Ranfurly is art deco capital of the South Island. Fires had all but destroyed the town in the 1930s leading to a rebulding in the architecture of the day - Art Deco. The Rural Art Deco Festival is a highlight of the years calendar with live entertainment and 1930s themed activities.
For train passengers Ranfurly was an oasis. As the line’s main change-over station, there was just enough time to jump off, head to the Centennial Milk Bar – now an art deco gallery – and grab a ‘cuppa and cake’.
Ranfurly was originally known as Eweburn, one of the "farmyard" names bestowed by former Otago Chief Surveyor John Turnbull Thomson. The story goes that Thomson was planning to name the towns of the region with their original Maori names, however following a disagreement with the Survys Office Thomson named them after animals in his native Northumbrian dialectic, names such as Kyeburn, Gimmerburn, Hoggetburn, and Wedderburn. However, when it came to the routing of the Otago Central Rail Trail a political slight of hand saw Eweburn renamed after the Fifth Earl of Ranfurly, New Zealand' 15th Governor General, and the town become the man change-over station at the expense of the regions main centre Naesby only 15 kilometres away.