John Dunn (c.1760–1838)

JOHN DUNN aka MY LORD DUNN, was a convict transported per Fortune (1806) for ‘stealing a brass pan.’ He worked as an oysterman and also owned a “disorderly house” in Parramatta. The disorderly house was most likely on Sorrell Street, Parramatta; the town where his diminutive size, physical disabilities, and enormous personality had made him a local legend, known as “My Lord Dunn.” Despite his popularity, My Lord Dunn was violently murdered at the age of 78.

Related Content

My Lord Dunn (2016)

By Michaela Ann Cameron

Legend has it that Old Parramatta’s oysterman, who insisted on being called “My Lord Dunn,” began his life in the Colony of New South Wales with a wisecrack…and his legend only grew as the years went by, despite his diminutive proportions! John Dunn was described by contemporary reporters as a “deformed,” three-foot-tall convict transported to the colony of New South Wales in 1806, supposedly for being a reluctant soldier. He went on to work as an oysterman in Parramatta but also managed a less respectable side-business as a brothel owner. Though he was well-known and much loved by the Old Parramattans, My Lord Dunn met a tragic end. He lies in an unmarked grave at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta, location unknown.


  • John Dunn
  • My Lord Dunn

Burial Location

  • Unmarked grave, location unknown, St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta


  • Born: c.1760
  • Convicted: 18 March 1803 at the Leicester Assizes, Leicestershire, England
  • Arrived in New South Wales per Fortune12 July 1806
  • Married Mary Webster: 2 November 1807 at St. John’s Church, Parramatta
  • Received Certificate of Freedom: 2 February 1811
  • Died: 29 August 1838 at his hut / disorderly house / brothel, thought to be located on Sorrell Street, Parramatta
  • Buried: 30 August 1838 at St. John’s Cemetery, Parramatta




  • Re: stealing a brass pan, see Leicester Journal, 11 March 1803, Issue number: 2623, p. 1
  • At the assizes for this county and borough, which commence on Friday next, the following prisoners are to take their trials. In the County Goal. Richard Howett, charged on the oath of his father, with stealing 4 heifers ( his properry) out of the lord- ship of Colston. Mary Hicks, charged with privately stealing from John Smith, of Loughbro’, a guinea notes, and a 7 s. piece. Mary Newton, for stealing a piece of linen cloth out ot the shop of Messrs. Heys and Kirton, of Ashby- de- la- zouch. Geo. Lee, Thos. Lee, and W. Smith, charged with burglariously entering the dwelling, house of Catherine Ainsworth of Sileby, and stealing thereout six guinea^ in gold, a 301. bank note, 30 guinea notes, and several other notes of 501,101. Si 51. Henry Tompson Fox, and Joseph Burgess, charged the oathof Joshua Pettifor of Sileby, with stopping him on the highway, and taking from him 6 bank notes of 11. each and some silver. John Walker, charged with stealing a quantity of oats; Thos. Stacey, with stealing part of an oak tree ; John Dunn, with stealing a brass pan ; Thos. and Wm. Judd, on a charge of stealing poultry ; and Stephen Fukes, charged with stealing 3 doz. and 9 pair of hose, the property of Marshall Marvin, of Earl Shilton. In the Borough Goal. John Belton and John Huffin, charged on the oath of Charlotte Russell, with assaulting her in the parish tf All Saints, Leicester, and taking from her 30 guinea in gold and some silver. James Taylor, and Thos. Pearce, charged with stealing within the last 6 months, various quantities- of lead from the difFerent churches in this town. On Wednesday, at the assizes for the county of Northampton, came on the trial of G. Bacon, for aid- ing J. Allen, the fellow who shot at Gamble, the Marquis of Exeter’s game- keeper, on the 10th December. Peake, implicated in the offence, was admitted an evidence for the Crown ; but in conse- quence of the melioration in the Black Act, and it having been sworn that the prisoner had no intention of prosecuting his inclinations by’ force, the Jury found a verdict of Not Guilty.— Gamble has lately had a relapse ; eleven shot and some pieces of bone been extracted from his face, which were pro- duced in court. Mary Embelow, for robbing her master, John Eaton, of Thrapston, of five guineas, and two seven shilling pieces; Peter Eaves and John Matthews, for breaking and entering the dwelling- house of Richard Woodward, of Potterspury, and taking and car- rying away sundry articles of wearing apparel, fee. received sentence of death, but were all reprieved before the Judge left Northampton. A young man, clerk to a considerable merchant in Cambridge, his absconded ( and for whose apprehen- sion 2001. reward is offered). He is charged with having committed a forgery on a banking- house in London, and by that means obtained 901. in the name of Lord J. Townsend. The forgery, it is said, was committed several months ago,’ and an innocent person has some weeks been in custody on suspicion, but from some recent transactions at Ware market, the above young man was suspected. On Tuesday se’nnight, by letter, he returned the anuunt to the banker’s and has not since been heard of.


# Convict

# Ship: Fortune (1806)

# Burial Year: 1838

# Grave: unmarked