Dunedin takes its name from the old Gaelic word for Edinburgh. It was founded in 1848 by Scottish settlers. In 1861 when gold was discovered in Central Otago, Dunedin was New Zealand's main centre, and it is now a treasure trove of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. This includes buildings such as Larnach Castle, Olveston and Dunedin Railway Station to name a few. Dunedin lays claim to the worlds steepest street, Baldwin Street and the country's oldest university, The University of Otago founded in 1869. Dunedin is framed by a magnificent harbour. It sits on the doorstep of the Otago Peninsula, which has long been acclaimed for its wildlife, beauty and eco-tourism.
The impressive building which is now Hogwartz Backpackers was built by a Scottish wanderer called George Duncan in 1871. He called it Rockmount, and it was a home of such standing that it earned a passage in the Otago Daily Times of the day (August 31, 1871) under the heading City Improvements: “Among the handsome residences that now cover the piece of ground in Rattray Street opposite the high school (now Otago Girls High School), on which some months ago there was scarcely a cottage, the house of George Duncan cannot fail to attract attention… It is built in the Italian style of bluestone with brick facings cemented. The ground floor covers an area of 52ft by 65ft… a handsome balcony and veranda are erected over the Rattray Street entrance.”
Only a year after building Rockmount, George Duncan sold it to the Catholic Diocese for use as a bishop’s residence, which it remained until 1999 when it was sold for only the second time in nearly 130 years to its current owners.