DUNN, John (Teenage Bushranger)

John DUNN was born 14th December 1846 at Murrumburrah near Yass.

He associated with the Ben HALL and John GILBERT gang.

On 26th January 1865 HALL, GILBERT, and John DUNN were involved in a hold up at Collector near Lake George. John DUNN fired twice killing the local policeman, Constable Samuel NELSON and father of 8 children.

DUNN also shot at NELSON’s son, but missed.

“The FELLONS APPREHENSIVE Act of 1865”had come into place which allowed for bushrangers to be shot and killed rather than taken for trial which meant they could be shot at and killed by anyone”.

Ben HALL went his own way and was surrounded and shot by police at Forbes while GILBERT and DUNN headed for Murrumburrah.

During a gun fight GILBERT was killed on 13th May 1865, he was the only bushranger not to have served time in prison.

7 months later John DUNN was recognised at Walgett on 18th December 1865, he was shot at and wounded, put in Dubbo gaol where he again escaped, this time through an unlocked window, was recaptured the next day and charged with “robbery under arms” for the murder of Constable NELSON, convicted on 19th January 1866 and hung in Darlinghurst gaol on 19th March1866 and buried in Devonshire Street cemetery.

John Cadman headstone in Devonshire Street Cemetery. Image courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales.

The original headstone erected by his Godmother read:

In Memory of John Dunn, who died March 19th 1866 aged 19 years
May he Rest in Peace
He has gone to his grave but we must not deplore him,
Though sorrow and darkness encompass his tomb,
The Saviour has passed through its portals before him,
And the light of his love was the lamp through the doom.

Sources: National Library of Australia – Trove

pdf_iconJohn Dunn Murder Trial

pdf_iconJohn Dunn Grave