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Eltham

Eltham is a small inland town in South Taranaki, New Zealand, located 50km south of the city of New Plymouth and southeast of the volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Stratford is 11km north, Kaponga 13 km west, and Hawera is 19km south. State Highway 3 runs through the town.Eltham is South Taranaki's second largest town. Population was 1980 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 120 from 2001.Eltham is known as the cradle of the Taranaki dairy industry (the co-operative system in particular), and for being the one place in New Zealand that manufactured rennet which is important in cheesemaking. It was also the first place to export butter to England.Settlement began in Eltham in the 1870s with blocks of densely forested land being taken up mainly to the north of Mountain Road. A profusion of sawmilling companies cleared the district which when grassed was found to be ideal for dairy farming. In 1884, the year Eltham was declared a town district, settlers, mainly from England, arrived there and the town had a population of 25. Eltham was declared a borough in 1901, and became part of South Taranaki District with the local body amalgamations of 1989.IndustryThe town's main industry is cheese production, with much of Mainland Cheese's specialty range such as feta and camembert being produced in the Bridge Street factory.
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