1967: No more train stop at Awarua Radio

Railway line opposite the entrance to the Awarua Radio site

Railway line opposite the entrance to the Awarua Radio site, where trains used to stopped until 1967. Photo 2 Apr 2017: Alex Glennie

By Alex Glennie

There were three railway stations at Awarua.

The first, known as “Awarua Junction,” was west of Awarua Radio ZLB towards Greenhills, somewhere near the Awarua Siding Road off SH1 (the Invercargill-Bluff highway).

The second, known as “Awarua,” was roughly halfway between Awarua Junction and Awarua ZLB. There was no building, platform or shelter of any sort – just a name on a map.

The third was “Awarua North” and it was directly opposite the entrance of, and provided for the use of, Awarua Radio ZLB. The “station” opened on 23 June 1929, and was nothing more then a shelter; there was no platform. In fact, the shelter was owned by the NZ Post Office or, in earlier days, the Post and Telegraph Department.

In the 1940s and 50s, and much earlier in fact, passengers trains ran between Invercargill and Bluff several times a day. I travelled to Clifton school on the Bluff School train from 1954 to 1962. (See p 152 of A Scrapbook of History: Awarua Radio ZLB.)

The Invercargill-Bluff train at Clifton station in 1956

The Invercargill-Bluff train at Clifton station in 1956. Alex Glennie: A Scrapbook of History: Awarua Radio ZLB

I do not know much of the origins of this shelter but from my childhood memories, it might have been erected by the P&T around 1940 on account of the large increase in ZLB staff due to WW2.

I recall this building had a large number of names either carved into, written or otherwise etched all over the walls, and in this regard many dates from the 1940s spring to mind.

Awarua North closed on 1 Oct 1967 and the shelter was removed by the Post Office in 1968.

New Zealand Government Railways abandoned the stop at Awarua Radio in 1967

New Zealand Government Railways abandoned the stop at Awarua Radio in 1967. Courtesy Alex Glennie

The train shelter at Awarua Radio station was removed, according to this letter from station manager Ellie Ellenden

The train shelter at Awarua Radio station was removed by the NZ Post Office, according to this letter from station manager Ellie Ellenden. Courtesy Alex Glennie

Awarua Radio historian Alex Glennie grew up at Awarua Radio and is the author of A Scrapbook of History: Awarua Radio ZLB.