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Edendale, New Zealand facts for kids

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Edendale is a town in the Southland region of New Zealand's South Island. According to the 2013 New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings, it had a population of 555 (comprising 285 males and 267 females), representing a rise of 42 people since the 2006 census. Before the town was called Edendale, it was known by the names Maorirua, Mataura Plains and Stuart's Bush.

State Highway 1 passes through Edendale as it runs between Dacre and Mataura, and the township is situated on the Southland Plains just to the west of the Mataura River. The Main South Line portion of the South Island Main Trunk Railway passes through Edendale, having served the town since April 1875. Although passenger services through the town ceased on 10 February 2002, Edendale had been served by some of New Zealand's premier passenger trains - first the South Express, then the South Island Limited, and finally the Southerner.

Edendale was also a railway junction for almost eighty years. On 2 October 1882, a branch line from the South Island Main Trunk, the Wyndham Branch, was opened from Edendale to Wyndham on the opposite side of the Mataura River. On 1 May 1890, this line was extended to Glenham. Traffic was light from the beginning, with the extension to Glenham closed on 14 July 1930 and passenger services to Edendale - originally provided by mixed trains and then by RM class Model T Ford railcars - were cancelled on 9 February 1931. By the late 1950s, the line to Wyndham was essentially just an extension of the Edendale railway yard and insufficient quantities of freight meant that the line was closed just weeks before its eightieth anniversary and Edendale ceased to be a railway junction on 9 September 1962.

Edendale has a milk processing plant operated by Fonterra which was originally operated by the Southland Dairy Co-operative. The Edendale milk processing plant was a cheese processing plant but in the 1990s expanded to include milk powder processing. The plant has been expanded several times since and was in 2009 the largest raw milk processing plant in the world.

Edendale as seen from a distance, the Fonterra dairy factory prominent
Edendale as seen from a distance, the Fonterra dairy factory prominent.

Edendale was originally an estate of the New Zealand and Australian Land Company, who surveyed the township and sold it in lots. The estate contained over 120,000 acres. In the course of years the company sold 80,000 acres to hundreds of farmers. The homestead of the Edendale estate was bought in 1902 by its former manager, Mr Donald Macdonald. Macdonald was instrumental in advocating the use of lime on the soils of Southland which vastly improved their quality. The Edendale Homestead is a Category I building listed by the Historic Places Trust. Built circa 1882, the attractive homestead is approach by a mile long drive through a beautiful and mature avenue of native trees, such as totara, black and white kahikatea and matai. Descendants of Mr Macdonald continue to own the property.

In the main centre of Edendale, there are several small businesses and operations. These include a butcher, a dairy, a garage, a post office and a primary school. Edendale Primary School is a semi-rural school with students from year 0 through to year 6 whose population has thrived through the expansion of the milk processing plant, with a current roll of about 120 students.

Coordinates: 46°19′S 168°47′E / 46.317°S 168.783°E / -46.317; 168.783

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