A German Field Gun, A Rousing Public Speech And The Dowling Street Steps.

View From The Dowling Street Steps – Buy 

Leaving Burlington Street, I headed along Moray Place before turning left into Princes Street and shortly thereafter I came to Dowling Street. To my left, the street quickly headed down hill to more or less where I had just come from, whereas on my right, I found the Dowling Street steps which gave access to the streets on the hill above. This was to be my next stop on my unplanned, self guided tour of the inner city.

I remember once reading a description of the Dowling Street steps that said ‘the area can attract less desirable attention at night.’ This is code for; if you want to get wasted on cheap liquor in the chilly Dunedin night air, this is the place to be. During the day, it’s a wonderful spot to look into the backyards of buildings along Princes Street. It also provides a view of the tops of people’s heads as they stroll purposefully to meetings, appointments and other places of importance. 

My main reason for waiting to visit these steps was to see the spot where a disarmed World War 1 field gun once stood. It was placed there after the steps were built in 1927 and stayed in place until World War II. Then, people started to fear that the gun might attract the attention of the Japanese Military on a bombing raid so it was taken down in 1943. 

Back in 1927 when the original steps were built to provide a pedestrian thoroughfare, they were also used as an outdoor arena for public addresses. After all, there really is nothing better when you’re giving a rousing public speech than having a WW1 German field gun as a visual aid!

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