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Biography: Dave Trevathen All Black
Biography: The Cavanaghs
Oral History: Games

Community: Good Times

Although times were tough for the citizens of South Dunedin during the study period, numerous community events such as Royal Visits and representative rugby fixtures provided rallying points for local and provincial pride. In addition, families got on with life celebrating and relaxing when they were able to through a wide range of activities.

Royal VisitOf the four royal visits between 1890 and 1940, that of the Prince of Wales in May 1920 perhaps had the most impact on the southern suburbs. Southern Dunedin was awash with Imperial fervor as citizens they turned out for a public reception and a returned soldiers' function at the Kensington Drill Hall, a children's demonstration at Tahuna Park, a military review at Forbury Park (shown here) and a rugby football match at Carisbrook. (Otago Witness, 25 May 1920, Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Carisbrook CrowdBetween the two world wars one of New Zealand's keenest rugby rivalries was between Otago and Southland. Up to 30,000 people crowded into Carisbrook to watch these provincial matches, which became mass celebrations of provincial identity and pride. Afterwards the final whistle rugby fans spilled out into the streets and the heroes of the playing field, men like Charlie Saxton and Dave Trevathan, became household names. Otago rugby's golden era came after the Second World War when, coached by 'Young Vic' Cavanagh, it was a regular holder of the Ranfurly Shield, the symbol of New Zealand provincial rugby supremacy. International Rubgy also brought huge crowds to Carisbrook as this photograph illustrates. (Otago Witness, 1 August 1930, Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

Hills picnicSummer picnics were popular outings for the people of southern Dunedin. Discounted train services on major holidays made it easy for families to enjoy day trips away from town. Businesses, lodges and church groups also organised annual outings. Large groups walked south to Brighton together on these annual jaunts and enjoyed each other's company with picnics, races and a day in the sun. Here Hillside workers and their families enjoy a day relaxing in the sun. (Otago Witness, 3 April 1901, Otago Settlers Museum Collection)

The biggest annual event in Dunedin was the Caledonian Games which celebrated 'Hogmannay' (New Year's Day) in style. Women danced the Highland Fling while men tossed the caber, threw the hammer, wrestled and raced each other around the track. The event's Scottish origins proved no barrier to the South Dunedin's generally non-Scottish population. The whole family could attend and huge crowds gathered, feasting and dancing through the day. (Engraving depicting New Year's activities throughout Dunedin in the late 1880s. Hargreaves and Hearn, Colonial New Zealand: Engravings of the Victorian Period, Auckland 1998)

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