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National Trust of South Australia


Dunstone, Robert

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Fast Facts
Type of person Individual
Date of birth 1798
Place of birth Veryan, Cornwall, England
Date of arrival 1840
Principal occupation Stone mason
Date of departure 1853
Date of death 1876
Place of decease Amherst, Victoria

Robert Dunstone was born on 18 Feb 1798 at Veryan, Cornwall. He was the son of Luke Williams Dunstone (1760-1836) and Elizabeth (née Dawe) (1769-1825). There is variable spelling of the surname – Dunstone, Dunston or Dunstan. In Cornwall he is described as a mason living in Lower Trefula (1827) and at Redruth Highway (1828-1833) in the parish of Redruth. They were both literate - they both signed their marriage certificate.

Robert Dunstone married Elizabeth Williams (1799-1857) on 31 Dec 1826 in Redruth, Cornwall. They had six children:

  • Robert (1827-1828) b. & d. at Redruth, died as an infant.
  • Robert (1829-1903) b. at Redruth, aged 24 years m. (1st) Juliet Clara Mitchell (1836-1873), 17 years, on 29 Sept 1853 at St. Michael Church, Mitcham, (2nd) Mary Anne Bailey in Victoria in 1875, He was resident at Talbot, Orroroo and Adelaide.
  • Elizabeth Jane (1831-1885) b. at Redruth, aged 19 years, m. William Robert Tresidder (1829- ), aged 21 years, on 24 Nov 1850 at St. James Church, Blakiston, SA.
  • Luke Williams (1833-1886) b. at Redruth, m. Esmay Jane Convery in 1869 in Victoria, d. at Talbot, Victoria.
  • Thomas Williams (1834-1909) b. at Carharrack, d. at Talbot.
  • James (1842-1912) b. at Adelaide, m. Matilda Cole in 1871 in Victoria, d. at Gelling.

Robert Dunstone, with his brother Hugh (recorded as Dunstan), arrived in South Australia on board Java on 5 Feb 1840. According to the SA Census of 1841, Robert Dunstone (recorded as Dunston), his wife Elizabeth and four children, Robert, Elizabeth, Luke and Thomas, were resident in Willunga. They were living on the southern half of Lot 280 (section 700) on Quarry Road near St. John’s Terrace, Beltunga (Willunga South). The northern half of Lot 280 was owned by the Williams family at the time.

The Dunstone family was resident in South Australia until 1853, with Robert signing a petition in 1844. His wife Elizabeth, who was reported to be resident at Brownhill Creek, appeared as a complainant in a court case in 1846. Two of their children married in South Australia – Elizabeth Jane at Blakiston in 1850 and Robert at Mitcham in 1853. Robert was badly injured while cutting stones for the Trinity Church in North Terrace, Adelaide, which crippled him for life. Subsequently, he conducted a small school for some time.

In late 1853, Robert and his family decided to seek their fortunes in the gold fields of Victoria. They travelled by bullock dray, first to Avoca, and were resident at Daisy Hill, Talbot, Victoria by 1856, where Robert was described as a “stone cutter”. His wife Elizabeth, aged 58 years, died in 1857.

Robert was cared for by his son Luke, and his family, in later life. Robert Dunstone, aged 78 years, was living in Amherst in Victoria when he died on 16 Oct 1876.


  • Passengers in History Database – South Australian Maritime Museum
  • South Australian Births – Index of Registrations 1842-1906
  • South Australian Marriages – Index of Registrations 1842-1937
  • South Australian Deaths – Index of Registrations 1842-1972
  • SA Census 1841

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