Deacons Court was originally built for the Presbyterian Church as the manse for the St Andrews Church in Carroll Street. Today it is still an impressive building, with lovely views of the city and the harbour. This section of High Street is an Historic Precinct and Deacons Court is listed on the City's historic building register.
In 1840's, the Free Church movement of Scotland was looking for a new beginning. As a result, Scottish migrants established a town here in 1848, giving it the ancient Gaelic name of Edinburgh, namely, Dunedin.
Thirteen years on, gold was discovered about 120 km inland near Lawrence, and the small settlement of Dunedin became the commercial centre of the nation.
From this gold rush and its associated wealth sprang an array of wonderful architecture. Dunedin now has a rightly deserved reputation as one of the best preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere.
Deacons Court is part of this heritage, a Victorian building built in 1891. It was originally built as the manse for St Andrews church on the corner of Melville and Carroll Streets. Its origins are recorded in the Church minutes:
‘The need for a new manse in order that our Minister might have more satisfactory accommodation was dealt with in the same year – 1891. A site in High Street was secured for which £552 was paid, and the new Manse was erected at a cost of £1,708 for site and buildings.’
The new minister was appointed, Rev. Rutherford Waddell, then a young minister from Scotland.