Featherston was first known to Europeans as Burlings, after Henry Burling, who opened an accommodation house near the Māori settlement of Pae-O-Tu-Mokai in 1847. In 1856 the provincial government surveyed the spot for a town, naming it after its superintendent, Isaac Featherston.
Much of the town’s fascinating history is strongly linked to the railway and world wars. During World War One the camp at the northern end of town was used for military training, while during the Second World War, it held Japanese POWs and was the site of ‘An Incident’ in 1943 where 49 prisoners were killed.
Featherston is also home to the world’s only Fell Engine, surviving from the days of the Rimutaka Incline Railway. In the weekends you can enjoy a ride on the mini-Fell train, run by the Cross Creek Railway Society.
The Museum Complex on Fitzherbert Street is well worth a visit to explore our history further, and you can find details of the Heritage Trail walk here