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Dunedin's Buried History

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Simon McDonald (1836-1907)

Simon McDonald was an influential early citizen of north Dunedin. He was born in Inverness, Scotland, the son of Donald McDonald, a bridgebuilder, and Elizabeth, née Ferguson, and went to primary school there. After coming to Dunedin in 1862 he worked as a wheelwright and blacksmith, setting up his own business in front of his house at the north end of Great King Street. On 8th August 1862, Simon McDonald married Mary Sinclair in Dunedin. They went on to have a family of nine children.

Simon took a keen interest in the Acclimatisation Society, working particularly to make the Water of Leith suitable for anglers. He was also active in other organisations, such as the Caledonian Society, Burns Club and Gaelic Society. A fellow member of the Gaelic Society, Thomas Mackenzie, said after Simon McDonald died on 26th December 1907 that the association of such a 'kindly' and 'generous' Celt with the society had 'justified its existence'. Simon McDonald was held in such respect that his support for a candidate was said to affect voting in the Leith area.

Simon McDonald was buried here in the Northern Cemetery with great ceremony on 29th December 1907.

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