Großvater Buring

My 2x great grandfather Heinrich Franz Rudolph Buring was addressed by his grandchildren as Großvater the formal German term Grandfather.  Born 25 Aug 1844 in Berlin, Prussia he came to South Australia with his parents and brothers on the Princess Louise in 1849.

Picture of Heinrich Franz Rudolph Buring

Heinrich Franz Rudolph Buring President of the Adelaider Liedertafel

In 1858 at the age of 13 he went to work for tobacconists F. Armbruster & Uhlmann as an errand boy.  Working his way up Rudolph became a partner in 1878 and sole proprietor in 1897.

My cousin Ian was wondering what had happened to the Buring Pipe Collection and I found out today while I was searching Trove!!  Although on Trove it is listed as the ‘Burning’ Pipe Collection I know that it is the right one because of the blurb.

The collection is a link to German migration to South Australia, and to commercial enterprise in Adelaide rather than the better known activities on the land and in the wine industry. At its height the collection was reputed to be third or fourth largest in the pipe collecting world, and was well known amongst pipe collectors. ‘Buring’s Tobacconists’ became an iconic location and business in the development of Rundle Street as a commercial centre of Adelaide. The bulk of the collection was loaned for display at the Hahndorf Academy from the 1990s through to 2009. Attitudes towards smoking have changed so much in recent years that interpretation of the collection in future displays will be quite different.

The materials from which these pipes are made include white clay, meerschaum clay, cherrywood, briar wood, maple, staghorn, porcelain, bone, metal, gourds, and even crab claws. The dominating style of pipe is European, but there are examples from Africa and Asia, including opium pipes. The collection was first started by Emil Buring who took over the family business ‘Buring’s Tobacconist’ on Rundle St in 1923. He built on stock accumulated since 1853 when a cigar merchant from Hamburg named Uhlmann first opened the tobacconist shop which was sold on to Rudolph Buring. Emil’s sons Philip and Ralph took over the business after the Second World War and Philip Buring further developed the collection.

The Buring pipe collection consists of approximately 200 pieces dating from the 1850s to 1980. It includes a wide variety of pipes and smoking related items, ranging from the small and simple to the large and very ornate.

The pipe collection is stored at the Migration Museum in Adelaide, South Australia where I live so I’ve got the curator’s email address and will be making a time to go and see it some time.  They said they are currently very busy so hopefully in a few weeks time.

It’s funny that it should mention (above) the achievements of other German emigrants on the land and in the wine industry as Rudolph’s brother is Theodor Gustav Hermann Buring of H. Buring and Sobels fame.  Another find today via Google is this book on ‘A History of H Buring & Sobels LTD  which I bought straight away because I’ve always wanted a copy.  I’ve seen it in the State Library and now I’ll have my own copy!!  Yay!!

Inside cover page Quelltaler


[trove newspaper=28599421]

[trove newspaper=58947397]

[trove newspaper=37199129]

There is an error in this obituary in that Rudolph and Maria married at his Mum’s house and not at St. Andrews Church at Walkerville.

Photo of Heinrich Franz Rudolph Buring

Photograph from Rudolph’s Obituary


photo of Adelaide Unitarian Church marriage register

The Unitarian Christian Church’s marriage register
Rudolph’s marriage to Maria Rubeni

There is more that I could write about Rudolph but I’ll save that for another post.  Other blog posts I’ve written about the Burings


My Next Blog Post

will be about Rudolph Buring’s niece Blanka Buring.

9 thoughts on “Großvater Buring

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  • July 22, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I have a suspicion that only a portion of the pipe collection is at Hahndorf. There was recently an auction (July 16th 2017) of an amazing array of historic pipes and related items at Scammell’s in nearby Norwood, SA. I bought some of them myself. It was not stated where they came from, but the collection was vast and impressive. I’m hoping to get confirmation from the auctioneer or the museum. Go to Scammel’s website to see the auction catalogue.

    • July 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Hi Craig
      I hope there wasn’t any of the Buring collection at the auction as it’s held by the SA Migration Museum. I have been in contact with the museum so our family should have been notified first I would think. Thanks for letting me know I’ll be following this up.


      • July 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm

        I got a very quick reply from Scammell’s today that this wasn’t the Buring collection.

      • July 25, 2017 at 4:07 am

        My understanding is that the museum had only about half of the collection, 200 pieces, according to Nikki Sullivan, curator of the collection. A newspaper article about Philip Buring dated 1954 mentioned 400 pipes. There’s no reason to believe that Philip stopped adding to that collection through the 1990s, when the pipes were donated. It’s there anyone in the family who visited the museum at the store?

        • July 25, 2017 at 4:13 am

          Interesting that you got a reply from Scammell’s. I did not. There’s the possibility that someone bought the balance of the collection from the family and was reselling it. A pipe and tobacciana collection of this size, breadth, and quality in the very same city as you family’s collection strikes me as very highly improvable.

          I would love for someone who remember the store’s museum to look at a photo of the display case. There were at least 4 numbered cases of the same style. Perhaps they’d ring a bell.

    • July 25, 2017 at 9:16 am

      Hi Craig
      I’ll send you an email.


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