Biography of Keith Travers Borrow

Keith Travers Borrow (1917-2005) had a life-long interest in the early history of European settlement in South Australia, and was for many years the President of the Pioneers’ Association, an organisation made up of descendants of the pioneers who arrived during the first decade after Adelaide’s establishment in 1836. His father, Travers Borrow, was co-founder of the Association.

The Pioneers’ Association has published a long-running series of pamphlets on topics of interest to South Australian historians, and Mr Borrow was the author of many of these publications. (See their website for a list of publications, copies of all of which are included in the Borrow Collection.) His great-grandfather was Boyle Travers Finniss (1807-1893), one of Colonel Light’s surveyors and later the first Premier of the Colony under responsible government.

Mr Borrow’s wife Eleanor Yelland was another keen historical researcher, author of several publications including Colonists, Copper and Corn in the Colony of South Australia 1850-51, and Flinders University Library also holds her collection of books and papers. They were married in 1973.

The Borrow Collection is immense and varied, and contains many significant items. Apart from Mr Borrow’s correspondence and research notes, there are historical and family letters and photographs, B.T. Finniss’s notebooks, genealogical information on many of South Australia’s founding families, prints and portraits, tapes of interviews with descendants of historical figures, and more than 2000 books and periodicals, including rare antiquarian volumes and early colonial newspapers.

"Burnbank School [built] 1862 + KT Borrow nr Mt Barker" (Photograph Number S0212001, Borrow Collection). Photo is available online and can be found here .