The Trust is a charitable trust set up under the Will of the late Mr Alexander McMillan. Mr McMillan was one of Dunedin’s true characters.  He joined N & E S Paterson Limited as the office boy in April 1900.  He rose to Registered Accountant by 1912 and in the following years bought shares in the company and became a Director.  Mr McMillan also took an interest in the share market and his investment portfolio grew over time.

Mr McMillan was a Councillor for the Maori Hill Borough Council in 1913 and a City representative from 1913 to 1917.  He was also a member of a number of clubs and societies, a strong supporter of the Crippled Children’s Society, and derived a great deal of pleasure from the Dunedin Burns Club where he was Treasurer for 42 years.

Mr McMillan deplored outward shows of wealth and any form of extravagance was anathema.  He would go to great lengths to save a few pennies, yet was generous to those who needed a helping hand, always provided they were industrious and frugal.  He enjoyed projecting the image of a tough and ruthless businessman but was generous to organisations with which he was associated, and did a great deal of good by stealth.  He went to great lengths to ensure that gifts, donations and even short term personal loans remained private.  His generosity was carefully hidden until after his death with only one exception.  In 1966 he paid for an upgrade of the area surrounding the Robert Burns statue in the Octagon and attended the opening, a rare venture into the limelight.

Apart from the Stock Exchange, Mr McMillan’s energies went primarily into real estate.  Before long, he was steeped in knowledge of the property market and, in the post-war housing shortage, helped many people into their own homes.  If he was satisfied that the would-be purchaser was of good character, money would always be found for a second or third mortgage at a reasonable rate of interest, often from his own funds.

Mr McMillan died on 8 July 1967.  His Will, after some personal bequests, left his estate to what is now known as the Alexander McMillan Trust.  He also left to the Dunedin City Council a section bounded by Highgate, Lynn Street and McMillan Street.  He expressly stated that it was to be laid out as a children’s playground.  The playground remains there today.

Applications to the Trust commenced in 1971.  Since then virtually every corner of Otago has derived benefit from the Trust.  There have been large grants to the University of Otago, Ross Home, the Edgar Sports Centre, the Scanner Appeal, the Otago Peninsula Trust, the Dunedin Art Gallery and many more.  The Trust has also made many smaller grants to schools, kindergartens, playcentres, pipe bands, swimming pools, churches and social agencies.  In 1988 the Trust had no difficulty in making a grant which would have gladdened Mr McMillan’s heart.  It gave the DCC a grant to expand the paved area around the Burns Statue in the Octagon.

The Trustees are the Mayor of the City of Dunedin, the Vice-Chancellor of the Otago University, the Dean of the Otago Medical School, a representative from the religious community, and Mr A J Anderson, a partner with Gallaway Cook Allan.

The object of the Trust is to provide funds for religious, educational and charitable purposes within Otago. The Trustees welcome applications from the wider provincial area as well as the City of Dunedin.

As a matter of policy, the Trustees prefer to assist with capital projects rather than recurring or administrative expenditure.





The Trustees will consider applications for playgrounds (provided that they are able to be used by the wider community). You may apply for:


The Trustees will consider applications for the upgrade of school and community halls.

The Trustees will take into account the level of community use of the hall.

The Trustees will not consider applications for halls which are not available for community use.


The Trustees will consider applications for library books up to $2,000. Library equipment will not be funded.


The Trustees will consider applications for motor vehicles for up to half the cost of the vehicle on the following basis:

  1. The annual business related usage needs to be high enough to make ownership the most economical option, versus rental, taxis, reimbursing members use of private vehicles, leasing,ect.
  2. There should be evidence that the applicants projected income could cash fund depreciation so that a vehicle replacement reserve could be built up.
  3. The vehicle must be used in direct connction with service delivery, eg: transporting clients rather than for core administrative purposes, eg: an administrators car.
  4. The applicant needs to demonstrate that the running cost of the vehicle can be met from internal sources.
  5. Ownership of the vehicle must be registered in the name of the applicant orginisation.


Applications in the form of a letter should be forwarded to:

The Trustees
Alexander McMillan Trust
Gallaway Cook Allan Lawyers
PO Box 143
Dunedin 9054

Each application must consist of:

  1. Three copies of:
  2. One copy of your financial statements, reports, plans, etc.

The Trustees meet four times a year (in March, June, September and December) to consider applicants for grants. Applications must be received by us by the 15th of the previous month – making the close off dates 15 February, 15 May, 15 August and 15 November.



There is a stand-down period for three years between grants. Please do not apply if you have received a grant within the last three years. 


If you require any further information, please contact Linda Van Turnhout of Gallaway Cook Allan Lawyers, Dunedin, by any of the following means:

Post: P O Box 143
Telephone: (03) 477 7312
Facsimile: (03) 477 5564