Antony. "1894 Willoughby". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  15. "No. 25712". The London Gazette . 21 June 1887. p. 3365.
  16. "No. 25717". The London Gazette . 1 July 1887. p. 3561.
  17. "Find A Grave: John Fitzgerald Burns" . Retrieved 15 January 2021.

 

Parliament of New South Wales
Political offices
Preceded by
Saul Samuel
Postmaster-General
1875 1877
Succeeded by
Saul Samuel
Preceded by
John Davies
Postmaster-General
1877 1878
Succeeded by
Saul Samuel
Preceded by
George Dibbs
Colonial Treasurer
1885 1886
Succeeded by
Sir Patrick Jennings
Preceded by
Sir Patrick Jennings
Colonial Treasurer
1885 1886
Succeeded by
James Garvan
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Isidore Blake
Member for Hunter
1861 1869
Succeeded by
John Dillon
Preceded by
John Dillon
Member for Hunter
1872 1889
Succeeded by
Robert Scobie
Preceded by
Isaac Ives
Henry Parkes
Member for St Leonards
1889 1891
Served alongside: Joseph Cullen, Henry Parkes
Succeeded by
Edward Clark