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John McLennan (c.1826-1906)

John McLennan was born in Scotland c.1826 and emigrated to Australia on the Ben Nevis in 1853. After marrying Mary Cameron in Victoria, Australia, in 1856 he was attracted to Otago by the goldfields but, being unsuccessful, he returned to Victoria.

Making a second trip to Otago on the Empress of the Seas in the mid 1860s, McLennan and his family lived in a tent in the Town Belt upon their arrival, later purchasing a block of land in Maori Hill. The 1874/1875 Roslyn Electoral Roll indicates that McLennan owned five sections and a house in Maori Hill. This land was centered on what is now Brownville Crescent where McLennan lived, and included the land on Highgate between Brownville Crescent and Spylaw Street. Subdivided in 1875 and 1876 this land became McLennan Township.

John McLennan was one of the founding members of the Dunedin Gaelic Society. He took a keen interest in local matters but, according to his obituary, did not seek election or prominence in any way, having a retiring disposition.

The McLennans had a family of seven children, all of whom, except one, built their homes in close proximity to their parents.

John McLennan died at Maori Hill on 30 August 1906.

Reference: Above the Belt: a History of the suburb of Maori Hill by Jane Smallfield and Brian Heenan (for the Maori Hill Charitable Trust), Otago Uni Print 2006.

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