Northern Cemetery Gentlemen of Fortune

Dunedin’s Northern Cemetery, opened in 1872, contains more than 17,000 burials, representing a cross-section of the city’s population from its earliest days to the 1930s. In this one-hour trail you will visit the burial sites of ten prominent men from the city’s formative days.

Dunedin began in 1848 as a Free Church of Scotland settlement, led by William Cargill and the Rev. Thomas Burns. Among them were English Anglicans John Hyde Harris and William Cutten. There was an "us and them" antagonism between the English and the Scots.

When gold was discovered in 1861, Dunedin went from backwater to boom town almost overnight. Thousands of men, among them Vincent Pyke and James Bradshaw, raced from Australia, Britain and America to mine for gold.

The wealth created by gold led to Dunedin's reincarnation in the 1870s as the commercial centre of New Zealand. Along with the creation of industry came sweatshops and dire work conditions. James Bradshaw and John Millar fought for union representation and better conditions for the workers.

By the 1880s economic depression gripped the whole country, and Dunedin lost its predominant position. One thing was still going strong in Dunedin: education. Thanks to the Scots settlers, its importance was established early on in the settlement. They believed that education was essential and should be available to everybody. John Richardson became the Chancellor of the University of Otago in 1871.

Also included in this trail are run-holder, a surgeon, a poet with a social conscience and a Prime Minister.

This trail was produced by the Southern Heritage Trust. Printed brochures of this and several other Northern Cemetery trails are available from the Sexton's Cottage .

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