DEATH OF MR. JOHN DUNN.
IN HIS NINETY-THIRD YEAR. SOMETHING OF THE OLD DAYS.
The venerable and highly respected colonist, Mr. John Dunn, of Mount Barker, died as his residence, The Laurels, in that town, on Saturday afternoon, October
13, in the ninety-third year of his age, after an uninterrupted association with the colony of more than half a century. The passing away of the aged pioneer was not unexpected, for Mr. Dunn's health had been in a precarious state for a long while ; indeed a year or two ago there was every sign of his end approach- ing. He rallied, but his feebleness unmis- takably indicated that he could not last long, and on Saturday he peacefully ex pired. Thus, full of years, he has been gathered to his fathers, leaving a name for integrity, for benevolence, and for good works that will remain on the histories roll of our honest and sturdy independent old pioneers. Until within a comparatively recent date the patriarch of Mount Barker moved about with an alacrity and ease that were really marvellous considering his advanced age. His faculties were preserved to a remark able degree, and though he lived in com parative seclusion from the publio gaze for some time after his retirement from business he manifested a deep interest in matters per taining to the colony's welfare and particu larly in his care of the aged poor of the dis trict in whioh he spent the greater part of his life. Mr. Dunn may be said to have been a pioneer among the pioneers. The name of John Dunn— familiar throughout all these colonies — will be best remembered from the fact that he founded the milling firm of John Dunn & Co., now said to have the largest connection in the Southern Hemi sphere, and that he built the first windmill iu South Australia — it is reckoned the first ever constructed in Australia. That name will also be remembered because Mr. Dunn was tho first in this province to grind corn into flour by a systematic and scientific process. South Australia had not long been proclaimed a British colony when Mr. Dunn arrived here from Eng land. He was born in the Parish of Bondleigh, Devon, on February 13, 1802. His father was a small farmer with nine sons and two daughters. Father and mother were both frugal and hardworking, as indeed they had to be, for those were hard times. Having received very little schooling at the age of ten he was a farm servant earning 6d. a week. Milling, how- ever, was his fancy, and after seven years' apprenticeship he became manager of a steam mill at Bideford, Devon, at 15s. a week. In 1831 he married ; in 1836 he owned a flourmill and added farming to his pursuits, and in May, 1S40, he sailed in the ship Lysander for South Australia, where three of bis brothers had settled— Charles, who founded Charleston, and died at the age of eighty-six, and George and James, who settled on tho Onkaparinga. A fourth brother, William, came out in 1841, and a sister, the late Mrs. Paltridge, arrived m 1846. Mr. John Dunn's parents followed their children very soon, and died, the father, Mr. Charles Dunn, at eighty two, and tho mother at eighty-three. The Lysander anchored in the waters off Glenelg on September 6, 1840. Mr. Dunn first worked in South Australia for Messrs. Borrow &. Goodiar. Next he purohased land near his brother's property at Hay Valley. In 1842 he was an agriculturist aud dairy farmer, and walked over the hills to the primitive city with butter, returning with goods purchased with the money he obtained for the produce. At Hay Valley he erected his first flour windmill. 'But I soon saw,' he remarked, ' that waiting for the wind was not a profitable occupation, and so I ordered a small steam-engine from England.' While waiting for this he engaged himself to the late Mr. Ridley, whom he helped to construct the famous Ridley reaper, which he worked on Mr. D. McFarlane's land at Mount Barker. Mr. Dunn waited about eighteen months before the engine he had ordered arrived, and then he erected it at Mount Barker and had a pair of millstones fixed. 'It was not all smooth sailing in those days,'he said. 'On one occasion I had to work from morning till night, from daylight till dark, snatching a few hours' sleep in tho engine boiler and then back to work again in the early morning. When I had got the engine partly together the pair stones were found to be furrowed the wrong way. I had to remedy this. I did not spend one hour of daylight in doing so, but after ordinary hours I worked by the light of a lump of grease stuck in a bit of wood.' These were some of the experiences of the old days at Mount Barker. Mr. Dunn ground the first grain and established the well-known firm which bears his name. Then South Aus tralia was the only wheat- producing colony in the Australias, and Ridley's, Dunn's, Hart's, Magarey's, and other brands of flour were sent to the other colonies. The milling and grain business grew with the advancing colony, until the firm have now eleven steam flour mills, five of whlich are fitted with the most modern roller machinery, and they export to all parts of the world. Messrs. Dunn and Co. have between sixty and seventy agencies for the purchase of grain. Directly and indirectly 400 employes in the colony are engaged by Dunn & Co., to say nothing of the numerous agencies doing business outside South Australia. About 60,000 tons of wheat and flour is exported in a good season by Dunn & Co., whose flour finds a ready sale in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, the Pacific Islands, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and elsewhere. In time Mr. Dunn admitted his two sons (both of whom are dead) into partnership. In 1852 he was joined by his elder son, the late Mr. John Dunn, jun., who retired in 1862 to engage in mission work in the South Seas. Two years later, however, the son returned and resumed partnership, and at about the same time the second son, the late Mr. W. H. Dunn, the late Mr. W. Hill (son-in-law), and the late Mr. G. Shorney (brother-in-law) joined the firm. Mr. W. H. Dunn left about 1875 to farm in the North, and the remaining partnership was continued until it was disturbed by the death of Mr. Hill in 1885 and of Mr. Shorney in 1891. The founder of the firm, however, re tired from the business in 1889. Mr. John Dunn, jun., was thus left as head of the firm. He died in February, 1892. Three of the pre sent members of the firm— Messrs. F. W., A.
C, and E. A. A. Dunn—grandsons of Mr. John Dunn, sen., were admitted towards the end of the eighties, and they have since been joined by Mr. H. A. Dunn, another brother, who represents the firm in Brisbane. The founder of the business stated not long ago with considerable pride that the firm had 'always been known as John Dunn & Co., and not one shilling of outside money has ever helped on the business. No one outside of my own family has ever had a share in the concern as partners, although, of oourse, as its dimensions increased we took into our employ gentlemen whom we consulted on matters of trade.' This is the jubilee year of the foundation of the firm, which was started on April 30, 1844. The jubilee was fittingly commemoratad by a demonstration at Mount Barker on August 1st last, when the final act of shutting off steam from the machinery in the mill started fifty years beforo was touchingly symbolical of the practical close of the nonogenarian's connec tion with the sordid affairs of life. On the occasion of his eightieth birthday Mr. Dunn was presented by the employes of the firm with a congratulatory address, which he very highly prized. After forty-five years uninterrupted connection with the enterprise he retired from the firm in May, 1889, and was again presented with an address by his employes, who journeyed to his home at Mount Barker specially to honour their former chief. That address was expressive of their regret at his leaving them and of their appreciation of the fairness and liberality which had always characterized him aa an employer. It was intended to celebrate by a public demonstration Mr. Dunn's attainment of the anniversary of his ninetieth year, but in consequence of the lamentable death of his son the funotion was postponed until April 2 of the same year. On that date Mount Barker's nonagenarian townsman fulfilled a long-expressed wish of making monetary gifts to a number of his employes who were with the firm when he retired, and also of presenting to the townspeople the land near the railway station known as Dunn Park for public recreation purposes. Mr. Dunn handed cheques to his employes, the amounts varying according to the recipient's length of service. Accompanying each cheque was a letter worded aa follows : — Dear Sir- Providence having this day permitted me to celebrate in health and strength my ninetieth birthday, I think it a fitting occasion as one of my last public acts to acknowledge that any success I may have gained while at the head of the firm of John Dunn & Co. was to a considerable extent, due to my having had at all times many faithful co- workers in ths business. In recognition of your valuable services and as a token of my esteem I ask you to accept the accompanying cheque, and I trust that your future will be brightened by this acknowledgment, of the successful endeavours you have made to do your duty.— Yours faithfully, John Dunn. Like both his sons, Mr. Dunn served in the Legislature of this colony. Mr. John Dunn, jun., represented Barossa in the House of Assembly from 1875 to 1877, and from 1880 to 1888 he sat in the Legislative Council ; the younger son sat throughout the eighth Parlia ment for Onkaparinga. For some years Mr. John Dunn, sen., was Chairman of the Mount Barker District Council, and on March 9, 1857, he was returned with Mr. F. E. H. W. Krichauff, lately of the Legislative Council, to represent Mount Barker in the Assembly at the first elections after the granting of responsible government. Mr. Krichauff and his colleague used to trudge on foot from Mount Barker in those days up wards of twenty miles to attend the sittings of tho House. Mr. Krichauff resigned nis seat on March 12, 1858, and was succeeded by Mr. William Rogers (still living), who was elected on September 16. There are now only about a dozen survivors of those who served in the first House of Assembly, and only ten of the members who constituted the first Assembly on April 22, 1857. In the second Parliament (assembled April 27, 1860) Mr. Dunn had the late Hon. B. T. Finniss as his colleague. On November 24, 1862, he was returned head of the poll at the third general elections, with the late Mr. Allan McFarlane as junior member. Mr. McFarlane died in March, 1864, and Mr. Rogers was once more elected. In the fourth Parliament, assembled March 31, 1865, and dis- solved March 26, 1868, Mr. James Rankine sat with Mr. Dunn, who was, however, out of the fifth Parliament upon its meeting on July 31, 1868, the elect of Mount Barker being Mr. John Cheriton and Mr. W. Rogers. Both these members were unseated by the Court of Disputed Returns on August 12. A fresh election took place on September 3, when Mr. Cheriton was re-elected, and Mr. Rogers had to make way for Mr. Dunn, but only for a very brief period, aa on October 13 Mr. Dunn's election was declared void, and he was again superseded by Mr. Rogers. The charge was brought against Mr. Dunn that he paid the election expenses of railway workmen electors of Mount Barker who were out of the district, and were brought to vote for him. Mr. Dunn denied to his dying day that he or any of his people paid the electioneering exponses. On March 19, 1869, the Father of Mount Barker was sent to the Upper House by the whole colony voting as one district. The late Hons. John Baker, J. H. Barrow, and T. English (pre viously in the Council), Sir William Milne, and Messrs. A. B. Murray and Augustine Stow were elected to the Legislative Council on the same day. After nearly eight years' useful and faithful service Mr. Dunn retired from the Legisla tive Council by rotation on February 2, 1877, and from public life. Altogether he repre sented his country in Parliament about twenty years. South Australia cannot forget its early legis lators — intelligent, shrewd, practical, honest men, with plenty of backbone most of them. Mr. John Dunn was one of this class. He may not have distinguished himself by origi nating any striking reforms, but as in com mercial life so in politics, he was always trusted, and the colony was all the better for his service in tho legislative halls. As a speaker and a worker he was quiet and sensible. It was said of him—' He gave his practical advice and was done with it.' His retirement even at the age of seventy-five, while enjoying the confidence of the electors, was regretted, for he brought a ripened ex perience and an irreproachable character to bear upon his dealings in the Senate. He, how ever, disapproved of a monopoly of political service, and retired in favour of younger men. Most of his Parliamentary contemporaries have long since joined the great majority. Of the present Parliament the Hons. G. C. Hawker, J. Martin, R. C. Baker, and H. R. Fuller are the only members who sat with the late Mr. Dunn when he was in the Legislature. It fell to his fortune to assist in the passage of Torrens's Real Property Act, and proud indeed was the venerable colonist of the fact of his being in Parliament at that time. He also endeavoured with others in the early Parliamentary days to sanction the reading of the Bible in the public schools.
Ever since his arrival in the colony Mr. Dunn had been identified with the Wesleyan Methodist Church. He was essentially a Godfearing man, and gave many practical proofs of hia earnest piety. The Wesleyan Church at Mount Barker, which bears his name and was opened in September, 1884, was his free gift to the denomination, it having been built at a cost, including a handsome organ, of about £4,000. Truly his services to the Methodist and other Churches cannot be forgotten. A row of eight cottages which he built and endowed to accommodate the poor and give comfort to the aged at Mount Barker, and situated not far from his own home, where in affluence he spent the later years of his life, is a lasting monument of his care for others. Shortly before his death Mr. Dunn ordered the erection of additional Salem cot tages, whioh are now being built. Mr. Dunn leaves a widow (his second wife), who is a daughter of the late Mr. John Williams, of Archer-street, North Adelaide, and sister of the widow of the late Mr. John Dunn, jun., of Hackney, and of the widow of the late Mr. G. Shorney, of the Semaphore. Among the other relatives of Mr. John Dunn, sen., who survive are the following : — Mrs. William Paltridge, of Mount Gambier, and Mrs. W. Hill, of Glenelg, daughters ; Mrs. W. H. Dunn, living at North Adelaide, daughter-in- law ; Mr. Samuel Dunn of Devon, England, who has twice visited South Australia, brother; nineteen grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.
THE LATE MR. JOHN DUNN.
THE LATE MR. JOHN DUNN.