Burns Philp House Flag

House flag of Burns Philp, shipping company, pioneer merchants and founders of North Queensland Insurance Company in 1886

How QI Began

An 'NQI' paperweight promotional gift

Queensland Insurance Building

The turn of 19th Century 'NQI' became 'QI' QBE Insurance LINK

In the year 1973 'QI' become QBE

(click on logos to view contents)


Queensland Insurance Company Limited, it's founders Burns Philp & Company and subsiiduaries were established in Australia the latter part of the nineteenth century. This website has become a record of the history that has been made available by those intested as an archive rather than allow it to be lost. It will thus remain on digital record as well as on the World Wide Web should the latter service provision be later discontinued. Webmaster

QI Oldies members and those interested are, of course, still welcome to contribute to the website. here

QI Oldies Spotlight issues are published in QBE Outreach Newsletters. Original issues number QIO 5 to 12 are available here.

MEMBERS' LUNCHEONS have been on an ad hoc regularity as numbers decline as age catches up. Any member wishing to be notified of arranged occasions please register your contact details here or with our Event Co-ordinator, Ron Jackson.

A special event with Mr David Burns was held at A Seafood Affair, Moss Vale on 21st November, 2018.


The Merchant Navy is not often recognised for it's role in the two world wars. However, through the tireless efforts of men, women and families of this 'Forgotten Service' it is now being recognised. Queensland Insurance was founded by shipowners Burns Philp & Co Ltd and who indeed lost the vessel SS MacDhui from enemy fire in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea during the 2nd World War whilst on a mission to evacuate civilians. Other Burns Philp ships were commissioned to serve and the SS 'Morinda'' and MV 'Bulolo' can be seen from the Burns Philp House flag at the top left corner of this page.

Some 60,000 merchant seafarers were lost in World War II and 36,000 lost in the Battle of the Atlantic 1939-45 itself, when Liverpool, England was the Allied base. A feature on this website will be dedicated to the Merchant Navy and related memorabilia will be welcome. Flotilla Australia have an excellent website covering Burns Philp Ships.

I was privileged to serve at sea on both the MV Bulolo and the SS Morinda (Webmaster) Here and go to Burns Philp.

Flotilla Australia is non profit website that offers postcards of ships in return for welcome donations to keep this excellent site afloat.

The Royal Yacht of The White Rajah of Sarawak

A Horrifying Tragedy During the Evacuation of Singapore in 1942

This particularly horrible event was the sinking of one of the last ships evacuating from Singapore. She was the British registered Vyner Brooke and therefore would have flown the Red Duster. She was known as the Sarawak 'Royal Yacht'. Here is one more occasion where the Red Duster went down with its ship.

The Royal Yacht Vyner Brooke was named after the Third Rajah of Sarawak - Sir Charles Vyner Brooke. Before the outbreak of war with the Japanese, 'Vyner Brooke' sailed between Singapore and Kuching and was requisitioned the Royal Navy as an armed trader when Japan entered the war.

Our QI representatives in Sarawak were the Bian Chiang Bank that was part of the Vyner Brooke dynasty and under control of the Singapore based South East Asian office. Aged Harry Tay, Manager of the Bian Chiang Bank, had many photographs and memorabillia of the Brookes and spoke fondly of the Rani, wife of Rajah Vyner Brooke. This LINK tells the awful truth of the slaughter and cruel incarceration of brave women. Here


You are quite welcome to share articles of interest for inclusion. In fact it would be a great help and contribute to the diversity of this website that is reliant upon a broad range of material to achieve its aim to preserve events in the history of Queensland Insurance Company and its people. Any format will do for we can prepare for publication, including photographs. To view, also click on the thumbnail pictures in the GALLERY opposite

LATEST UPDATE:- Saturday, 27 May, 2019