Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

About us


Entrance to Caroline Freeman College
Designed by iconic architecture firm Mason and Wales, Caroline Freeman College was originally named City College when it opened in 2000.

Caroline Freeman College is the latest addition to the University’s portfolio of colleges and is named in honour of the University’s first female graduate and a passionate pioneer in education. We share her values. At Caroline Freeman College, residents experience a world of diversity with students studying degrees in all subjects at Otago – arts, commerce, health science, law, science and teaching. Caroline Freeman College allows students to thrive.

Caroline Freeman College has a growing and deserved reputation for being amazingly diverse, inclusive and supportive of everyone who lives here. We have a fantastic balance of academics and social activities and our events calendar is full of activities both traditional and quirky designed to appeal to all. Our residents love being part of such an engaged community. They are proud to be “Caroline Freemanites”!

Caroline Freeman College offers you a perfect stepping-stone into your first year away from home with all the benefits of college life – from meals to structured academic support. Learn, network and engage with others during an immensely fun and memorable first year of tertiary education.

CFC is spread across two adjacent sites, West and East. All of our residents move freely between both sites and enjoy friendships and facilities at both West and East. Caroline Freeman College West has 214 single bedrooms spread across 38 spacious and stylish apartments. Each apartment comprises four, five or six bedrooms; a large lounge, kitchenette and individual-use bathrooms.

CFC-East has 85 residents housed in a unique room mixture of two and three-bedroom “pods”, individual en-suite bedrooms and shared en-suite bedrooms.

West has a fantastic array of central student areas including our bright and open dining room with outside seating area, the trendy café, games room, the Attic lounge, a fantastic well-equipped library, the art and music room and tutorial rooms. The college also has a small fitness centre. Extensive garden and courtyard space gives the college a great indoor-outdoor flow. The ever-popular Ford sports court provides opportunities for volleyball, basketball, netball and other court-based sports.

East has exceptional outdoor spaces, the Rata Lounge and Dining Room, a sports court and extensive lounges and common spaces spread across the complex.

Rooms and facilities at Caroline Freeman College

Read the Caroline Freeman College Member Handbook (PDF)

^ Top of page

Our supportive environment

Caroline Freeman College provides extensive support to all our residents to give you the best residential college experience possible. We recognise the importance of your academic success but also that academics must be balanced with social, cultural and sporting activities and events.

The senior management team and sub-warden team are dedicated to the provisional of pastoral care in conjunction with other Otago support agencies.

Meet our team at Caroline Freeman College

Students outside Caroline Freeman College
Caroline Freeman College is the ideal size for a great first-year residential college experience.

^ Top of page

Our great location

Caroline Freeman College has the benefit of being a short, flat walk from the University, the North-East Valley village and supermarket, the North Ground and Logan Park sportsgrounds, the George Street shopping precinct and Dunedin's student-focused hospitality industry. We are across the road from the Botanic Gardens which are the inspiration for our college courtyard gardens.

View our location map

Location Walking time
University campus (main entrance) 5 mins
Subway, Mobil Shop, BP 2go 1 min
Dunedin Botanic Garden 3 mins
Marsh Study Centre 3 mins
North Ground (park and rugby ground) 3 mins
Domino's, KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut 3 mins
Bus stop (for bus to St Clair Beach) 3 mins
North East Valley village, New World supermarket 6 mins
Science Library 6 mins
Otago Museum 8 mins
OUSA (Otago University Students' Association), Student Union Complex
8 mins
Central Library
9 mins
Student Health
9 mins
24-hour Night 'n Day convenience store 9 mins
Logan Park (athletics, cricket, hockey, rugby, soccer, tennis, touch) 12 mins
Otago Polytechnic 12 mins
Forsyth Barr Stadium 18 mins
Unipol student gym and recreation centre
18 mins
Meridian Mall, Golden Centre Mall, Wall Street Mall 20 mins
The Octagon (art gallery, bars, cafes, cinemas, public library, theatres, town hall) 25 mins
OUSA Aquatic Centre (Otago University Rowing Club)
25 mins
Baldwin Street (the world's steepest street) 25 mins

Caroline Freeman students 2020

^ Top of page

About Caroline Freeman

Caroline Freeman – the University of Otago's first female graduate.

Caroline Freeman was born to an English farming family near Halifax, England, and emigrated to Otago as a child in 1858.

Her family farmed at Abbotsford in Dunedin. Caroline attended Green Island School, where she was Dux in 1866. She later served as the single-room rural school's first pupil teacher, from 1868 to 1872.

She had no secondary education but kept studying and became infant mistress at Caversham School in 1872. Encouraged by the principal, she studied for the matriculation exam to gain admission to the University of Otago.

At Otago, she walked over 10 km home to Green Island after lectures each day, while also supporting herself by teaching – although eventually, poor health forced her to take rooms in Dunedin.

She persevered and after seven years graduated with a BA in Classics, English and Latin.

When she walked on stage to graduate from University, her fellow students clapped, cheered, threw bouquets and burst into song. Otago Medical School's Dr William Brown then spoke about higher education for women.

Education was Caroline's passion and she founded Girton College here in Dunedin, soon to be followed by a Girton College in Christchurch. Girton College Dunedin was later renamed Columba College which still exists today as a leading high school in Otago.

Caroline died of a heart attack at her home in Christchurch in 1914. Her pupils erected a tombstone to "The beloved teacher and guide of many of New Zealand's girls".

^ Top of page