Thomas John Dunn was born at Balmain on 24 June 1839, son of Thomas Dunn and Matilda nee Cobcroft. He married Martha Rose Rowley at St Michael’s Church, Sydney on 19 October 1865. There were three sons and a daughter from the marriage. Martha died on 3 July 1880. He then married Grace Ann Williams on 21 April 1881 at St James Church Sydney. There were three daughters and a son from the marriage. He died at Mosman on 7 September 1922, aged 83 years. Grace Williams died 27 June 1924, aged 69 years.
Occupation & interests
Educated at Sydney Grammar School, Thomas Dunn assumed control of his father’s leather and grindery business in Castlereagh Street Sydney, and then took over the Grose Street, Glebe business in 1867 when Thomas Dunn senior died. Described as a tanner and currier, Dunn retired in the 1890s, handing over the Glebe works to his eldest son Percy. Dunn moved to 41 Bradleys Head Road Mosman in 1904. He left an estate of 10,196 pounds sworn for probate purposes.
In 1880, Dunn chaired a public meeting at Glebe Town Hall where he proposed that a bridge be erected across Johnston’s Bay from Glebe Point to Balmain. The proposal was carried by acclamation. He was also part of a deputation in 1885 to the Minister for Works that told him Glebe laboured under the disadvantage of not having any place where night soil might be deposited, and unless action was taken promptly the effects of the evil would become very serious.
Local government service
Thomas Dunn was elected as an outer ward alderman on Glebe Council from 1879 until his retirement in 1908 and was twice mayor.
During his time on Glebe Council, Glebe’s population grew from 5,721 to 21,943 and its housing increased from 1,156 to 4,202. TJ Dunn was mayor in 1880 when Glebe Town Hall was opened, a symbol of physical improvement, independence and municipal pride, observing the building boom of the 1880s and the severe economic recession during the following decade. In The middle class exodus from Glebe to outlying suburbs continued in the early years of Federation and Dunn joined the migration, moving to Mosman in 1904.
Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 October 1870; 6 April 1878 p. 28; 17 April 1880 p. 41
Sydney Morning Herald 13 November 1880 p. 6; 12 November 1885 p. 6
Sydney Morning Herald 3 March 1908 p. 5
Australian Town and Country Journal 1 April 1908 p. 6
Sydney Morning Herald 9 September 1922 p. 14