School History

The original Grant’s Braes was a house that once stood on the Lennoxlove Estate near Haddington in East Lothian, Scotland. It was the house which was used for the factor (or farm manager), and in 1804, Gilbert Burns came to live there to be factor to Lady Blantyre of Lennoxlove. He brought his younger children with him, but his three eldest (one of whom was later the Rev. Thomas Burns) stayed with an uncle in Ayrshire for several years before coming to live at Grant’s Braes with the rest of the family.

The Rev. Thomas Burns came to Dunedin in March 1848. In December of the same year he bought land around what is now known as Waverley Bay, and built a small stone cottage down by the beach. He called this house Grant’s Braes after his father’s house in Scotland. He lived most of the time at the Manse in Dunedin, but used this other house for holidays and later his son Arthur Burns (after whom Arthur’s Walk is named) farmed 130 acres around the Bay, Burn’s Point, and up on the hill. The house in the Bay was later pulled down (and the Waverley Hotel was built on the site).

The same name of Grant’s Braes was transferred to a new two-storied stone house built where Braeburn Street is now, on a part of the family farm. Through the years much of the farm land was sold until only the house was left with a small farm around it - still known as Grant’s Braes. The house later became the first Presbyterian orphanage in Dunedin and was renamed Nisbet House. It was finally demolished and another two-storied house built in its place - this latest house still stands, in Braeburn Street.

The name Waverley originally applied only to the general area on which St Joseph’s Home, St Nicholas’ church, and the school now stand (but not the land farmed by St Joseph’s which was in another area called Ivanhoe). The name Grant’s Braes referred on to the area around Braeburn Street, and thus the church in Larnach Road, has the best geographical right to use the old name.