The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Burns, Hon. John Fitzgerald
Burns, Hon. John Fitzgerald, M.L.A. was born in the north of Ireland, and emigrated to New South Wales at an early age. Having engaged in mercantile pursuits in the Hunter River district, he was returned to the Assembly for the Hunter in 1862, and represented the constituency for many years. He is now one of the members for St. Leonard's. He was Postmaster-General in the Robertson Ministry from Feb. 1875 to March 1877, and in that of Mr. Farnell from Dec. 1877 to Dec. 1878. 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. Mr. Burns was Treasurer in the last Robertson Ministry from Dec. 1885 to Feb. 1886, and in that of Sir Henry Parkes from Jan. 1887 to Jan. 1889. He was gazetted a C.M.G. in the Jubilee year, but declined the honour, and the appointment was cancelled.