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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 11 (January 1, 1939)

Naming of Dunedin

Naming of Dunedin.

Dunedin has been Dunedin ever since the first settlers arrived there from Scotland, but the name of the town when it was only a plan on paper was New Edinburgh. This was chosen after such names as New Reekie, Edina, Ossian, Bruce, Burns, Duncan-town, Napiertown, Holyroodtown, and Wallacetown had been rejected.

(W. W. Stewart Collection.) An excursion train leaving Auckland.

(W. W. Stewart Collection.)
An excursion train leaving Auckland.

In 1843 William Chambers, one of the editors of the well-known “Chambers Journal,” wrote to the “New Zealand Journal” (a paper published in London for the purpose of promoting interest in emigration to New Zealand) and suggested that the old Celtic name, Dunedin, was infinitely superior to New Edinburgh. This happy suggestion was adopted, but it was not until 1846 that the projected settlement became known officially as Dunedin. The same idea was used when the river Clutha was named. Clutha is the ancient name of the Clyde.