John Dunn and family

John Dunn and family:
John was born in 1835 in Galbally, a small town in County Limerick, Southern Ireland and was baptised on November 5th 1835. He immigrated to Australia around 1858 and, at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on July 27th 1864, he married Mary Heelan, an immigrant from the same town as himself. Mary had arrived in Sydney on July 8th 1859. It is not known when John and Mary came to New Zealand but John was here to buy the first plot of land (lot 101) to be auctioned at Ararimu, near Franklin south of Auckland on January 21st 1867. John paid �102 for his 100 acres. John's brother in law, Laughlin Keaney, and his wife, Johanna (John's youngest sister), bought lot 102 at Opaheke, south of Papakura.  These families were amongst the first settlers to occupy their allotments in Ararimu near Bombay, Auckland. The families walked in through the bush from Bombay, arriving at Ararimu on January 29th, 1867. Much of the land was situated amidst dense Rimu bush with trees of up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) in diameter. Some years later, in partnership with Michael Lynch, John obtained the Crown Grant for lots 190 and 191 in the Opaheke Parish, land which they later sold to John Shaw. In November 1902 John was returning to New Zealand from a business trip to Sydney, Australia on board the trans-Tasman steamer Elingamite. In thick fog the vessel ran aground on one of the Three Kings Islands north of New Zealand and John was one of those who lost his life. A memorial to John may be found in the Ararimu Cemetery. Poignantly the land on which the Ararimu Cemetery stands is an area that was gifted by John for the erection of a Catholic Church, a building which no longer stands on this site. During their time in Ararimu John and Mary had 10 children.

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John Dunn

Mary Dunn (nee Heelan)