The Legacy of the Free Church Abroad

On 18 May 1843 a large number of clergy withdrew from the established Church of Scotland – an event that became known as the Disruption of 1843, and led to the foundation of the Free Church of Scotland. The history of the Free Church is intrinsically connected with many a Scottish venture and settlement abroad, but perhaps nowhere more so than with the establishment of Dunedin, Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand. This is the case because Dunedin was organised under the New Zealand Company’s offshoot, the Otago Association, as a Free Church Settlement in 1848, thus bringing a large number of Free Church settlers to the country to build a ‘new Edinburgh’ in the South Seas. Here, and as a direct result of the 1843 Disruption, Scottish …

Burns Night in New Zealand

burnsdinnerdunWhen members of the Dunedin Burns Club and its friends gathered in 1906 to celebrate the 147th birthday of Scotland’s national bard, they did so ‘with mirth and song and joyous acclamations’. The Club’s choir and the Dunedin Pipe Band enlivened the proceedings, offering musical entertainment between the many toasts and speeches that were delivered. The key address of the evening was made by Sir Robert Stout. Born in Lerwick, Shetland, in 1844, Stout left for New Zealand in 1863, soon rising to become one of the country’s most prominent public figures, serving as Premier and Chief Justice. An ardent champion of his Scottish heritage, Stout was engaged with a number of Scottish associations, thereby maintaining strong links with his native Shetland and the Scottish mainland. He was keen for …