Map of the day

Source – David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Authors – W. & A.K. Johnston Limited (1906)

Click on image for a high-res interactive view

Dunedin, Dunedin….thou were the first?

Above map – Dunedin in 1906

We only get a few lucky breaks in life and Dunedin certainly had it’s chance back in 1879.

In 1879 Dunedin was (note the use of past tense) New Zealand’s first and largest city. Below is a snippet from the Census of 1879.

Source – David Rumsey / Authors – Letts, Son & Co (1883)

At the time the population was almost double that of Auckland’s.?Auckland patiently tolerated this for a many years (13 months in total), but like an itch it eventually got their goat?

Living in the Land of the Long Orange Cone and some facts surrounding Auckland’s rapid exponential growth.

The good people of Auckland were not impressed and formulated a strategy to instill prompt changes.

Taxes across Auckland were summarily increased after which Council spent millions of dollars investing in large orange road cones and a few barriers for good will. To this day cones and barriers are still strategically placed all around the CBD and surrounding areas (visit Auckland to see this phenomenon first hand). This was a cunning ruse but it certainly worked people?

The latter created the desired impression – the city was booming, rolling in the dosh and developing on every street corner.

News of such wealth reached every corner of the globe, which attracted thousands upon thousands of international travellers and a quarter of Dunedin’s population. Visitors liked Auckland so much they decided to stay albeit void of valid verified visas.

Truly bi-cultural – Auckland now boasts a diverse population of approximately 1.5 million and growing by the day.

Auckland can further boast having the most diverse versions of spoken English.

Back to Dunedin……

Dunedin claims to have the worlds steepest street, a status granted by the Guinness World Baldwin Street is located in North East Valley. A 350 meter stretch of asphalt that just goes up and up or down and down (depending on direction of travel). If you enjoy unnecessary discomfort, then feel free to walk up as opposed to down. I suggest you take oxygen canisters, puke bags and water.


BTW, Dunedin is an awesome city with awesome people.

Source – David Rumsey Historical Map Collection, Authors – W. & A.K. Johnston Limited (1906)

In 1852, Dunedin became the capital of the?Otago Province, the whole of New Zealand from the?Waitaki?south. In 1861 the discovery of gold at?Gabriel’s Gully, to the southwest, led to a rapid influx of people and saw Dunedin become New Zealand’s first city by growth of population in 1865. The new arrivals included many Irish, but also Italians, Lebanese, French, Germans, Jews and Chinese.

Dunedin and the region industrialised and consolidated and the?Main South Line?connected the city with?Christchurch?in 1878 and Invercargill in 1879. Otago Boys’ High School was founded in 1863. The?University of Otago, the oldest university in New Zealand, in 1869.?Otago Girls’ High School?was established in 1871.

Between 1881 and 1957, Dunedin was home to?cable trams, being both one of the first and last such systems in the world. Early in the 1880s the inauguration of the frozen meat industry, with the first shipment leaving from?Port Chalmers?in 1882, saw the beginning of a later great national industry.

After ten years of gold rushes the economy slowed but?Julius Vogel’s immigration and development scheme brought thousands more especially to Dunedin and Otago before recession set in again in the 1880s. In these first and second times of prosperity many institutions and businesses were established, New Zealand’s first daily newspaper,?art school,?medical school?and?public art?gallery the?Dunedin Public Art Gallery?among them.

By 1900, Dunedin was no longer the country’s biggest city. Influence and activity moved north to the other centres (“the drift north”), a trend which continued for much of the following century.