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A Romance of Lake Wakatipu

Note 20.—First Church, Dunedin

page 124

Note 20.—First Church, Dunedin.

Conspicuous to any one entering Dunedin by steamer or rail is the First Church, on its plateau of carefully-kept turf. As the name indicates, this is the church of earliest establishment in the city. Its first pastor was the Rev. Dr. Burns, who came out with the Presbyterian immigrants in 1848. Though the establishment of the church dates back to the foundation of the colony, the present building is of comparatively modern date. It was built by an architect who has left his mark on the public buildings of Otago, more particularly on its church architecture. It is built of Oamaru stone, and is very ornate in style.

Another of these ecclesiastical structures is named Knox, or the second Dunedin, church. It has a style of architecture which is the natural outcome of the resources of the province. The chief building-stone available in Dunedin is a bluish or grey breccia, a volcanic rock of great durability, but of too sombre a colour to be used without relief. An effective contrast is obtained by introducing a facing of Oamaru stone; and, as long as the limestone retains its creamy whiteness, nothing cleaner or more cheerful than this combination could be desired. The blue volcanic stone, though it may be dressed into magnificent blocks, does not lend itself to ornamental work of any kind, hence the necessity for a soft stone like the Oamaru limestone, which is not only light in colour, but may be worked with much ease into decorative works of all kinds. Of this style, which seems likely to become distinctive of Dunedin architecture, is Knox Church, built some ten. or twelve years ago to meet the wants of a congregation which had outgrown the space of its own wooden building; and, outside and in, this church is an admirable example of beauty and fitness.—"Our Sister Cities," in Melbourne Review.