Former gold mining area, where the number of diggers peaked in 1867. Bannockburn was the site of dredging operations in the Kawarau River at the end of the 19th century, as well as a coal mine, horticulture and some small farms run by miners. In later years, churches and the school all closed (the latter in 1971). Since then a number of vineyards have been planted, and in 2009 the township had new houses and an art gallery. An extensive area of old gold workings is now a reserve.

Meaning of place name
Named by the surveyors J.T. Thomson and Alexander Garvie after the well-known Scottish battle of 24 june 1314. 'Bannock' is a kind of cake or bread, commonly made of oatmeal. 'Burn' is a Scottish word for 'creek'.