Mount Barker John Dunn Grave Restoration Appeal
John Dunn (1802-1894) was a miller, businessman, politician, philanthropist, and Mount Barker’s greatest benefactor. After emigrating from Devon with his family in 1840 he pioneered the flour milling business in South Australia, and Dunn & Co. became profitable on a global scale. Its success made a significant contribution to the prosperity of South Australia and put Mount Barker on the map. Flour milling became one of the foundational industries of the town.
But it was Dunn’s philanthropy and commitment to his community that earned him the esteem and affection of his adopted town. He gave hundreds of pounds a year to charitable causes in Mount Barker, materially improving the life of its residents. He also wholly funded the construction of a new Methodist Church, built cottages for aged women and widows, and made a large gift of land for a community park (see Dunn-Bickle Signage Project).
Dunn served both in South Australia’s House of Assembly and its Legislative Council, and was also active in local Council affairs. Upon his death the Mount Barker Courier summed up his significance to the town with the observation that “Mount Barker and John Dunn were so wrapped up in one another that it was difficult to think of one without the other.”
Dunn was interred in the family crypt at Mount Barker Cemetery with the remains of his daughter, Eliza, and his first wife Ann. The substantial monument marking the site, fashioned from five tons of Sicilian white marble, was completed in August 1895.
Unfortunately, the gravesite, which was once the focal point of the old cemetery precinct, has fallen into disrepair and is in urgent need of restoration. The Mount Barker Branch of the National Trust SA has launched an appeal for this purpose. We hope that the restoration of the grave will help to perpetuate the memory of Dunn’s generous support for the town he loved.
The success of this project is dependent upon the support of the public.