Thomas Patrick Dunn and his wife Eliza Jane Avery lived in Cape Hawke where Thomas worked at John Wright’s Mill in Tuncurry. Afterwards he was employed at the Breckenridge Mill at Failford as a sawyer along with his brothers James also a sawyer, Edward a fireman and Cornelius an engineer.
In 1902 Thomas, Eliza and their children moved into a mill workers’ cottage at Failford before acquiring a property on the bank of the Wallamba River opposite the mill which became popularly known as ‘Dunns of Dunnville’. In 1904 Thomas built the family home to accommodate their 14 children all attending Failford School from 1902 until 1930.1
Thomas became foreman of the Breckenridge Mill while the family ran a dairy farm with poultry, pigs and vegetables. Unfortunately on 10 July 1923 Eliza died ten days after a fall in which she injured her leg. She was only 50 years old.2 Thomas took over the rearing of their younger children whilst continuing to work at the mill.
In 1932 when returning home on horseback after making enquiries about the welfare of a neighbour, Thomas became giddy. He dismounted and suffered a paralytic stroke falling into the vegetation. When the horse returned home alone an intensive search was directed by Constable Davey from Nabiac. The search went through the night until the next day when he was found alive, but unconscious. Thomas died two hours later.3
Thomas and Eliza are both buried in the Failford cemetery.4
Author: Marilyn Boyd
1 Lynette McMartin “Some of my childhood memories” in Daryll Moran, ‘The history of Failford and the Wallamba River District’, Wallamba and District Historical Society, 1987, p. 203.
2 Eliza Dunn’s headstone at Failford Cemetery.
3 Northern Champion, 17 February 1932, 2.
4 Headstones at the Failford Cemetery.