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13 October 1894 John Dunn

 13 October 1894        John Dunn

When John Dunn died on 13 October 1894 at the age of 92 he had achieved great success in his 54 years in south Australia. Born to a poor family in Devon he learnt about flour milling as a boy and put his knowledge to good use when he and all his family came to SA in 1840. He built his first mill at Hay Valley in 1841 and in 1844 acquired land at Mount Barker where he planted wheat and set up a steam driven mill. In 1860 his new mill at Cox’s Creek was opened with some flourish and the large water driven wheel, which came to be known as ‘Old Rumbler’, began its working life by turning a spit on which a whole ox was roasted to celebrate the occasion. The wheel turned five pairs of stone rollers for nine months of the year and for the remaining three, when not enough water came down the creek, it was switched to steam power. Dunn was so successful he expanded his business to mills at Nairne in 1864, Port Adelaide 1866, Port Pirie 1877 and Port Augusta 1878. The mill at Bridgewater worked at full capacity until the 1880s then only sporadically until the 1920s. After changing hands several times and being used for other purpose it was closed down in 1955. After years of falling into disrepair, the mill was restored as a restaurant and ‘Old Rumbler’ happily turns just for fun.

Tom Dyster, Pump in the Roadway, Investigator Press, 1980, pp. 102-08.

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