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Biographical entry Dunn, Edward John (1844 - 1937)

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    Dunn, Edward John Portrait

1 November 1844
Bedminster, Somerset, England
20 April 1937
Kew, Victoria, Australia


Edward Dunn was Victorian Government Geologist from 1904 to 1912. He qualified as a geologist while working for the Survey in the 1860s, but after it was abolished he spent most of the next 15 years working in South Africa. He became Geologist to the Cape town Administration. Much of his work was concerned with gold, coal and diamond deposits, glaciated landscapes and geological mapping. In 1886 Dunn returned to Australia and was in practice as a geological consultant, working with Broken Hill and Mount Morgan, and investigating the Gippsland coalfields and Bendigo goldfield. As Government Geologist he published a series of significant reports on Victorian geology and gold deposits, established a geological museum and mining laboratory, and discovered the Powlett coalfields. After retiring from the Survey Dunn returned to private consulting and writing. He was President of the Royal Society of Victoria in 1906.



Life event - Migrated to Australia with his family
c. 1860 - 1864
Career position - Employed at Land Survey Office, Beechworth, Victoria
1864 - 1869
Career position - Member of the survey team, Victorian Geological Survey
Education - Passed examinations as mining surveyor
1871 - 1886
Career position - Geologist in South Africa
Education - Certificate of Assaying, School of Mines, Jermyn St, London
Award - Fellow, Geological Society of London
Career position - In private practice in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Northern Territory
1904 - 1912
Career position - Government Geologist Victoria
Award - Murchison Medal, Geological Society of London
Career position - President, Royal Society of Victoria
Life event - Retired

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Edward John Dunn - Records, 1886 - 1937, ML MSS 1458; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Published resources


  • Anon, In memory of Edward John Dunn (1.XI.1844 - 20,IV.1937) geologist: a short biography and outline of his participation in the geographical research of South Africa and Australia (Melbourne: Stuart Taylor Pty Ltd, 1937), 15 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Andrews, E.C., 'The Heroic Period of Geological Work in Australia.', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, lxxvi (1942), 96-128. Details
  • Birch, W. D. and Henry, D., 'The geological collections of Museum of Victoria, Melbourne', Australian Journal of Mineralogy, 6 (2) (2000), 83-91. Details
  • Dunn, E. J. and Mahony, D. J., 'Biographical Sketch of the Founders of the Geological Survey of Victoria', Bulletins of The Geological Survey of Victoria, 23 (1910), 48. Details
  • K., A. S., 'Edward John Dunn F.G.S.', Victorian Naturalist, 54 (2) (1937), 20-2. Details


See also

  • Johns, R.K. ed., History and role of government geological surveys in Australia (Adelaide: South Australian Government Printer, 1976), 111 pp. Details

Digital resources

Dunn, Edward John Portrait


McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn