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Bannockburn, New Zealand facts for kids

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Country New Zealand
Region Otago
Territorial authority Central Otago District
Ward Cromwell Ward
 • Total 16.91 km2 (6.53 sq mi)
 (2018 census)
 • Total 477
 • Density 28.21/km2 (73.06/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+13 (NZDT)
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu

Bannockburn is a small historic gold mining town located outside of Cromwell in Central Otago, New Zealand.

The area was first made known as a rich alluvial gold field and was mined extensively in the 1860s.

Its uniquely warm, dry climate earned it the name 'The heart of the desert', as climatic conditions and human activity have combined to strip the area of most of the original native vegetation leaving rocks, sands and soils exposed. Today, these climate conditions make Bannockburn the home of many vineyards and stonefruit orchards.

Vineyard landscapes sluicings 027
Gold sluicing in Bannockburn


The plans for the settlement began in 1862, as a result of miners being forced upstream from rising water levels in the Clutha and Kawarau Rivers. Though the area was settled around this period, the population was not stationary. As miners followed gold up the creeks, the settlements tended to follow, and by 1868 the original settlement had been strung out along what is now the Bannockburn-Nevis road. As miners swept over the area, from 1862-1871 the face of the landscape underwent drastic changes as the alluvial flat was washed away by sluicing operations to the foreboding landscape that exists today. Water during this period was a pivotal resource, not just for mining but to supply the town as well. Evidence of the complex water system that once existed is spread throughout the landscape. Multiple dams, (technically reservoirs) feed a water system that extends from high on the nearby Carrick range down to the abandoned sluicing sites. Tippet's Dam was one of, if not the largest of these reservoirs. The water has since been redirected for horticultural and viticultural use and the sluicings rest dormant on land belonging to the Department of Conservation.

Panorama of the historic Bannockburn gold diggings near Cromwell.


Bannockburn is described by Statistics New Zealand as a rural settlement. It covers 16.91 km2 (6.53 sq mi) and is part of the larger Lindis-Nevis Valleys statistical area.

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
2006 315 —    
2013 378 +2.64%
2018 477 +4.76%

Bannockburn had a population of 477 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 99 people (26.2%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 162 people (51.4%) since the 2006 census. There were 183 households. There were 246 males and 234 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.05 males per female, with 57 people (11.9%) aged under 15 years, 63 (13.2%) aged 15 to 29, 240 (50.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 117 (24.5%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 94.3% European/Pākehā, 5.0% Māori, 0.6% Pacific peoples, 3.1% Asian, and 1.9% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 59.7% had no religion, 26.4% were Christian and 4.4% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 99 (23.6%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 60 (14.3%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 234 (55.7%) people were employed full-time, 75 (17.9%) were part-time, and 6 (1.4%) were unemployed.

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