Home' Greymouth Star : June 17th 2017 Contents Saturday AAfternoon
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6 - Saturday, June 17, 2017
From the vaults
Greymouth with Shakespeare Street run-
ning vertically, and Winnie Street alongside
Sawyers Creek. Greymouth Technical High
School is in the distance.
Westland Hospital, Hokitika, showing Mandl Ward, foreground, then the two-storey administration block, Ellis Ward (with extension under way), Manson Ward, Williams Ward with the Nurses Home beyond.
Blackball, with the mine manager’s house at bottom right.
Waiuta on the flat, and the Prohibition Mine up on the terrace.
St Patrick’s School, left, and convent at Ross looking towards Aylmer Street. Note the nun standing on the back porch of the school.
Wanganui Flat Road, with a tiny Hari Hari township distant under the hill in the background.
Weheka School, now Fox Glacier.
Crossing a glacial lake at the Fox Glacier terminus.
The Whites Aviation Ltd collection is
part of the Alexander Turnbull Library’s
photographic archive, which contains images
of New Zealand and the Pacific from the 1850s to
The library holds about five million photographs
taken by professional photographers, as well as
the work of ordinary New Zealanders who have
documented their lives, families and
The library purchased the Whites Aviation
collection in 2007 and it is one of the largest and
most heavily used photographic collections held.
It spans the 1920s to 1988, providing extensive
coverage of New Zealand, from the air and ground.
It also includes views of Antarctica, the Pacific,
Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as small
sequences relating to aviation history.
It is predominantly a negative collection and
although the collection includes an illustration file
of prints arranged by locality, the library has greatly
improved access to this collection by describing each
negative in the main sequence and providing access
to digitised versions of many of the negatives on its
About 68,000 Whites Aviation negatives were
digitised during a mass digitisation project in 2010-
11, and this year the library is adding a further 8000
digitised images to its website, including views of the
History of Whites Aviation Ltd
Whites Aviation Ltd was established in 1945 by
Leo White (1906-67) to produce a series of popular
illustrated publications of aviation history and
aerial photography. White began to freelance as a
photographer in the 1920s, and later worked for the
Weekly News. He was closely involved with aviation
in Auckland in the 1920s to 1930s, and pioneered
aerial photography in the region. He compiled
Wingspread, a history of New Zealand aviation, in
1941; and served as a photographer with the RNZAF
during World War Two.
During the early 1950s he covered New Zealand by
air, taking photographs for Whites pictorial reference
of New Zealand. In 1988 the business was purchased
by Air Logistics. The firm later became Geo Smart.
Other West Coast photos
The National Library also holds negatives and prints
from the photographic studio operated by James
Ring, L A Inkster, and Joseph Quinn, from 1879 to
the 1970s, as well as photographs of the West Coast
taken from 1979 to 2001 by Damer Farrell, whose
work appeared daily in the Greymouth Evening Star.
It also holds the work of noted panoramic
photographer R P Moore and the second part of the
library’s current digitisation project will see more
of Moore’s images available on-line, too, perhaps
including some of his West Coast images.
Digitisation allows the library to provide access
to collections outside of the Wellington Reading
Rooms. Also, it is increasingly collecting ‘born digital’
items as well (items that are created in digital camera
or by computer).
For the photographic archive there are nearly
300,000 items that have been digitised, so there is
still much more work to do to increase the digital
proportion of the collection.
To search for photos go to https://natlib.govt.nz
The National Library has started adding many more historic, mostly
aerial, West Coast photographs from Whites Aviation to its on-line
archives. To mark the release it allowed the Greymouth Star to publish
a sample. From images of No 8 wire tourism to a bird’s-eye view of the
Greymouth Technical High School, the collection gives a tantalising
glimpse of yesteryear. The National Library explains the significance of
the Whites Aviation photos, and what else is in its vast image library.
Whataroa, showing the hospital, bottom left, with the courthouse opposite and the hall and school a little further along the road. Our Lady of the Woods Catholic Church is at far right.
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