Bob Burns Snr was born in South Australia in 1874. Leaving school at a young age to become a drover in New South Wales, he followed the gold rush to Western Australia where he trained his first winner at Cue in 1893.
Bob achieved nine Perth trainers premierships in a period of 13 years, a record not broken for almost nine decades. His forty seven winners in the 1926/27 season was an Australian record for winners trained in a season.
In the 1907/08 season Bob won eight of the twelve two-year-old events in that season.
Training the winner in every major race on the Western Australian racing calendar, Bob achieved the feat of training four winners at one meeting on three occasions. At the Ascot meeting on 29 December 1926 he trained Cunningman to win the Railway Stakes, Silver Prince to win the Swan Handicap, Tich to win the All Aged Stakes and Spearage to win the Welter.
Bob trained four Perth Cup winners, the last being Sydney James in 1947, a horse that was later transferred to Melbourne and won the Australian Cup at Flemington.
His son Robert Burns Jnr also trained with success, claiming two trainers premierships before accepting an invitation to train in Hong Kong.
Bob trained from a riverfront property on the border of Redcliffe and Guildford, which was later sold to become the Tibraddon housing estate.
Retiring from training in late 1947, Robert Burns Snr. passed away in 1955, aged 81.