An imaginative name when you look at it
Southland's shortest placename has a single letter. It is U Pass in Fiordland, named obviously for its shape. A two-letter place is visible from Southland. Io, one of Jupiter's four largest moons, and one of the hottest places in the solar system, can be observed with binoculars. Three-letter Southland placenames include Kew, a suburb of Invercargill and named after Kew in London, Gog, a peak on Stewart Island, and Cap which is a peak in the Hokonuis. Photo of U Pass courtesy of Barry Smith.
Southland's Hundred Line is so named because it marked the northern limit of Southland farmland, which was divided into hundreds - blocks capable of supporting one hundred people. North of the line the land was to be much more sparsely settled and used for vast sheep and cattle runs. The Hundred Line originates at Ship Cone in the Hokonui Hills and extends 68 kilometres west to the Otautau Stream at Scotts Gap.
Occasionally overseas visitors get it right. Mark Twain in Southland in 1896 was unexpectedly complimentary. He used the phrase "England of the South" to describe the landscape. "Brilliant blue sky, vast level green expanses snowed over with sheep. Fine to see. The green, deep and very vivid sometimes, at other times less so but delicate and lovely."
Southland's longest privately owned railway was the Waimea Plains Railway from Lumsden (formerly known as The Elbow) to Gore which opened on July 31, 1880. It was bought by the government in November 1886 in a deal that saved the necks of two speculating politicians: William Larnach and Sir Julius Vogel. "Gore to the Elbow" was a pun at the time about the troublesome railway, summarising both its geography and financial predicament.
The first Methodist minister in Invercargill was Reverend Isaac Harding, who was appointed to serve Otago and Southland in 1862. On Christmas Day, 1863, the first Wesleyan Methodist church opened in North Rd. The first resident minister was the Rev J T Shaw, whose duties began in 1864 and within a few years a new church had been built in Leet St. A dissident but friendly offshoot of the church, the Primitive Methodists, built their own church in Don Stin 1873 under the leadership of the Rev B J Westbrooke. The two streams of Methodism reunited in 1913.
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