David Burn

David Burn (c 17991875), settler and writer, joined his mother in Hobart in 1826, bought land at New Norfolk, and wrote The bushrangers, the first Australian drama to be performed on stage, in Edinburgh in 1829. In 1836 he returned to England, where he urged the need for representative government in the colony and published a series of 'Sketches of Van Diemen's Land'.

Burn returned to Tasmania in 1841, and wrote a further pamphlet about the colony, some plays of little literary merit, and a narrative of the Franklins' trip to the west coast, on which he accompanied them. Burn became bankrupt in 1844 and went to New Zealand, where he edited newspapers. An acute observer, Burn was at his best in brief journalistic accounts, his ornate style spoiling longer pieces.

Further reading: ADB 1.

Alison Alexander