The original town was formed at a river crossing (ferry then bridge) on a route to the Central Otago goldfields. The village was moved following a flood in the late 19th century and relocated to its current location. It was the first town in New Zealand to have electric street lights and still has the towns library. From 1877 until 1953, Outram was served by a branch line railway that connected with the Main South Line. This line was known as the Outram Branch and it had a relatively unremarkable career. Closure came as a result of an almost total absence of traffic caused by the development of road transport during the first half of the 20th century, and today, few remnants of the line are visible.
Outram's facilities include Outram Primary School, Outram Library, West Taieri Rugby Club, Church, Memorial Hall, Outram Hotel, a handful of retail outlets including a cafe and some antique shops. The West Taieri Cemetery is on the outskirts of the town. Outram is administered by Dunedin City Council, and has reticulated water supply, but no reticulated sewerage.
Outram has a variety of Broadband services available. Those include ADSL1, RBI Wireless provided by Vodafone and a few local WISP's. The residents of Outram want Chorus to invest in their exchanges back haul spending $100,000+ for 300 residents already covered by all these services. There was a petition that Tim Gibson created to rally support to get the exchange upgraded. This unfortunately didn't go anywhere for the town due to them already being serviced by multiple technologies.
- ^ Reed, A.W. Place Names of New Zealand, Wellington, A.H. & A.W. Reed (1975)
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