Brothers John and Thomas Gunn (Thomas Gunn, the author)
Gunns Ltd began as J&T Gunn, founded in Launceston in 1875 by brothers John (1840–97) and Thomas (1844–1911) Gunn. Bricklayers by trade, they quickly established an integrated building business involving sawmills, brickworks, a quarry and sandpit, and hardware supplies. In 1907 the firm expanded into Hobart and in 1908 merged with Crisp family interests to form Crisp & Gunn, of which the Gunn interest was 50 percent. In 1913 Fred Gunn, son of John, became sole owner of the parent company, and after his death in 1946 control passed to his four children.
In 1986 the firm was turned into a public company following its purchase of rival timber company Kilndried. Gunns also purchased Kemp & Denning's timber interests (1989), Kauri Timber (1993), Tasmanian Veneers and French's Pine World (1994). The Gunn family's active involvement in the firm ceased in the 1980s.