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Daniel John (Dan) Dwyer (1881–1914)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Daniel John Patrick (Dan) Dwyer (1881-1916) temperance advocate, Methodist preacher, community activist and versifier

Birth: 1881 at Stepney, London, England, son of John George Dwyer, dock foreman, and Annie Matilda, née Bennett. Never married. Death: 18 June 1914 at Waterfall Sanitorium, Sydney. 

  • Reached Sydney with his mother and sister aboard the Oroya in 16 September 1889 to join his father who had arrived a year earlier.
  • Suffered poor health from childhood.
  • From about 1897 was associated with his father’s obsessions: the Theosophical Society in 1897, a gold-mining venture in 1899, running a lodging house in 1903.
  • In 1905 became a Methodist trainee after which he worked at the Sydney Central Methodist Mission, among the city’s poor. He then became a circuit evangelist and preacher in outback NSW. Was “a labour man in principle”, but most interested in campaigning for temperance, working with Albert Bruntnell.
  • In 1912 he moved to Ipswich, Queensland, and in 1913 to Adelaide. In Adelaide he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and suspected epilepsy. Though he was back as a missionary in NSW, in early 1914 his health was deteriorating while at at Milthorpe, where his mother rushed to care for him and to bring him back to Sydney
  • In March 1914 he was admitted to the Waterfall sanitorium. He died three months later. As Hearn records, “Dan was one of 3,111 Australians who died of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1914, and one of 1,178 victims in New South Wales”. 

Mark Graeme Hearn, Hard Cash, John Dwyer and his Contemporaries, 1890-1914, PhD thesis, University of Sydney, 2000,

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Dwyer, Daniel John (Dan) (1881–1914)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 1 December 2023.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


London, Middlesex, England


18 June, 1914 (aged ~ 33)
Waterfall, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


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