The Dunn family’s association with butchering goes back over a hundred
years. It started in the late 19th century when John Thomas Dunn – great
grandfather of Chris, Lew and Tim ran the butcher’s shop in Camberwell,
‘eight miles’ from Singleton in the Hunter Valley.
It was there that Ernie Dunn, their grandfather, learned the trade from his
father. In due course Ernie opened his own shop in Singleton where he had
moved with his young family in the late 1920s.
By the time war broke out in 1939, Ernie and his family had left the Hunter
Valley for Newcastle where Ernie opened a butcher’s shop at the top of
Georgetown Rd in Georgetown. His sons Ted and Jack learnt the trade there
and in due course opened their own shops – Jack at Sunnyside, and soon
after Ted in Alma Rd, New Lambton. They traded as Dunns Butchers – as
they do today. In the 1970s Ted opened another shop in Orchardtown Rd
New Lambton. Throughout the late sixties and seventies, Ernie worked in the
Sunnyside shop entertaining his customers right up to the day he died at 81.
At New Lambton, Ted’s sons Chris, Lewis and Tim learnt from Ted both the
butchering trade and the secret to the success of Dunns Butchers: quality and
an affection for the people who were their customers.
From the start, the shops bought only prime yearling beef. Jack Dunn was
one of the best judges of “meat on the hoof’ and Ted one of the best judges
of “meat on the hook”.
In the 1970s Jack bought land at Congewai where he fattened beef for the
shops. But he was also a familiar figure at the sale yards he loved, where he
was renowned for choosing only quality cattle that provided top quality meat.
Apart from their reputation for prime yearling beef, the thing that marked out
the Dunn butchers was the relationships they had with their customers. There
was genuine affection and – when Ted was in full flight – a lot of laughter.
This century long Dunn tradition continues today in the Dunns Butchers at
New Lambton Road as our store at Orchardtown road has recently been sold.