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Professor John (Old John) Shand
C.M.G., LL.D., M.A.
1834 - 1914

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Early in 2011, I came across an entry in a New Zealand newspaper at the National Library of New Zealand’s Papers Past website that took my attention because of the combination of the surname SHAND and the place-name ELGIN.

From the Evening Post of 30th November 1914 (page 8), I learnt of the death of John Shand, M.A., LL.D., professor of Natural Philosophy at Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand.

John Shand, 1834-1914

The obituary told me that John Shand was, born at Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland, 82 years ago, and had been appointed to the Chair of Mathematics and Natural Philosohpy in 1870.

I have a keen interest in the family name Shand. My father’s mother’s maiden name, after all, was Shand.

For some time, I’ve been gathering details on that extended family and was surprised I hadn’t come across this John Shand before; especially since his father’s family was from the parish of Drainie, Morayshire, where my Shand ancestors also come from.

What was even more surprising was that I could find no references to this John Shand locally at Elgin Heritage Centre; John was not known there.

I decided I would put that right; what follows is my brief summary of John Shand’s life, his journey from Elgin, Scotland to Dunedin, New Zealand at the time of the great expansion of the British Empire in mid-Victorian times.

Elgin, Scotland
57º 38´ N, 3º 18´ W
Dunedin, New Zealand
45º 52´ S, 170º 30´ E


Acknowledgements are due to Stuart Farrell, Graeme Wilson and Bruce Bishop for taking the time to read my draft version, checking my work and making apt suggestions for changes both to content and presentation.


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