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Charles Douglas Burns (1828–1905)

In the death of Captain Charles Douglas Burns, another of the sturdy band who by coming to Queensland helped so much in the earlier times in many and various ways to develop the country, is lost, and one more link connecting us with early days is severed. The deceased gentleman, who was a marine engineer by profession, was identified with that work all his life. He had many interesting reminiscences to relate, not only of incidents in the early days, but of the development in machinery generally, having been in youth at sea with types of engines and boilers only to be heard of nowadays in books. He was probably best known as the engineer of the erstwhile famous Telegraph paddle steamer, between Brisbane and the South, whose remarkably fast passages are still remembered by old residents. Later, when in command of large riverside wheel steamers between Brisbane and Ipswich in the palmy days of the latter town, he was widely known, and made many friends. His successful management of the steamer Ipswich evokes admiration and wonder at the present time, when the narrowness and difficulties of the Bremer River are seen. His official career began with his appointment as engineer surveyor and examiner in steam under the Marine Board, and later be became marine superintendent under the Harbours and Rivers Department, which latter position he held until his retirement from active service a few years ago. Captain Burns was physically of a splendid type, and though impatient of any neglect or omissions in matters of work on the part of those connected with him officially, yet had a generous heart, and under a stern exterior possessed a kindly disposition, ever ready to do battle for the interests of those working under him. It can be said of him that he was a good man and a useful citizen of high ideals, and Queensland is poorer by his loss.

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Citation details

'Burns, Charles Douglas (1828–1905)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


22 December, 1828
Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland


22 June, 1905 (aged 76)
New Farm, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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