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In the 1870s Dunedin entrepreneur and politician, John Cargill, gave instructions for a tunnel to be carved through a sandstone cliff so that his family could have access to a beach near his home. It is rumoured he gave it to his daughters as a birthday present. The tunnel provided them with private access to the beach and prevented 'exposure' at the public St Clair Beach nearby.
The beach was used frequently at low tide by the families of John and Edward Cargill, both were the sons of Captain William Cargill, the driving force and inspiration behind the settlement of Otago in 1848.
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