Story: Railways

Turning the first sod, South Island main trunk line (1st of 2)

Turning the first sod, South Island main trunk line

Railway events drew crowds in 19th-century New Zealand, as they represented progress and development. The building of new lines was marked by ‘first sod’ and ‘last spike’ ceremonies. Here, people gather as the first sod is turned for the Christchurch–Timaru section of the South Island main trunk line, around 1865.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: 1/2-020116; F

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Neill Atkinson, 'Railways - Main trunk lines', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/21380/turning-the-first-sod-south-island-main-trunk-line (accessed 20 August 2019)

Story by Neill Atkinson, published 11 Mar 2010, reviewed & revised 11 Mar 2016