Locality 32km from Invercargill. From 1880 Thornbury was an important junction, at which rail lines from Invercargill to Riverton and to Nightcaps separated.

Meaning of place name
Robert Foster, one of the founders of the township, was married in Australia to a young woman who had been born in Thornbury in Gloucestershire, England, and gave the name in honour of his bride's birthplace. The couple came to New Zealand in 1859.

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