In 1969 when John Perry first came to Helensville as an Art Teacher at Kaipara College one could buy old houses “only good for demolition” for under $3,000. John purchased an old house in Garfield Road, and under the house found boxes of old glass plate negatives.
Having developed an interest in historic photographs while studying at art school John found these old negatives very interesting and so he kept them. In the early 1970 Clive Stone, also an art teacher and photographer, printed up some of the more interesting photographs. This selection of images travelled around art galleries and museums throughout New Zealand in the late 1970’s. Around 2014/15 Vincent Young, also a photographer, and John selected out all the images that related to New Zealand’s World War I effort and had them printed in a digital format.
As all of the people in the photographs are unknown, at this stage, they decided to make a concerted effort to have the people in the photographs identified. To this end John has created a window display in Helensville Copy & Print’s window, with others of the 32 images in various shop windows in the main street of Helensville, in an effort to try to identify them. The people whose images appear in this WWI selection have remained mostly unpublished and as a consequence are unknown.
John believes the photographs were taken by a professional photographic studio in Auckland and were subsequently purchased at auction in Auckland and transported to Helensville in order to make a glasshouse. Thank goodness this never eventuated because the glass plates were too small to be efficiently and economically used as was originally intended.
A full set of the images has been presented to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, The Head Quarters of the Returned Services Association in Auckland and also the local Helensville RSA. and are available for viewing. They can also be viewed HERE
Each photograph has a unique number so anyone who has any information about any of the people in these images are asked to email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the photograph number.