Charlie Dunn came from a boatbuilding family. His father William Dunn was working on the North Shore (Berry's Bay at least as far back as 1864. Charlie and his brother Billy continued the business well into the twentieth century, building all sorts of boats from dinghies and skiffs to ferries and small coasters. Can't find his dates of birth and death, but brother Billy lived 1880-1953, and Charlie was still alive in 1945. Both brothers were top skippers, and Billy concentrated on this side more than on boatbuilding, steering many boats for different owners. Charlie mostly sailed boats he built for himself, including eight boats (10's and 18's) named Crescent and a number of 14 footers, including Clio. Starting his racing career in 10's and 14's in the 1890's he moved into 18's with Mascotte in 1901 and was still racing 18's in the mid-1930's.
Many of his boats were narrower than the prevailing models, but he did build some big-beam champions as well, including Kismet, Avalon and Pastime II, as well as supplying the moulds for Perth's Mele Bilo I & II. He was very popular interstate, especially in the 14' class, building boats for Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
Shed: Berry's Bay, now part of Noakes Marine Centre.
Incomplete list of open racing boats built:
1890's: Several 10 footers named Crescent. Several 14 footers including Clio.
1901 Mascotte 18' Unusual for having the top two or three strakes clinker with batten-seam bottom and being painted white.
1903 Qui Vive 18' 6' beam, sold to Perth 1904.
1905 Air Motor 14' for Botany Bay.
1905 Crescent IV 18' for himself, also 6' beam.
1905 Crescent V 18'
1906 Crescent VI 18'
1906 Acme 18'
1908 Crescent VII 18'
1909? Nereid 16' skiff, Champion that year.
1912 Desdemona 18' for A.C.Roberts, sailed up until the 1940-41 season.
1912 Kismet 18' for Ravell brothers, also sailed up until the 1940-41 season.
1913 Swastika 18'
1916 Onda 18'
1919 Mischief 18' for Cairns FNQ
1921 Crescent VIII 18'
1921 Endeavour 18'
1922 Avalon 18'
1927 Pastime II 18'
The Dunn yard in Berry's Bay 1892. The Dunns had the shed and land to the right. The crowd is there for the launching of the Balmain ferry Lady Mary at the yard of Walter Reeks next door. Two yachts are visible on the Dunn slipway, one under cover without mast. The shed has more air than condition, I guess they took their tools home every night.
Fourteen foot dingy Clio built and sailed by Charlie and sometimes Billy, around 1897. The 14's were an unrestricted class and carried every sail their bigger sisters did, even squaresails up to about his date when spinnakers took over.
Wee Georgie was the son of Jack Robinson who raced and built several 18 footers. He was the Balmain Tigers First Grade Rugby League halfback in 1919 when he built Britannia, the replica of which is the focus of the construction section of the Open Boat book. He raced Britannia until 1944, then steered Aberdare for several years, then became the starter for the SFS (with Britannia as the starter boat at first) for 28 years.
Incomplete list of boats built:
1915 Britannia 6'
1919 Britannia 18'
1922 Waitangi 30' yacht (recently restored by Rick Wood)
1930 Jean 10' for Mr McFarlane
1947 Scamp 18' for and with son Ron
1960's Brit 20' clinker launch as replacement starter boat (still afloat)