The Dunedin Choral Society has its origins in a choir that sang for a performance of Handel's Messiah by the Dunedin Philharmonic Society in 1863. The name Dunedin Choral Society was adopted in 1871. In August 1947, when this photograph was taken, the the choir was known as the Schola Cantorum of Dunedin. By then substantial, it sang Mendelssohn's Elijah, with Warwick Braithwaite conducting. At this time the women did not wear a uniform, in contrast with the men, who all wore evening suits for performances.
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