Turnbull Library Acquires Historic Aviation Photos
Turnbull Library Acquires Historic Aviation Photographs
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Richard Downey and Allan McGruer with Flying Flea aircraft at Mangere, May 1936. WA-AVH-50-1-G.
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Auckland Harbour Bridge under construction, with section of bridge being manoeuvred into position on a barge, 29 November 1958. WA-48833-G.
For immediate release
6 August 2007
TURNBULL LIBRARY ACQUIRES HISTORIC AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHS
The Alexander Turnbull Library has recently acquired the photographs of White’s Aviation Ltd. This collection, consisting of nearly 90,000 negatives, and 50,000 prints, significantly strengthens the Library’s coverage of 20th-century New Zealand.
White’s Aviation Ltd was established in 1945 by Leo White (1906-1967) 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 and 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 II.
From the 1940s to 1990s, White’s Aviation photographed New Zealand from the air. Their photographs appeared in Whites Pictorial Reference of New Zealand and a multitude of other publications. In addition to extensive coverage of New Zealand, they also cover the Pacific and Antarctica. They have been widely used by historians, geographers, iwi historians, and others researching land use in New Zealand, and have already attracted considerable interest in the short time they have been held by the Library
The collection also includes photographs taken and collected by Leo White before the establishment of White’s Aviation, and these are a particularly rich source for New Zealand’s early aviation history.
In 1988, White’s Aviation was purchased by Air Logistics (NZ) Ltd (now GeoSmart), which continued to make the collection available nationwide until its acquisition by the Library this year.
‘This collection was built and maintained with loving care by a company committed to documenting the country, and we are proud to continue their work of preserving it and making it available to the people of New Zealand,’ said John Sullivan, Curator of the Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library.