Thomas Beirne (businessman)

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The Hon
TC Beirne
Queensland Legislative Council
In office
27 July 1905 – 23 March 1922
Personal details
Born Thomas Charles Beirne
(1860-09-09)9 September 1860
Ballymacurly, Roscommon, Ireland
Died 21 April 1949(1949-04-21) (aged 88)
Brisbane, Australia
Resting place Nudgee Cemetery
Nationality Irish Australian
Spouse(s) Annie Kavanagh (m.1887 d.1940)
Relations Neal Macrossan (son-in-law), Henry Douglas (son-in-law), Alex Douglas (great grandson)
Occupation Draper, company director

Thomas Charles Beirne KSG (1860–1949) was an early businessman, politician and philanthropist in colonial and federation era Australia.[1]

Early life[edit]

Thomas Beirne was born on 9 July 1860 in County Roscommon at Ballymacurly, near Ballymoe. He migrated to Melbourne on the Lusitania in February 1884. A series of business ventures saw him establish a successful drapery business in Brisbane, Queensland.

Business life[edit]

Advertisement in the Brisbane Telegraph newspaper from T. C. Beirne department store

In Brisbane Beirne became an active member of the Brisbane Traders' Association, including its president in 1901. He was also a board member of Brisbane Tramway Co, Australian Mutual Provident Society, the Atlas Assurance Co and the British Australian Cotton Association.[2]


He was also involved in the early stages of the Australian Labour Party and from 1905 till 1922 he was a member of the Queensland Legislative Council.[3]


Beirne was Warden of the University of Queensland and in 1935 donated £20,000 to establish the TC Beirne School of Law.

He was also a benefactor of Holy Name Cathedral, Brisbane, the Pius XII Regional Seminary at Banyo, Mater Misericordiae Hospital and Duchesne College in the University of Queensland.

He was awarded a papal knighthood of the Order of St Gregory by pope Pius XI and was a close associate with politicians William Higgs and Frank McDonnell and was friends with Archbishop James Duhig.[1]

Later life[edit]

Beirne died in 1949. His funeral, which was presided over by Archbishop James Duhig, was held at St Stephen's Cathedral[4] and proceeded to the Nudgee Cemetery.[1] Despite his generosity during his lifetime, he left an estate of over £1.24 million which was mainly bequeathed to his five daughters and numerous grandchildren.[5]


Thomas Beirne is remembered today by:

A number of buildings associated with Thomas Beirne are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register, including:


  1. ^ a b c Beirne, Thomas Charles (1860–1949)Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  2. ^ TC Beirne' at Brisbane's History in photographs.
  3. ^ "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Family Notices.". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 22 April 1949. p. 12. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "THIS MAN MADE A MILLION.". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 23 June 1949. p. 1. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "TC Beirne Park | Hendra Toddler Playground - Brisbane Kids". Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  7. ^ "TCB On the Valley Mall". Retrieved 2015-09-16. 
  8. ^ "Glengariff (entry 600222)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "TC Beirne Complex and Fortuneland Centre (entry 601395)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Bulolo Flats (entry 602188)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.