Philip Henry Burden was born in 1824 in Herefordshire, England, where his father was a Ledbury draper. Philip tried his hand at being a grocer in London. However, in about 1853, he went to Adelaide, South Australia with his wife, Mary, and their two young sons.
On arrival in Adelaide, Philip initially opened a drapery in Kensington. These premises were later taken over by his brother-in-law Edward Jones.
Philip Burden was secretary of the South Australian Advertiser newspaper from its inception in 1858. This was the beginning of many years of the family’s involvement with the paper, including that of his wife and their son Frederic Britten Burden. At the time of his death, in 1864, Philip Burden was a shareholder.