Methven Heritage Trail

Discover Methven’s history and see some of its historic buildings on this two part walk around town.

Part one of the walk will take about 30min.


The starting point is the paved area outside the Medical Centre. Methven was built where the railway ended. Township life was punctuated by the shrill whistle of the twice daily approaching trains.


Some of what you will see:


The Railway Memorial – marks the end of the 35.6km Rakaia-Methven branch line. It operated for 96 years, the busiest period being the 1920’s to 1940’s. Construction began in 1878 and the line closed in 1976.


Methven Hotel 1915 – Known internationally as “The Blue Pub”. Robert Patton, founder of Methven, purchased this section in 1878 and operated the first hotel (1880). The hotel was used as a temporary hospital during the 1918 influenza epidemic.


Anglican Church 1879 (original part) – The present church was designed by Benjamin Mountfort. It replaced the original church on this site which was destroyed by a nor’west gale in 1884. This church, build by Sherwood near Rakaia, it took 6 weeks to make the journey to Methven being hauled by tow traction engines. The extension designed by Sir Miles Warren was completed in 1999 and the lych-gate dedicated in 2005.


Part two – will take about an hour.


Some of what you will see:


Former Post Office 1914 (The Last Post 2010) -  A fitting name for a restaurant that was the town’s post office, with a manual telephone exchange until 1975 and serving as a postal centre and savings bank until 1989.


Part two – will take about an hour.


Some of what you will see:


Former Post Office 1914 (The Last Post 2010) - A fitting name for a restaurant that was the town’s post office, with a manual telephone exchange until 1975 and serving as a postal centre and savings bank until 1989.


Memorial Arch 1930 – Marks the entrance to the Primary School. The structure is built of reinforced concrete and faced with imitation stone work. The two buff granite panels bear the names of the 69 young men who sacrificed their lives in World War I. Officially unveiled February 1930. The tablets below record the fallen of WWII. Wreaths are laid in remembrance every Anzac Day – April 25th.


Cemetery – In 1878 the Ashburton County Council granted £75 for a Methven cemetery and the area was surveyed the following year. The earliest identified plot is from 1885. The cemetery board was either closely connected to or operated under the Mt Hutt Road Board until 1939. “Coronation Gates” at the entrance were manufactured by Scott Bros of Christchurch and erected in 1911.


The heritage Trail map is available for free from the Methven i-SITE Visitor Centre. 160 Main Street, Methven. 03 302 8955.


 

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