Burial register ID: 5172
First name: WILLIAM
Middle names:
Gender: Male
Age: 60 Years
Cause of death: Unknown
Burial type:
Date of death: 01-Jul-1888
Date of burial: 04-Jul-1888

Block: 191
Plot: 39

Bio contributor: Jeni Simpson

William Adam Strachan 1827-1888

William Strachan was born on 12 January 1827, came to Dunedin in 1857 after spending some years in Australia, and went into business as a brewer. He married Eliza Kidd on 15 August 1859, at Captain William Thomson’s home in Port Chalmers. William died of diabetes on 1 July 1888.


For many years occupying a leading public position in mercantile circles, it would be out of the regular run to allow the decease of Mr Strachan to pass without a short record of his history. A native of Aberdeen, where he learned the trade of a brassfounder, he left his native country in a ship commanded by Captain Thomson, our late harbourmaster and arrived in Victoria in 1850. Taking a part in whatever turned up, he joined the goldfields in that colony and made some money, which was afterwards lost in business in Melbourne. His old friend Captain Thomson, however, induced him to come across to Otago, where they both arrived on the Brig Thomas and Henry. Mr Strachan started business as a brewer at Sawyers Bay, having previous to this, obtained an “inklin” into the trade at the suggestion of his old friend in Melbourne. The rapid development of trade, combined with other inducements, caused Mr Strachan to come to Dunedin with his business at the end of 1860, his new friend, Mr Beverly then in business as a watchmaker giving him the necessary assistance to make a start in Pitt Street with the Victoria Brewery, where the business has since been carried on with steady improvement until the present day. Mr Strachan, as a man of business was thoroughly reliable, unassuming in his manner, but sterling in principle. True to his promises, often at great sacrifice to himself, he attained and maintained a position gaining respect and esteem, not alone, of those he came into contact, but, of the public generally. His loss, at a comparatively early age, is felt keenly by his widow and family, and the community will miss one of the straightforward, honest citizens to whom was its wont to look with special regard. Mr Strachan’s attention was not devoted altogether to his own business, but he took a lively interest, although very modestly, in church affairs and the plant growers of olden days will remember well the efforts he made to introduce something new, as well as improve what was already being cultivated.

Otago Daily Times, 11 July 1888

The Victoria Brewery in Pitt Street

The land and buildings of the Victoria Brewery had been mortgaged to the National Bank of New Zealand in February 1900, and in August 1907 the bank offered the brewery to Speight’s who, at first, declined the offer. Negotiations continued with no likelihood of a settlement, for Speight’s could not see what advantage the Victoria might be to them.

Suddenly, things changed dramatically. While Charles Greenslade was on a trip to Christchurch, he learned that a syndicate was being formed to purchase the brewery direct from the bank, that it intended to float a company, and planned to dispose of as many shares as possible among the untied hotels. Alarmed by this, Greenslade immediately resumed negotiations and a deal was struck at £5500 for buildings and land, the stock taken at valuation. Possession date was to be 27 March 1908.

The new owners did not publicly announce their purchase, mainly to avoid providing fuel for the prohibition movement’s argument against beer monopolies. Their aim was to continue operating Wm Strachan and Co and its brewery as a private partnership, which they did for the next three years, until 19 May 1911, retailing the production under the name of Strachan and the other existing brands. They then formed a limited company still known as Wm Strachan, the three Speight’s partners having 3200 shares each, and R.W. Greenslade and R. Dawson 150 each. In 1912 the Victoria’s brewing operation were moved to the premises of the former Red Lion Brewery in Great King Street, the names of Victoria Brewery and its various brands being retained. The former premises in Pitt Street were demolished in 1918, but the remains of the well still exist in the basement of 18 Pitt Street.

— from Breweries of Dunedin

— Other burials recorded at this site:
Elizabeth STRACHAN d. 1919 (wife of William).

There are 3 Interments in this grave:

Surname First names Age Date of death Date of burial
RUSH MARY H 39 Years 07-Dec-1916 10-Dec-1916
STRACHAN ELIZABETH 81 Years 02-May-1919 05-May-1919
STRACHAN WILLIAM 60 Years 01-Jul-1888 04-Jul-1888