Guide to the Edward J. Dunn Papers (as filmed by AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Dunn, Edward J., 1844-1937
Papers of Edward J. Dunn (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1844 - 1948
Collection Number
15 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Drafts of autobiography and notes, including notes on Bendigo and Beechworth, Victoria; Mount Morgan, Queensland; and Coolgardie, Western Australia; and Australian explorers and geologists.

Cutting books 1871-1880, 1886-1887, mostly relating to Cape Colony goldfields and diamond fields.

Correspondence 1871-1948 dealing with Dunn's geological discoveries and writings, including letters of Sir Joseph Hooker, A. Ramsay, Sir Richard Owen and Baron Ferdinand von Mueller.

Photographs of Dunn and his home, Rosemeath, Melbourne.

Publications about Dunn and his ethnographical collections.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the Royal Commonwealth Society, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1982 (AJCP Reels: M1689). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Papers were formally held by the Royal Commonwealth Society, London. The archives moved to the University of Cambridge with the rest of the Royal Commonwealth Society Library in 1993.

Existence and Location of Originals

Royal Commonwealth Society Library, University of Cambridge Library, West Road, Cambridge, England.

For further information see University of Cambridge Library Papers []

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

The papers of Royal Commonwealth Society (M1690-1703), Wilfred Powell (M1688) and Hugh Childers (M1687) have been listed and filmed separately.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


Australia; Beechworth, Victoria; Bendigo, Victoria; Coolgardie, Western Australia; Dunn, Edward J.; Exploration: land; Geologists; Geology: Victoria; Gold and Goldfields: South Africa; Hooker, Sir Joseph D.; Melbourne, Victoria: photographs; Mount Morgan, Queensland; Owen, Sir Richard; RamSay, A.; Rosemeath, Melbourne, Victoria; South Africa; Victoria: photographs; Von Mueller, Sir Ferdinand, Baron


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 147, p53. []

Biographical / Historical

The Dunn family migrated to Australia in 1849 and lived at Goulburn and Beechworth. Officer of Geological Survey of Victoria 1864-1871. Migrated to South Africa 1871 and surveyed Kimberley diamond fields and many other parts of South Africa. Studied at School of Mines, London, 1873-1874. Returned to Victoria 1886 and was a consulting geologist for private firms and for the Mines Department. He visited Northern Territory and Mount Morgan and made surveys of Bendigo and the north-west coast of Tasmania. Director of Geological Survey of Victoria 1904-1912. Author of a number of books, including The geology of gold (1929) and The bushman (1931).

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Autobiography (typescript), 1844 - 1871

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Selected section, 1844 - 1871 (File)

Series 2. Autobiography (Manuscript), 1844 - 1900

Series 3. Autobiography (manuscript), 1844 - 1912

Series 4. Autobiographical notes

4 item

Filmed selectively.

Book 1 (File)

Includes notes on Bendigo and Beechworth.

Book 2 (File)

Includes notes on Bendigo, emigration to Australia in 1849, life on farm at Rhyana and Goulburn, journalism, goldmining.

Book 5 (File)

List of mines examined, notes on Coolgardie goldmines, Mountt. Morgan goldmines, Bendigo goldmines, list of discoveries.

Book 6 (File)

Includes notes on the bunyip, discovery of Heathcote beds.

Series 6. Cutting books, 1871-1880; 1886-1887

Remnants of two cutting books, 1871-1880, 1886-1887, mostly relating to the Cape Colony goldfields and diamond fields. Many of the cuttings are from Australian newspapers, including the Argus, Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Age, Herald, and Wangaratta Weekly Dispatch.

Series 9. Autobiographical notes, 1860 - 1923

Two pads of autobiographical notes, written in about 1936, referring inter alia to Robert O'H. Burke, G.M. Stephen, A.R.C. Selwyn, Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, R. Brugh Smyth, wages, Bendigo mining, thirst, bushfires, scientific discoveries and book Geology of gold.

Series 10. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1871 - 1948

Folder of letters relating to Dunn's geological discoveries, his work in South Africa, his visit to England in 1898-1899, and his writings and papers.

Among the correspondents are T. Davies (British Museum), Sir Henry Barkly, Sir Joseph Hooker, A. Ramsay, R. Jones, A. du Toit (Pretoria); W.G. Atherstone (Grahamstown), J.W. Judd (Royal College of Science), Sir Richard Owen, Sir Ferdinand von Mueller, A.H. Green, J. Park (Dunedin), S.B.J.Skertchly, Sir Theodore Fink and Miss L. Dunn.

Series 11. Photographs

2 items

Filmed selectively.

Photographs of E.J. Dunn (File)

Photographs of interiors of Rosemeath, Kew, Melbourne (File)

Series 12. Publications, 1937

2 items

In memory of Edward John Dunn, geologist. (Melbourne). (15p.), 1937 (File)

In memory of Elizabeth Julie Dunn (5p.) (File)

Series 13. Ethnographical collections etc. made by E.J. Dunn in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, [n.d.]

(Melbourne) (44 pp.) Manuscript amendments