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The History of Carrington College

Carrington College was established by a group of Dunedin stalwarts with strong links to the church and education, as a response to the increased demand for residential University accommodation at the end of World War 2. 

It was the very first co-educational student residence in Australasia and was officially opened in February 1945 for young men and twenty carefully selected young women. The name Carrington was chosen to acknowledge a key player in the establishment of the institution, George William Carrington - a local administrator, accountant, and educator.

The year of 1946 saw the move of the College from Stuart House at 638 Cumberland Street (now occupied by the University Union) to the present site. As we have evolved, new buildings have been added and named after notable Dunedinites. We now cater for 243 residents and about 220 of these students are in their first-year of University.

This article, written for the upcoming 150th Anniversary of the University of Otago, provides strong insight into our College's history.

Stuart Residence Halls Council

Stuart Residence Hall Council was formerly the governing council for both Arana and Carrington. It was established in 1945 as an incorporated body. Today it remains an advisory council for both Colleges. In 1949, the King of Arms, London, granted a coat of arms to the College Council. 

The University of Otago purchased Carrington Hall in 1992.

A wonderful account of the history of Carrington College and the Stuart Residence Halls Council is contained within the book 'A Triumph of Improvisation - The Stuart Residence Halls Council, Stuart House, Arana Hall, Carrington Hall 1941 - 1991' compiled by G.A. Macaulay and copies are available to read at the college.

The following are some excerpts from that book to give you an understanding of the history of our community.

On 11 December 1944 Mr Carrington reported to the Council that the Education Board had purchased the Halstead property in Heriot Row for 6,200 punds and that verbal agreement had been made for the Stuart House Council to manage the property on a basis similar to that obtaining at Arana Hall with the University, namely to act as agent, and pay for the rates and maintenance."

"Soon afterwards, through Cecil Wardell, the property of the late J.Wardell situated at 61 Heriot Row was purchased for 2,500 punds and the double unit house 'Walls' next to it came by auction for 1,450 pounds. Thus in quick succession, for 10,150 punds, had come accommodation for 60 students, and one and a half acres, sufficient for an extra wing for 40 or more."

"Mrs J.S. Thompson was appointed Matron, a cook and maid were engaged, and the Halsteads' gardener retained for a day a week to try to hold the excellent garden in order."

Our Coat of Arms

In 2006, when the University of Otago bought Carrington Hall and changed the name to Carrington College, a new crest was designed.

old and new crest large photo

Our Motto

The Latin motto of our coat of arms is “Neque sapientiae neque fidei immemores”, meaning “unmindful of neither wisdom nor faith”.

Below is an interpretation of our motto from one of our previous House Tutors.

We are reminded to be mindful of both wisdom and of faith. Wisdom may refer to the knowledge and critical thinking that underpins our purpose at the University of Otago where we “dare to be wise”. No matter where you hail from, we might interpret faith as a trust in the unknown. As we take our first steps alongside Te Korowai o Tane, a very special carving housed in the centre of our College, we ought not to let scepticism inhibit our ability to form new bonds, and so we have faith in those around us that they are good people. Mindful of wisdom and faith, we step into our waka together and pick up our oars. (Malcolm Jones, Dawson House Tutor, 2017).