ArchitectureMataura is one of the most recent extant Troup Vintage stations. Its largely symmetrical form (a substantial departure from the more typical vintage design) has gabled wings facing the station on both ends of the main building. There is, also unusually, a slate roof, with chimneys on the apex of the roof at the junction with the gables. The weatherboards are shiplap, and it is prominently decorated. There are eave brackets on all elevations bar that to the platform, timber infill and finials on the gables and Tudor-style half-timbering on the external walls. Coloured window panes, mostly in the upper section of sashes, are to be found right around the building. The entrance is sheltered by a suspended portico. The verandah, a gable form with paired railway-iron supports, is partly filled in at both ends to provide shelter. There is scalloped edge valancing at both ends. Internally, in keeping with the exterior, the building has had few alterations.
HistoryThe main trunk line reached Mataura in 1875, and the first station may have been built about 1880. In 1913 it was proposed to move it to a new (unspecified) site but Mataura residents opposed this. At about the same time the station yard was completely rearranged. The station remained where it was, but seven years later, on 11 May 1920; it was burnt to the ground. While temporary accommodation was found in the goods shed, plans were quickly drawn up for a new station building. By March 1921 it was finished, at a cost of £1,696 for the main building and £600 for the verandah. There have been few changes to the building proper. The main freight traffic through Mataura was farm-related goods, coal, livestock, and products to and from the local freezing works and paper mill. In 1982 the goods shed was removed. Since 1986 the station has been open to full wagonload and passenger traffic only, and it still handles much freight traffic to and from the freezing works, paper mill and other local industry. Passenger trains ceased in February 2002.
Architectural SignificanceMataura is one of the most attractive and original railway station buildings. In its use of slates, coloured glass and careful detailing it can be regarded as something era high point in railway station architecture. As much if not more attention is lavished on the road elevation as on the platform elevation. A comparatively late Troup Vintage station, Mataura has some of the appearance of an English country station, a look consciously striven for in the more elaborate stations.
Historical SignificanceMataura has few great historical claims, but it has been locally important as the transport link for local farmers, particularly pastoral farmers, and in more recent years for significant local industries. It remains one of Southland's busiest freight stations.
Town / Landscape ValueMataura occupies and enhances a generous landscaped site next to SH1.