John Dunn and Catherine Elliott

John Dunn was born at Quidong near Bombala, and his parents were (probably) John and Catherine or John and Elizabeth (as the death record for his brother, James 4915/1928 suggests ).

The death notice for his brother, James Dunn, which appeared in the Delegate Argus of Thursday 2 February 1928 adds some information confirms John the Senior would “(Cart) wool clips from thestations with a bullock team. Onetrip Mr. Dunn spoke of was around trip from Sydney to Melb-ourne. They also carted goods to Kiandra in its flourishing days.”

In 1872, John worked as a miner at Quidong, south-west of Bombala (it was a copper mine) near the NSW/Victorian border.

He met and married Catherine Elliot on May 26, 1873 in the Roman Catholic Church at Cooma. According to their marriage certificate, John was a labourer from Bombala, whilst Catherine was a Labourer’s daughter from Jillamatong (near Braidwood).

Catherine was very likely the daughter of William Elliott and Mary Fitzgerald and would have spent the early part of her life on the Monaro in the Bombala and Cooma districts, although her death notice in the newspaper says she was born specifically in the Bombala District.

After marriage, they settled in the Bombala District, living at Quidong (south-west of Bombala) until at least 1875, and Buckley’s Springs by 1885. John worked initially as a miner, and later as a carrier.

They appear to have spent most of their later life at Rosemeath on the outskirts of Bombala.

Though I can’t be sure at this stage, but the evidence suggests he may have been charged with larceny in 1922. The Bombala Times of Friday 8 December 1922 reports:

John Dunn, an elderly man, 76 years of age, and an old-age pensioner, was charged ‘with the larceny, of a pair of plumber’s snips, valued at 2s, the property, of S. W. Kimber. The evidence of Constable Witney was to the effect that at S. Kimber’s sale on Saturday, after noon last the theft of the snips was reported, and on questioning the accused, the latter produced the snips from his saddle-bag, and said he had picked them up in the yard and thought they were of no value. Accused elected to be dealt with by this. Court, and pleaded guilty. He was fined £2, costs of court, 8s. Twelve weeks allowed to pay.

According to his death notice, John was also a talented athlete.

His death was reported in “The Bombala Times” on September 23, 1927.

Mr John Dunn, who had been in failing health for some time, passed away on Monday morning. He had reached the great age of 80, and of that term of life some 50 years had been spent in the Bombala district. He leaves a widow and a grown-up family of sons and daughters, and as they are well known throughout the district there was a large attendance at the funeral on Tuesday to pay the last respects. The service was conducted by the Rev. Father Roche. In years gone by Mr Dunn was one of Bombala’s champion athletes, and as a foot runner he scored a number of valuable trophies as well as money prizes, in the days when foot running was booming, and a runner had to be among the top notchers to do any good.

A further report of his death in the Delegate Argus (NSW : 1906 – 1943), Thursday 22 September 1927, page 2 provides some further information about John and his family.

The death took place at Bombala on Monday morning last of Mr. John Dunn, an old and well known resident of that district. He had reached the advanced age of 80 years and had’been ailing for some years past. He was a native of the district, having been born at Quidong. A widow and crown-up family, survive him. Deceased was a brother of Mrs. D. Stokes and Mr. James Dunn, of Delegate. He was a noted runner in hs early days and ‘will be remembered’ by many old hands as one of the champions of his time; The funeral, which was largely attended, took place on Tuesday at the Bombala Cemetery. Rev. Father Roche conducted the burial service. Mr. Dunn was an old member of the Grand United Order of ‘Oddfellows’ members of that Order marched in the funeral procession.

Catherine died at Bombala on the evening of Tuesday, July 14, 1936 (15579/1936) and was buried the following day. Her death was reported in the “Bombala Times” of Friday, July 17, 1936.

Another of our very old residents passed away on Tuesday night in the person of Mrs. Catherine Dunn, widow of the late Mr. John Dunn. Mrs. Dunn, who was 78 years of age, had been ailing for a long time, and although all possible was done for her by members of her family, the doctor, and the Hospital staff, it could only be in the nature of alleviating her suffering at such an age. The funeral on Wednesday afternoon proceeded to the R.C. portion of the Bombala cemetery, where the last rites were performed in the presence of a large gathering of mourners and sympathisers. The late Mrs. Dunn was born in the Bombala district, her parents being the late Mr. and Mrs. William Elliott. And of that family there now only remains Mr. P. Elliott; a sister, who was formerly Mrs. Hawkins died at Cooma on Wednesday, the day after Mrs. Dunn. Mrs Dunn’s family now living consists of five daughters and three sons. The sons are: William, John (Sydney) and Charles (Lismore). The daughters are: Mrs. Thomas Reedy (Canberra), Mrs Jim Elton (Aston), Mrs. R. Jones (Sydney), Mrs W. White and Mrs. C. Ingram (Bombala).


* John Dunn was born 1875 (8239/1875) at Bombala. He lived in Sydney at the time of his mother’s death, according to the death notice.

* William Bernard was born 1878 (9507/1878) at Bombala. He married Annie E Parkes at Bombala in 1906 (9579/1906).
According to Monaroo Pioneers Annie Ellen Parkes was born on July 26, 1881 in Little Plain, Bombala, NSW and died in 1923 in Bombala, NSW at age 42. William also married Daisy Mildred Reed who was born in 1887 in Bombala, NSW and died in 1977 in NSW at age 90. William Bernard died in 1942 (16063/1942) at Bombala.

* Caroline Dunn was born 1882 (21576/1882) at Bombala. When she died aged 3 years and 7months in 1885, John and Catherine were living at Buckley’s Springs, Bombala.

* Catherine Dunn was born 1884 (25114/1884) at Bombala. She married Robert Jones at Bombala in 1908 (1048/1908)

* Mary J Dunn was born (unknown). She married Thomas Reedy at Bombala in 1895 (6755/1895), I am unsure about the exact birth of Mary J. The death notice for Catherine indicates she married Thomas Reedy, but the only Mary I can find born to a John and Catherine Dunn was a Mary A. E. born to John S Dunn and Catherine at Carcoar. I don’t think this is right. Anyone know?

* Charles Henry was born 1890 (7311/1890) at Bombala. Charles married Bertha Ellen Rixon on January 19, 1921 (1921/002992) at St Matthias’ Church of England, Bombala with the permission of her mother, Ellen Rixon. Charles Dunn died at Lismore Base Hospital on Saturday, July 24, 1943 (19696/1943) due to heart and lung disease and is buried at the East Lismore Cemetery.

* Edith Elizabeth Dunn was born 1880 (10770/1880) at Bombala. She married James Elton at Bombala in 1907 (963/1907). James Elton was born 1881 at Rosemeath and died August 15, 1967 at Bombala. Edith Elizabeth died June 30, 1955 at Bombala, where she is buried in Grave 777. (Information sourced from Monaro Pioneers)

* Sarah A Dunn was born 1892 (7246/1892) at Bombala. She married William E White at Bombala in 1915 (6227/1915). She died at Bombala in 1958 (13875/1958)

* Doris Flodell Dunnwas born 1901 (30044/1901) at Bombala. She married Coulson Victor Ingram at Bombala in 1927 (9967/1927). She died at Bombala in 1975 (11128/1975). Note, the death records lists her mother as “Katherine” not “Catherine”.


* Although I cannot find a birth listing for a Catherine Elliott for about the year 1857, Catherine’s death notice refers to her brother Patrick Elliott, as being the only remaining living sibling. He died a couple of years later at Bombala in 1939 (8286/1939), aged 84. Although the family lists Patrick’s father’s name as William, like Catherine, there is no listing for the mother’s name. Upon searching for the birth of Patrick Elliott in about 1855 with the father’s name William, I can only find one reference (V18552056 72/1855), Thus, it’s very likely Catherine (and Patrick) were the children of William Elliott and Mary J Fitzgerald. Further evidence for this comes when you cross-reference the deaths of Patrick Elliott’s siblings. The deaths for Sarah A Tozer (1915), John T Elliott (1923) list the parents as William and Mary J. Thus, I am reasonably confident that Catherine’s parents were William Elliott and Mary J Fitzgerald.

* According to Greville’s Post Office Directory 1872 John Dunn was a miner at Quedong.

Sharing Around: Please feel free to copy any of the information on this page which may help you in your own research. My feeling is that family research is hard enough, without the need to constantly re-invent the wheel. It would be great, however, if you’d leave a comment below just to say “hi”.

27 Replies to “John Dunn and Catherine Elliott”

  1. Hi james,

    I have just come across your site totally by accident. I am on the trail of my family tree, and I have been having trouble with some of the people I am looking for. I am somehow related through the Dunn’s but I just haven’t worked out how yet.
    When I was ten my grandmother died. In her personal effects I found some old photos with names on the back, and a short note saying they were her relatives. Ellen Dunn is one of them, and I am going to send you a photo of her to add to this part of your site.

    Many thanks for the information you have provided.


  2. Hi John,
    Great to hear from you. I would be very keen to see the photograph, though the name Ellen Dunn doesn’t instantly spring to mind. As for your grandmother’s connection, maybe try her death notice in the local paper, as they often list relatives names, and not just children, and often close friends. That might help with the connection.

  3. I was pleased to find your family story while looking up Elliotts. It is sometimes helpful to sort out a family especially when there are different streams by the same surname who are not related. I have often wondered about the Bombala Elliott name, as there were Elliotts living on the Snowy River at Biddi. It looks like they were no relation. Another member of my family married an Elliott and may have no connection, even though they married in the Bombala district. He was a sailor.
    Gwen Hubert

  4. Hi James,
    I just happened upon your webpage by accident too, why doing more research on my Dunn ancestors from Merimbula & Wolumla. Do you have any connections with them at all?
    I have been trying to connect the Bushranger John Dunn with my family, only because of 3 “hearsay” stories handed down through the family over the years, but not having any more information, just can’t fit this puzzle together. I agree wholeheartedly regarding sharing information, as there are too many “brick walls” to climb over when doing Family History Research. Great reading all your info too & Good Luck.

  5. Hi Denise,

    Great to hear from you. I’m not 100% sure about whether there’s a connection with the Dunn family from Merimbula and Wolumla. I haven’t done a huge amount of research beyond my grandfather and his family who were from Bombala. You’ve given me the inspiration to dig a little deeper. And thanks for your comments about the website.


  6. Dear James,

    I found your website while searching for information on mining at Quedong (now Quidong). I was interested to learn that John Dunn was a miner there in 1872. He probably worked for the Belmore Frehold Silver and Lead Mining Company Ltd, which started mining there in 1868 and finally went bust in about 1872 or 3. They took over from an earlier company called the Quedong Copper Mining Company Ltd, which mined about 300 tons of copper from 1865 to 68. I am writing an article on the mining activity here and if I find out any more information I will pass it on.


  7. Thanks for your message Ken. As I am currently overseas for a few months, my research is on hold for the moment. But I would certainly appreciate any information you find, and would be interested to read your article when it’s completed. James

  8. Hi, my name is Mary Grahame and Mary Jane Dunn was my great grandmother. She married Thomas Reedy in Bombala and a had a family of 8 girls and one son. One of the girls (my grandmother) who was the second born was named Mary Ellen Jane. She was born in 1898 in Bombala and died at the age of 90 years in Canberra. Currently I am helping my cousin Ed Staples research this part of our family tree.

  9. Hi, my name is Ed Staples. If you get back to me at the above address, I can provide you with the visitors password to access my family tree. It contains information on the descendency of Mary Jane Dunn.

  10. Hi Ed, I’m currently travelling in Europe, but will be in touch when I return to Sydney. Thanks for being in touch. James

  11. Hi James,
    I am an historian at the ANU in Canberra, writing a history of the Delegate Aboriginal Reserve. If you ever come across the names William (Billy) Rutherford, James Brindle or Alex Brindle could you drop me a line? They were well known figures in the Bombala/Quidong/Delegate area as stockmen and black trackers. The older locals all know of them from when they were children but they didn’t make it into the records much.

  12. Hi James

    While my family descend from a different line, (John Dunn, the bush ranger was my grandfathers Uncle), I cannot help but note that sprinting is also a characteristic in my family.
    My fathers cousin held the Australian 100 meter record
    A picture

    James Dunn, my great grandfather, married Bridget O’Brien.

    While there is no relationship from descendants in Australia, Michael Dunn, my great great grandfather came from smithfiled

    1. Brendan,
      My father who died in 1981 was David Brian Dunn who indeed held the Australian 100 yard sprint record.

    2. Hi Brendan, I would be most interested in discussing John Dunn the bushranger’s father Michael, with you,if possible?….I strongly believe that my grandfather James Dunn (Irish convict), was Michael’s brother, due to different stories having been handed down through the family, also by different relatives…..I would so much like to put all the ‘loose ends’ together, as it’s been bugging me for many years now…….


    3. Can you tell me the names of Michael Dunn’s parents please & where he was actually born?


  13. I’m related to James Dunn through his wife Bridget O’Brien, her brother William O’Brien was my
    great great grandfather, They were the children of John O’Brien and Catherine O’Brien nee Garvey who where pioneers of Temora, Cootamundra and Stockinbingal area and descendants still live in the area.

  14. Hi James
    Hope you are well

    the mysteries of the internet posted Teresa’s comments to me today, twelve years after they posted here

    Please pass my email addres onto her She still may be interested in her great great aunty.


  15. Hi James

    John Dunn and Elizabeth Davis/Davidson and William Elliott and Mary J Fitzgerald were my 3 times great grandparents. The link continues down through Mary Jane Dunn and the Reedys.
    I’ve been doing a bit of research on the 3 times great grandparents and am curious to know how it matches up with what you have found.
    My email address is – if you would like to make contact.


    Robert Malone

  16. Hi Michael
    Good to hear from you
    Save putting an off topic discussion in James’ blog, my email is Please send me an email and I will bring you up to speed on my family tree research, including James Dunn and Bridget O’Brien


    1. Did you receive the photos of Bridget O’Brien her brother William O’Brien and parents John O’Brien and Catherine Garvey I emailed you

      Teresa Hughes

      1. Hi Teresa
        I have just re-read your comment and noticed that you have mentioned that you have a photo of Bridget. While you have already sent me photos of William, Catherine, Alfred and Mary, I did not receive any of Bridget, who is my great great grandmother. If you do have one of Bridget, I would really appreciate a copy, my email is

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