Tinwald, New Zealand

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Tinwald is a town in Canterbury, New Zealand, now little more than a suburb of Ashburton. It lies to the south of the larger town, separated from it by the Ashburton River. The town was named after Tinwald Downs in Scotland, birthplace of early resident and owner of much of the land, Robert Wilkin.[1]

Prominent former citizens of Tinwald include William Massey, who was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925.

The Main South Line section of the South Island Main Trunk Railway runs through Tinwald, and from 1878 until 1968, the town acted as the junction for the Mount Somers Branch. The first 2.5 kilometres of the branch line at the Tinwald end are now preserved by The Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum, who regularly operate public open days. The Railway is particularly notable for K 88, a locomotive recovered in 19 and 20 January 1974 from where it was dumped in the Oreti River and returned to full operating condition in 1982. It still operates services on The Plains Railway today.

Tinwald has several shops spanning its main road including several cafés, a tavern, a supermarket and its own liquor store.


Tinwald began in 1873 when Robert Wilkin purchased 900 acres as a base for dealing in stock throughout the area. He named it Tinwald Downs after his Scottish birthplace


Tinwald School is a coeducational state contributing primary school (years 1-6). It has a decile rating of 6 and a roll of 220.[2] In 2004 the school celebrated its 125th anniversary.


  1. ^ Wises Publications Limited, Discover New Zealand - A Wises Guide, 9th edition, 1994, p 415.
  2. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Tinwald School

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Coordinates: 43°55′S 171°43′E / 43.917°S 171.717°E / -43.917; 171.717