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Overview: Background

In the mid 1970s academic historians at the University of Otago began an intensive study of the Caversham area of southern Dunedin in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Later the study was extended to cover a wider area of southern Dunedin. This study pioneered the use of micro analysis of an urban community in New Zealand historical research. Their work led to a number of publications and numerous conference presentations. Virtually all of these fruits of the research project, however, have been directed at academic audiences. Little of this work has been accessible to teachers, students or the general public.

In May 2002 the Otago Settlers Museum, in association with the University, mounted an exhibition 'The Birth of Modern Times: Dunedin's Southern Suburbs 1890 - 1940'. It proved to be an outstanding success with approximately 10,000 visitors viewing the display over the three months it was open.

This digital exhibition draws on that material but also adds more detail from the extensive resources collected by the University over thirty years including oral history transcripts, information on local identities and businesses and maps drawn using historical applications of geographic information software (GIS).

In addition, a section for school teachers indicates where this material can be integrated into the Social Sciences curricula and gives suggestions on how it might be used with pupils.


St Clair Gentleman's Residences' View of St Clair Hillside
A recent view of Caversham. The Baptist Church is below centre left with the Caversham School adjacent. (Caversham Project Archives) Overlooking Forbury to the expansive Hillside Workshops site (top right) with Carisbrook to its left. (Caversham Project Archives) The Mayfair Theatre, situated on the city centre side of Cargill's Corner, was originally known as the King Edward Picture Theatre. (Caversham Project Archives) The building which once housed Mc Cracken's Store still standing in Caversham's main Road. (Caversham Project Archives)

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Site last updated 25/07/03
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