John Dunn (c.1760-1838)

A convict transported per Fortune (1806) who 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.

My Lord Dunn: A Tragicomedy (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 (c.1760-1838) 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


  • Spouse of Mary Webster
  • Friend of Richard Partridge (I): Partridge witnessed the Dunn-Webster wedding



# Convict

# Ship: Fortune (1806)

# Burial Year: 1838

# Grave: unmarked