Middlemarch, New Zealand
Middlemarch is a small town within the limits of Dunedin city in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 with 300 inhabitants. It lies some 80km to the west of the city centre, at the foot of the Rock and Pillar Range
Rock and Pillar Range
The Rock and Pillar Range of high hills is located in the Maniototo, an area of inland Otago, New Zealand. They are surrounded by the Taieri River, which has its source in the range, flowing out across the scroll plain at Paerau, before almost doubling back on itself at Waipiata and flowing back...

 of hills in the broad Strath-Taieri
Strath-Taieri, New Zealand
The Strath-Taieri is a large glacial valley and river plateau, surrounded by rugged hill ranges located to the north and west of Otago Harbour. Since 1989 it has been part of the city of Dunedin...

 valley, through which flows the middle reaches of the Taieri River
Taieri River
The Taieri River is the fourth-longest river in New Zealand and is located in Otago in the South Island. Rising in the Lammerlaw ranges, it initially flows north, then east around the Rock and Pillar range before turning southeast, reaching the sea 30 km south of Dunedin.The upper reaches meander...


Middlemarch is mainly a service town for the local farming community. It is the terminus
Terminal Station
Terminal Station is a 1953 film by Italian director Vittorio De Sica. It tells the story of the love affair between an Italian man and an American woman. The film was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.-Production:...

 of the Taieri Gorge Railway
Taieri Gorge Railway
The Taieri Gorge Railway is a railway line and tourist train operation based at Dunedin Railway Station in the South Island of New Zealand...

, and the start of the Otago Central Rail Trail
Otago Central Rail Trail
The Otago Central Rail Trail is a 150-kilometre walking, cycling and horse riding track in the South Island of New Zealand. It runs in an arc between Middlemarch and Clyde, along the route of the former Otago Central Railway...


Several suggestions exist about how the township was named. One is that Mrs Alice Humphreys, whose husband Edward Wingfield Humphreys
Edward Wingfield Humphreys
Edward Wingfield Humphreys was a New Zealand member of parliament representing Christchurch North from 1889 to 1890. He was also a farmer in Otago, and his extended family included a number of political figures.-Early life:...

 owned and had surveyed for sale of sections in this new township, was reading George Eliot
George Eliot
Mary Anne Evans , better known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist and translator, and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era...

's novel Middlemarch
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final illness of Thornton Lewes, the son of her companion George Henry Lewes...

. Another is that the name is from the obsolete English term "march" meaning a boundary - in this case a middle area between two rivers. As with many places in and close to the Maniototo
The Maniototo Plain, usually simply known as The Maniototo, is an elevated inland region in Otago, New Zealand. The region roughly surrounds the upper reaches of the Taieri River and the Manuherikia River. It is bounded by the Kakanui Range to the north and the Rock and Pillar Range to the southeast...

 area, its name may have been influenced by the Northumberland
Northumberland is the northernmost ceremonial county and a unitary district in North East England. For Eurostat purposes Northumberland is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "Northumberland and Tyne and Wear" NUTS 2 region...

 ancestry of early surveyor John Turnbull Thomson
John Turnbull Thomson
John Turnbull Thomson was a British civil engineer and artist who played an instrumental role in the development of the early infrastructure of nineteenth century Singapore and New Zealand. -Biography:...

 (there is a Middle March region in Northumberland, centred around the town of Otterburn
Otterburn, Northumberland
Otterburn is a small village in Northumberland, England, northwest of Newcastle Upon Tyne on the banks of the River Rede, near the confluence of the Otter Burn, from which the village derives its name. It lies within the Cheviot Hills about from the Scottish border...

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