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Dunedin

DUNEDIN, a city of New Zealand, capital of the provincial district of Otago, and the seat of a bishop, in Taieri county. Pop (1906) 36,070, including suburbs, 56,020. It lies 15 m. from the open sea, at the head of Otago harbour, a narrow inlet (averaging 2 m. in width) on the south-eastern coast of South Island. The situation was chosen on the consideration of this harbour alone, for the actual site offered many difficulties, steep forest-clad hills rising close to the sea, and rendering reclamation necessary. The hills give the town a beautiful appearance, as the forest was allowed to remain closely embracing it, being preserved in the public ground named the Town Belt. The principal thoroughfare is comprised in Prince's Street and George Street, running straight from S.W. to N.E., and passing through the Octagon, which is surrounded by several of the principal buildings. From these streets others strike at right angles down to the harbour, while others again lead obliquely up towards the Belt, beyond which are extensive suburbs. There are several handsome commercial and banking houses. The town hall, Athenaeum and museum are noteworthy buildings, the last having a fine biological collection. The university, founded in 1869, built mainly of basalt, has schools of arts, medicine, chemistry and mineralogy. It is in reality a university college, for though it was originally intended to have the power of conferring degrees, it was subsequently affiliated to the New Zealand University. The churches are numerous and some are particularly handsome; such as the First church, which overlooks the harbour, and is so named from its standing on the site of the church of the original settlers; St Paul's, Knox church and the Roman Catholic cathedral of St Joseph. Finally, one of the most striking buildings in the city is the high school (1885) with its commanding tower. The white Oamaru stone is commonly used in these buildings. The primary and secondary schools of the town are excellent, and there is a small training college for state teachers. Besides the Belt there are several parks and reserves, including botanical and acclimatization gardens, the so-called Ocean Beach, and two race-courses.

Dunedin is connected by rail with Christchurch northward and Invercargill southward, with numerous branches. Electric tramways serve the principal thoroughfares and suburbs. The most important internal industries are in wool and frozen meat. The harbour is accessible, owing to extensive dredging, to vessels drawing 19 ft., at high tide; and Dunedin is the headquarters of the coasting services of the Union Steamship Co. Port Chalmers, however (9 m. N.E. by rail) though incapacitated by its site from growing into a large town, is more readily accessible for shipping, and has extensive piers and a graving dock. Dunedin is governed by a mayor and corporation, and most of its numerous suburbs are separate municipalities.

The colony of Otago (from a native word meaning ochre, which was found here and highly prized by the Maoris as a pigment for the body when preparing for battle) was founded as the chief town of the Otago settlement by settlers sent out under the auspices of the lay association of the Free Church of Scotland in 1848. The discovery of large quantities of gold in Otago in 1861 and the following years brought prosperity, a great "rush" of diggers setting in from Australia. Gold-dredging, in the hands of rich companies, remains a primary source of wealth in the district.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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