No place like home? Five places called Dundee around the world

DUNDEE, Scotland is known for jute, jam and journalism – but its namesakes around the world are famed for a whole host of other things, including penguins, wine and railroads. By Alison Campsie

Dundee Island, Antarctica


Dundee Island is named after the Dundee Whaling Expedition of 1892, when four steam-powered whaling ships left the city looking for Bowhead whales.

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Word was out that Bowheads had been seen in the Weddell Sea, with Robert Finnes, an important Dundee whaler, leading the voyage at a time when business was facing bankruptcy.

Kwakunje Cultural Village, Dundee, South Africa

The four ships left on September 6 and arrived on Boxing Day. Not one whale was found and the crews only broke even by loading the ships up with seal pelts.

However, Captain Thomas Robertson, of the Active, discovered a frozen land mass on the voyage and later called it Dundee Island.


Cruises tend to skirt past Dundee Island, which is separated from the top of the Antarctic Peninsula by Iceberg Alley. Passing visitors may spot cormorants, Weddell seals, fur seals and a few moulting Adelie penguins – but they won’t be getting off the boat.

Dundee in Oregon is in the heart of vineyard country


South Africa’s Dundee got its name from Peter Smith, a farmer’s son from Angus who went on to create this coalmining boom town between Johannesburg and Durban.

Smith had bought Talana Farm from a Voortrekker settler, with part of the site known as Fort Jones where British soldiers fighting the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 had camped.

The land had long drawn people for its coal and in 1880, the first proper survey of the Natal coalfields was made.

Home of the Dundee Historical Society, Dundee, New York State

Smith founded The Dundee Coal and Estate Company and planned a town on the farmland to support his venture. It was named Dundee in 1882.

The first shots of the Boer War were fired at Talana, just outside the town, in 1899. Boer forces occupied the town for seven months, renaming it Meyersdorp.

Dundee reclaimed its name after the Battle of Helpmekaar in May 1900.

Dundee has a population of around 84,000 and is popular with tourists, where a musueum attests to the town’s foundations. (Battlefield tours of the area are especially popular.) There is also a bronze statue of Mahatma Ghandhi on the outskirts of the town. During the Boer war, he spent time in Dundee as a guest of a local family. He was tried in Dundee courthouse for civil disobedience and imprisoned in Dundee Jail. The main industry around Dundee is now agriculture, with cattle ranching the most lucrative local trade.

Just 200 people live in Dundee, New South Waless


William Reid, who left Scotland to build the Oregonian Railway Company, is the man behind Dundee in the US state of Oregon. Originally from Glasgow, his father was a railroad manager and former railroad builder. William was sent to St Andrews parish school and attended Glasgow University before joining a Dundee legal practice. He married in the city and it is said he met the widow of President Lincoln while in the city and was subsequently named US vice-consul at Dundee, a position he held between 1869 and 1874. During this spell he highlighted the potential for investment in Oregon and Washington, with Reid working with the Earl of Airlie to invest $1 million in property in the area.

Reid went on to set up the Oregon and Washington Mortgage Savings Bank of Portland before the Oregonian Railway Company was formed.


Dundee is now a relatively wealthy enclave of just 3,000 or so people with its economy driven by a burgeoning viticulture scene. It is very much on the food and drink map of the US with its back-to-back vineyards and top end restaurants. It is 26 miles south of Portland, the largest city in Oregon, known for its creative arts scene, music venues and craft beer haunts.


This village of just 1,600 people was named after Dundee in Angus, according to 1900s publication The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States.

The community was originally known as Plainview but its citizens began to consider a new name for the village around 1834. Apparently persuaded by a Scots immigrant, they called it Dundee.

It is known that the BR Ship Arkwright sailed from Dundee to New York, docking on October 31, 1831, with a number of merchants and farmers on board.


Around 260 miles from the Big Apple, the quaint village of Dundee sits in Finger Lakes district amid vineyards and farmland.

Its tree-canopied streets and antique shops are said to reflect “down-home” American traditions with nearby lakes of Keuka, Seneca, Waneta & Lamoka hailed for great fishing, boating and swimming.

Friday night races at Black Rock Speedway and Dundee Day’s “24 miles of yard sales” are part of the summer way in Dundee.


Originally called Dareel Plains, this 40,000 acres was sold to Major Archibald Clunes, from Caithness, who was to arrive in Australia as the captain of a convict ship and to become one of the richest - and most lavish - men in the colony.

He commanded the penal settlement at Port Macquarrie before becoming a police superintendent and magistrate, quickly expanding his property and building big across the new territory.

In 1844 he bought Dareel Plains, called in Dundee and built a mill. He also build the Golden Fleece hotel in 1847 - the first in the area.


Only 200 people or so no live in Dundee, New South Wales, with only the church and cemetery remaining of the original settlement. Glen Innes, the main town, is around 25 miles north. There on St Andrews Day each year at 5pm, they lower the Scottish flag to remember the area’s past.