Dunsborough is a popular tourist destination for Western Australians; in 1999 it was voted the state’s best tourist destination. It is also a common destination for annual school leavers in WA, the other frequent choice being Rottnest Island.
The town is named after the nearby Dunn Bay which was named after Captain Richard Dalling Dunn under whom Governor James Stirling had served in the Hibernia and the Armide in 1810-1811. It was gazetted as a Townsite in 1879, but land for a townsite was set aside here in the late 1830s, and there is a recorded whale fishery at “Dunsbro” in 1850. When Dunsborough first appeared on a map in 1839 it was spelt “Dunnsbro” but the extra n appears to have disappeared by 1850, and the spelling of “bro” was amended to “borough” when the name was gazetted in 1879.
Dunsborough is home to the Dunsborough Bakery one of the oldest remaining businesses. Established by Nanty (Anthony) Curtis, in 1941. Originally situated on Naturaliste Terrace, Nanty constructed the first ovens himself using hand-made mud and straw bricks. He would prepare the doughs at his home before carting them to the bakery via horse and cart for baking. Nanty used to use a feather as a thermometer and would know when the bread was ready by the curl in the feather. As one of the first food businesses in the small town the bakery serviced many locals and Nanty would deliver fresh bread daily via his horse and cart to many of the residents and businesses even as far as Yallingup’s Caves House. The Bakery has undergone many changes since but is still renowned for its pies and traditional sourdough breads.
Dunsborough is the older settlement near to Cape Naturaliste while the closer settlement Bunkers Bay is much more recent – having evolved from a group of holiday shacks to the local Millionaires Row community.