John Dunkerley, a hatmaker, was born about 1859 to Benjamin Dunkerley and Harriet Smith. John married Kate Williams in Hobart on 22 Oct 1879. They had five children. William Arnold was born in Hobart on 25 Mar 1880. The family then moved to Sydney where the next three children were born: Benjamin Sidney (Bennie) 1883; Annie Eliza 1885; and Herbert Arthur 1887. John Eric was born in Hobart on 18 Jan 1894.
John had a hat and cap making business at 97 Brisbane Street, Launceston, in 1890-92. John represented the Workman's Club in a living chess tournament at the Albert Hall during the Tasmanian Exhibition in 1891-92. Children from St Francis Xavier's and the Presentation Convent schools played the various pieces on a board in the centre of the floor.
The family moved to Hobart in 1893 where John was the proprietor of a dye works at 47 Liverpool Street. They then went to Victoria where 14-year-old Bennie died in 1897. Kate died in 1900 aged 41. John married Ethel George in 1927. His sons Arnold and Eric followed in their father's footsteps and became hatters. John died aged 71 on 20 May 1930 at his residence, 30 Claremont Avenue, Malvern, Victoria. He was interred in the St Kilda Cemetery.