Winton is situated on the Southland Plain near Winton Creek and about 4 miles upstream from its junction with the Oreti River. The Invercargill-Queenstown highway and the Invercargill-Kingston railway, which are almost contiguous, pass through the borough. Winton is the junction of a small branch railway line to Browns, 5 miles east. By road Winton is 20 miles north of Invercargill.
Winton is the centre of a farming district with good, well-watered soil. The main rural activities are sheep farming and mixed cropping, but some dairying is also carried on. Industrial activities in the town include the manufacture of cheese, the production of concrete products, timber milling and joinery and, on a modest scale, wine making. Adjoining the town, but substantially outside the borough, is the residential locality of East Winton.
Winton came into existence as the terminus of the first section of railway from Invercargill to Kingston. The site is said to have been a regular camping place of Thomas Winton, a well-known stockman of the 1850s. Both the nearby stream and the town were named after him. The Winton Municipality Committee was established as the local authority in 1875. This body was replaced by the Winton Town Council which met in the following year. Winton was constituted a borough in 1877. In 1895 the town received some notoriety when a resident, Minnie Dean, found guilty of child murder, was hanged.
POPULATION: 1951 census, 1,133; 1956 census, 1,287; 1961 census, 1,473.
by Brian Newton Davis, M.A., Vicar, St. Philips, Karori West, Wellington and Edward Stewart Dollimore, Research Officer, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington.