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Picturesque Dunedin: or Dunedin and its neighbourhood in 1890


If the early settlers of Otago—the "Pilgrim Fathers" of Dunedin—who arrived at Port Chalmers in the "John Wickliff" and the "Philip Laing," could have taken a peep into futurity and viewed our fair city of Dunedin to-day, with her numerous white buildings glittering amongst her verdant hills, and girdled around by her magnificent emerald "Belt," they well might have exclaimed, "Can such things ever be ?"

In those early days of the settlement every man, if he intended to become prosperous, required to make himself a kind of "Jack of all trades." He was compelled to understand a little of bush carpentering, be competent to build a sod chimney, and be able to manufacture his own furniture, before he could make himself even tolerably comfortable in his hut. He, or his wife, if he was blessed with one, would have to repair all the clothes, and also put a patch on a boot when necessary, or he would probably find himself bare-footed.

Many other little offices, which are so much more conveniently arranged in the Dunedin of the present day had all to be performed as "home industries" in those early days, when a pig-hunter's hut was the only building where High street now runs, and the waves of the Bay washed over the present site of the Colonial Bank. And yet that time is less than fifty years ago. A man need not have arrived at the threescore and ten years of the Psalmist to have a recollection of that period.

Since then the various industries of Dunedin have advanced not only by strides but by leaps and bounds. In some of the large industrial centres of the mother country they profess to manufacture everything, "from a needle to an anchor." Dunedin cannot yet go quite so far as that. She can, however page 244produce most necessary domestic articles, and a great number of what may be considered luxuries.

To the discovery of gold Dunedin owes in a great measure its rapid growth. Although gold-mining is not an actual city industry, still it has had a great effect on Dunedin, and has given a great stimulus to its commercial life. Not only are large quantities of mining plant manufactured here, but numbers of the miners visit the city at regular intervals,- more especially in winter, when the mining is suspended, which tends to cause a circulation of cash, and is of great benefit to the citizens.

In order that the majority of the manufacturing industries may thrive, it is absolutely necessary, so long as steam is the motive power, that a good supply of fuel should be available. In this matter Dunedin is exceptionally favoured. Within a reasonable distance of the city there are numerous mines from which the requisite quantity of coal and lignite can be obtained. These mines are situated at Green Island, Kaitangata, Shag Point, and other places. They are generally worked by drives into the sides of the hills, and not by sinking a perpendicular shaft, as is usual in the coal-pits of Great Britain.

An excellent bituminous coal is also brought round from the West Coast by the Union Steam Shipping Company's regular line of vessels. To the use of this first-class steam-coal the engineer of the "Calliope" attributed the splendid work of the engines of that vessel, when she made her memorable escape from destruction off the coast of Samoa, whilst the American and Ger-man vessels were wrecked. A still further supply of coal is obtained regularly from Newcastle, N. S. Wales. Dunedin has therefore an ample supply of fuel.

In addition to quite a small fleet of coasting vessels owned in Dunedin, the city has the advantage of being the head quarters of the Union Steam Shipping Company, and by this means has convenient water communication with the whole habitable globe.

It is impossible in a brief review like the present to do little more than mention the names of the principal makers and one or two articles of their manufacture. An alphabetical order of trades and names will be adhered to as much as possible.