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Photograph: Caversham today
Photograph: South Dunedin today
Photograph: St Clair today

Place: The Southern Suburbs

As 'the Flat' developed, distinct areas began to emerge. In time some of these areas became boroughs with their own councils, public halls and other amenities. However, once Dunedin's 'golden' years came to an end at the end of the nineteenth century, Caversham and South Dunedin soon amalgamated with the greater city council. St Kilda remained a separate borough until 1989 when it joined the Dunedin City Council under a scheme designated by the New Zealand Local Government Commission.

View of CavershamCaversham fancied itself as separate from (if not above) the rest of 'the Flat' but few outsiders noticed the difference. The borough was the preserve of skilled Protestant working men and their families who lived in houses that were larger on average than those of South Dunedin. Caversham was an independent borough until 1904. The borough boundaries extended as far as St Clair to the south and Kensington to the northeast. This undated photograph shows Caversham's Main Road running left to right just below centre. McCracken's general store, a Caversham landmark, is just visible in the bottom left corner. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Another view of early cavershamIn the early day of Dunedin's establishment, South Dunedin provided cheap housing for the unskilled. Between 1883 and 1900 the population of the suburb grew 50%. By then it had 12.9 persons per square acre compared to neighbouring Caversham with just 4.4 people to an acre. Its families depended on labourers' wages and lived in small houses on small sections. South Dunedin was an independent borough until 1905. It then joined the Dunedin City. This 1913 photograph clearly shows the first Caversham gasworks (bottom right corner), the Benevolent Institution (below centre right), the areas of market garden along Forbury Road (centre right) and St Clair beach in the background. The poorer areas of South Dunedin lie to the left. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Cargils CornerKensington was an area of smoky industry, including the railway workshops and gasworks. Its housing was dirty, cheap and rough. Here the balance tipped toward those who struggled to achieve the communal ideals of economic independence and respectability. Poor people lived here in dingy little cottages. The gasworks dominate this 1870s scene with Cargill's Corner centre right edge. The area now occupied by The Warehouse (previously the Caledonian Grounds and to the left of the gasworks) extends back to the bottom left of Hillside Road. Today the Warehouses' car parking area combines with the Pak 'n' Save supermarket's area and, with the supermarket itself, takes up the majority of land bordering the railway tracks, Hillside Road, King Edward Street and Cargill's Corner itself. (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Southern viewsSt Clair - the seaside suburb for the city's wealthy was clean, its houses expensive and its residents refined. Although many of Dunedin's citizens came to the beach to paddle or promenade along the Esplanade, few but the wealthy could afford to live there. Forbury Road was one of Dunedin's most fashionable addresses with substantial homes lining its north-facing hillside. This 1938 photograph shows the 'gentleman's residences' scattered throughout the streets behind the Esplanade (centre). (Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

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