John Dunford Soldier of the 84th Regiment
Buried in the Old Bluff Cemetery Island
Grave location Old Presbyterian OP-J007 is the resting place of an old soldier John Dunford.
John Dunford came to Victoria in May 1884 and arrived at Traralgon as one of the many early settlers. He was aged forty and passage was on board the “Golf of Venice” from Britain, prior to his being in India. He is believed to be the first buried soldier buried at the Bluff Cemetery, serving for Britain (before the event of World War 1) in the 84th Regiment in India under Lord Roberts. Mr Dunford, being a husband and father of two children, after moving Traralgon was a good citizen and avid sportsman. He was an “enthusiastic supporter of the Rifle Club, of which he was a member….Being always anxious to instruct and help a new beginner”. At the time of his death he was eagerly awaiting the results of the return football match with Morwell, but this was not to be as he “expired” before the match ended that day.
John Dunford passed away on Wednesday the 23rd of October 1901 aged 58 after a short illness. The hardship he experienced in India’s hot climate was believed to be the reason he succumb to the illness from which he suffered so severely.
Research information: John Dunford though having a headstone in the Bluff Cemetery, was not recorded in the Bluff Cemetery Burial records of the day and through meticulous study his original deed for burial has been found. The records of his past have been obtained from Trove Newspaper scans. This old soldier of Traralgon who served in India for his Country would have been lost had no headstone been placed or records kept elsewhere. We have no record as yet of what happened to his wife and children after his death in 1901, whether they stayed in the Traralgon area or moved away or are interred with John we do not know? We do know that Mrs Dunford was a person very interested in her town and a forward thinking lady. She wrote a letter to the shire in 1904 and wished to present it at the local shire meeting but alas this was deferred till a later date. She did not re-attend for presenting her letter that we are aware (so do not know its content). This is all we know of the Dunford family to date.
The cemetery has the historic Deed of Burial for John Dunford in allotment 446. Note: the cost was £1 from Mrs L A Dunford which indicates this may be a part payment for the Presbyterian grave site.