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Photograph of Seddonville, taken in 2009
Seddonville in 2009
Seddonville is located in West Coast
Coordinates: 41°33′6″S 171°59′24″E / 41.55167°S 171.99000°E / -41.55167; 171.99000Coordinates: 41°33′6″S 171°59′24″E / 41.55167°S 171.99000°E / -41.55167; 171.99000
CountryNew Zealand
RegionWest Coast
DistrictBuller District
Historical Seddonville (time ca early 20th century)

Seddonville is a lightly populated locality[1] on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. It is most famous for the historical role it played in New Zealand's coal mining industry.


Seddonville is in the isolated north of the West Coast in the foothills of the Glasgow Range, on the southern bank of the Mokihinui River. To the west are Summerlea and Mokihinui on the coast of the Tasman Sea, and to the north is Corbyvale on the road to Karamea. State Highway 67 ends just before reaching Seddonville.

A rare mollusc, the Powelliphanta lignaria rotella, is found only in the Seddonville area. It is considered nationally endangered.[2]


Seddonville was named after Prime Minister of New Zealand Richard Seddon. It was established in the late 19th century as a mining community after the discovery of significant coal reserves in the area. On 23 February 1895, the last section of the Seddonville Branch railway from Westport was opened from Mokihinui to Seddonville and included an extension to the Mokihinui Coal Company's mine. Passengers were catered for by mixed trains; after 12 June 1933, they ceased to carry passengers past Seddonville, and on 14 October 1946 they were cancelled. Coal was the predominant traffic, especially after the late 1930s when increasingly developed roads allowed most other freight to be carried by road. In 1974, the Mokihinui Coal Company's mine closed, as did the railway beyond Seddonville. Coal from other mines provided some freight for the rest of the decade, but mining production was in decline and demand had dropped, and by 1980 the maintenance cost was well in excess of revenue. The railway closed beyond Ngakawau on 3 May 1981.[3]

Modern age[edit]

Seddonville is now a small rural village. It provides access to the Mokihinui back country and fishing, tramping, and whitewater rafting attract visitors.[4] The gates to Seddonville Domain form a small war memorial, commemorating 18 men from Seddonville: 13 in World War I and five in World War II.[5] Seddonville houses a library which was named in memory of local MP and first leader of the Labour Party, Harry Holland.[6]

Part of the route of the railway is preserved as the Chasm Creek Walkway. On the approach to Seddonville, it follows the formation of the line, passes through a tunnel and over two railway bridges. The platform of Seddonville railway station is still extant in the village.[7]


  1. ^ "Place name detail: Seddonville". New Zealand Gazetteer. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  2. ^ Department of Conservation, New Zealand Threat Classification System lists – 2002 – Terrestrial invertebrate – part one Archived 15 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine., accessed 23 June 2007.
  3. ^ David Leitch and Brian Scott, Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways, rev. ed. (Wellington: Grantham House, 1998), 52–3.
  4. ^ Tourism West Coast, "Mokihinui / Seddonville", accessed 23 June 2007.
  5. ^ Simon Nathan, "Seddonville War Memorial", accessed 23 June 2007.
  6. ^ "Harry Holland memorial library". Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  7. ^ Leitch and Scott, Exploring New Zealand's Ghost Railways, 53-4.

External links[edit]