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Telford operated as the Telford Farm Training Institute from 1964 to 1974.

The Telford Campus began as the Telford Farm Training Institute in 1964, resulting from successful negotiations by a group of South Otago residents who were keen to see an agricultural training facility established in the area.

The land was made available from the family of William Telford and it is administered by the Telford Farm Board of Management (the Board) according to the terms of the Telford Act of Parliament 1964.

Telford operated as the Telford Farm Training Institute without any government assistance from 1964 to 1974. In 1974 a partnership was made between Telford Farm Training Institute and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, (MAF), whereby the Board was responsible for the farms and the MAF was responsible for the education. In 1989, the Ministry of Education replaced MAF as partner, and in February 1991, Telford became a polytechnic with a council elected to operate the campus and educational facilities, alongside the Board.

Made up of representatives of a wideTelford Students range of farming organisations, which assisted Telford to get established, the Board has a statutory responsibility for managing the farms. The purpose of the farms is to provide a commercially realistic "classroom" for students to learn practical farming skills.

In 2019, Telford became a campus of the Southern Institute of Technology. 

Telford has large commercial scale dairy, sheep & beef and deer farms, with a total effective farming area of 670ha. The farms aim to perform in the top 25% for their land class.

 National Library Of New Zealand Journal

William TelfordMr William Telford, an early pioneer in South Otago came from Cumberland in England to Australia, and then on to New Zealand, landing at Bluff in 1867. He purchased land on the southern bank of the Clutha between the Waitepeka and Puerua Streams. Slowly he acquired several thousand acres which included native grasslands, bush and swamp.

Under Mr Telford's direction, tussocklands were ploughed and grassed, swamplands were developed, and his steading became a centre in the district.

The magnificent homestead was built in 1869 with a local stone quarried and expertly shaped, along with Oamaru limestone brought down the coast and ferried up the Puerua Stream. A large woolshed and eight-horse stable was built at the same time from bricks fired on the property.

Mr Thomas Telford, son of the pioneer, continued the development work. He constructed stopbanks down the Puerua and installed flood-gates to assist in the drainage of what has become the rich dairy farming area of Paretai. Over the years the Telford family have been renowned for their Hereford cattle and they have maintained a strong affection for the Kent Romney Marsh sheep. It was Mr William Telford of the third generation who left 1,600 acres of farmlands for the betterment of these two breeds, and the Institute in its farming programme will always give them pride of place.

With the sanction of Miss Jane Telford and Mrs William Telford the trustees in 1964 made the property available for the establishment of this Institute. Mr Thomas Telford, son of the pioneer, continued the development work. He constructed stopbanks down the Puerua and installed flood-gates to assist in the drainage of what has become the rich dairy farming area of Paretai. Over the years the Telford family have been renowned for their Hereford cattle and they have maintained a strong affection for the Kent Romney Marsh sheep. It was Mr William Telford of the third generation who left 1,600 acres of farmlands for the betterment of these two breeds, and the Institute in its farming programme will always give them pride of place.

With the sanction of Miss Jane Telford and Mrs William Telford the trustees in 1964 made the property available for the establishment of this Institute.

Source: National Library of New Zealand: No.67 (July 1969)

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