"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library"  

Keywords - Whites Aviation Collection and Timaru

Leo Lemuel White (1906–1967) was a notable New Zealand photographer, photojournalist, aviator, publisher and writer.  

South Canterbury's rural scenes compliments of the "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library"

Whites Aviation Ltd was established 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 1920s-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 WWII. During the early 1950s he covered New Zealand by air, taking photographs for Whites pictorial reference of New Zealand. His photo collection contains photos of many aircraft ZK-BLZ, a ski plane at the Hermitage Airfield in 1956, ZK-APO Southern Scenic Air Services at landing at the Hermitage Aug. 1950,

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-25622-F
Aug. 1950. Two motorists, admiring the scenery, Lake Ohau. 1949 Chevy Fleetline.   "S" plate was on private hire taxis.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" Ref. No. WA-32585-F 
March 1953. Mt Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Company Ltd bus on the banks of Lake Ohau.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-29500-F 
Oct. 1951. Lake Ohau, a group of men with a 1949 Chevy Fleetline. The photos says it is a Vauxhall Velox, a farmer favourite, and Mt Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Company Ltd bus, beside a drovers cabin. My guess is that Leo White is being shown around in a private hire taxi from Fairlie. "S" plate was on private hire taxis. The standard taxi had a T plate, busses P, tractors E, Gov (or Govt) for Government vehicle and maybe a few more.   

Can a vehicle's year be identified by it's number plate?

In the early years in NZ steel number plates were issued annually from 1925 until 1941, then due to a shortage of steel during World War II five year plates were issued until 1966. The colour and symbol between the numbers changed each year. e.g. 1925 was bright green with white numerals and a square symbol in the centre. Before 1925 vehicle registration took place on a regional rather than on a country-wide basis and local bodies maintained motor vehicle registers and used letters e.g. A for Auckland, NP New Plymouth, CH Christchurch etc. Examples 1956 Morris Minor. In 1964 permanent aluminum plates – intended to last a vehicle’s useful life – were introduced and issued by the Post Office. In November 1986 reflectorised plates (black characters on white plates) introduced. 1936

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" Ref. No. WA-10482-F Outside Timaru Aero Clubhouse Nov. 1947
Nov. 1947. Two 1937 Master Deluxe 4 Door Touring Sedan outside Timaru Aero Clubhouse.  The '37 Chevs had the bullet shaped swage along the side of the bonnet. The doors - front ones opened normally while the back ones opened backwards (suicide fashion).

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" Ref. No. WA-25585-F
6 Aug 1950. Mt Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Company Ltd bus, number plate S-766, a 1947- 48 K Model Bedford,  T39,  travelling to Timaru. Lake Tekapo in the background to the right. The driver is not watching the road! Number plate for a similar bus at Tekapo House in Lake Tekapo in July 1949 was S -993.  Ref. No. WA-21224-F

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library WA-25404-F
Coach beside E. Valentine General Store, Omarama, Waitaki District 30 July 1950

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" Ref. No. WA-25604-F  11 Aug 1950.
11 Aug. 1950 . Rural scene, near Timaru. Name that road?

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No.WA-25634-F
11 Aug. 1950. Rural settlement. Same house as below. What is the name of the township in the background? Probably Pleasant Point.

 "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-06413-F
The Elms Homestead, April 1947. Does that mean the name of the farm or is it the owners surname?

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-25601-F
11 Aug 1950. Homestead with surrounding property in Timaru. Name that tree to the right? The tree may be an "Atlas Blue Cedar".

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library" Ref. No. WA-25601-F  11 Aug 1950.
11 Aug. 1950. The homestead, near Timaru. Has a beautiful driveway lined with poplars.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-38421-F
May 1955. Rural road scene, Fairlie, Mackenzie District. Maybe on Monument Rd, looking towards Mt. Dobson.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-38420-F
May 1955. On the top side of Fairlie, Mt Cook Rd, with Mt. Dobson to the right.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-28123-F
May 1951. Rural road scene. Linen flax mill near Fairlie. 

The linen flax industry was set up as a direct contribution by NZ to the general war effort at a time when Britain urgently required new sources of supply. The Fairlie linen flax factory was established on 37 acres of land, part of Mrs. F.H. Bell's farm. The site down Gorge Rd, now Talbot St., was close to the railway and within the township's water and sewerage area. Eight cottages for married men were erected past the Fairlie golf house also eighteen small buildings for the use of single men. Women were accommodated in a hostel, the former hospital built on Sloane St. by Dr. Loughnan, the matron was Margaret Rapley. Pulling machines were used to harvest the flax fibre. It would be put in stooks and conveyed to the factory by large open sided trailers. The stooks would be laid out to dry and mature before processing began. The mill was officially opened on August 8th 1942 by the Hon. D.G. Sullivan, Minister of Industries and Commerce. The factory was closed in July 1955, the decision was that the Winton and Fairlie factories close down and the Geraldine factory remain open for a testing period of three years. Mr R.E. Shaw was the factory manager. Llewellyn Ross of "Movevale" Sherwood Downs was the chairman of the growers committee Many acres of linen flax was grown on Sherwood Downs e.g. Ernie Butters "Deep Burn." Reference Sherwood Downs and Beyond, page 214.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". Ref. No. WA-28123-F
Linen flax mill near Fairlie. The curving creek and the layout gives it away-- see Google Earth.

In 1938 Russia had stopped selling linen flax to Great Britain and the colonies were asked to grow linen flax in order to maintain the supply. In two years the NZ had built up an industry that was greater than that of the UK before the war. 17 factories established, all in the South Island, 16 Government owned, and one privately owned phormium tenax factory. There were factories at Washdyke, Makikihi, Geraldine and Fairlie. The industry provided work  for many locals and it was a cash crop for farmers. All the mills shipped their linen flax fibre to Scotland for spinning and weaving into a light canvas type material. This was used to cover the wings and fuselages of Spitfire and Hurricane fighters aircraft and Wellington bombers but we don't know if the NZ linen flax was used for this purpose. We do know that bales of Fairlie linen flax were shipped to Messrs Francis Webster & Sons Ltd, Arbroath, Scotland (16 miles east of Dundee). At that factory the linen flax was spun into yarn and used for hose pipe purposes or made into flax canvas for the Royal Navy. The Fairlie fibre was also suitable for linen canvas and cordage (ropes), twines threads and fire hoses. Reference: Fairlie 1866 - 2000, page 50.

The Geraldine linen flax mill near Geraldine on the road towards Winchester was in operation from 1941 to 1981. In 1940 linen flax was planted locally as NZ signed a contract with the British Ministry of Supply to grow the crop for the duration of the war and one year after. 1,500 acres was sown by 55 local farmers, on plots anywhere from 7 acres to 100 acres. By 1955 only the Geraldine Mill was still functioning.  Ref. The Geraldine News 7 July 2011.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-42399-F 
May 1956. Geraldine Linen Flax Factory- Geraldine -Winchester Rd.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.
Fairlie. I can pick out the Fairlie primary, standard and high schools, the athletic grounds, the cemetery, with the deciduous trees in the Peace Avenue, heading towards Timaru. RLQ is the Showgrounds surrounded by tress with the football grounds this side. In the distance, and to the left is The Brothers and the same grove of pine trees in the AUK photo.


The railway goods shed with the railway station that is now up at the museum.


Fairlie April 1947. Denmark St and Mt. Cook Rd in foreground. Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.
The old library and the Farmers (CFCA) down Allendale Rd. St. Columba rt uq.

Evening Post, 24 August 1945, Page 4 Final crop  for the UK
The British Government is prepared to accept from New Zealand as a final crop of linen flax 10,000 acres to be sown not later than November 30 next. This was announced last, night by the Minister of Industries and Commerce (Mr. Sullivan), who also said that an allocation of this acreage over the various districts had been made as follows:—Blenheim, 1500 acres; Geraldine, 1250; Washdyke. 2000; Winton, 1000; Methven, 1500; Fairlie. 1250; Makikihi, 1500. The crop will be harvested in January or February; 1946, and when processed into fibre will be shipped to the United Kingdom. "On a conservative basis, said Mr. Sullivan, "it is estimated that with the fibre from the 1945 crop, New Zealand will have supplied 6770 tons of line fibre, valued at £1,554,124, 3531 tons of tow, valued at £254,663, a total value of £1,808,787, to the British Ministry of Supply for the spinning of cordage, threads, yarns, etc., these being critical materials for war purposes.
    "The results of this assistance and the development of the industry as a whole represent an epic achievement in our contributions to the helping of Britain and the alleviation of what otherwise would have been a shortage of vital war material. I would ask farmers to take up the acreages allotted to their particular districts. By this method they will be able to keep in operation the factories absorbing their crop, and keep in employment factory workers until the post-war organisation which will take over the factories is in a position to do so."

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-38414-F 
May 1955. Geraldine Motor Camp.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-42391-F 
May 1956. Geraldine Domain and the cricket oval.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-10718-G 
1947. Lake Alexandrina/ - glass negative

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-25609-F 
11 Aug. 1950. Ice skaters at Lake Tekapo.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-25542-F 
Aug. 1950. The Alpine Memorial, Mt. Cook.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-25542-F 
Aug. 1950. Evening photograph of Mt Cook. Cellulosic film negative, 1/4 plate

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-28140-F 
May 1951. St Mary's, Timaru

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library Ref. No. WA-28140-F 
May 1951. Chalmers Church. What else do you see

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library
Timaru from the sea 27 Oct. 1972. The Botanical gardens to the left and the hospital.

"Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". WA-28061-F
Orari railway good's shed with the sheep yards and the Domain with the public hall in the background, 1956.

Temuka 1956. "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library". WA-06415-F
Temuka 1956. A train heading south to Timaru. The Anglican Church, St. Peter's, is in centre front with the main street going down the right of it. Domain Ave goes off to the left in the distance. At the corner of Domain Ave and the main street is the Crown Hotel.

Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library WA-21228-F
Omarama Hotel- J.S. Woods July 1949. The bus is heading for Mt. Cook.  As early as 1913 John Sydney Woods had the accommodation licence.

 WA-38418-F "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library".
Mt. Cook in the distance, May 1955.  Samuel Butler described the peak in 1860. "It rose towering in a massy parallelogram, far above all the others. It is well worth any amount of climbing to see. No one can mistake it. The moment it comes into sight the exclamation is, 'That is Mount Cook!' -not 'That must be Mount Cook!' " , rises up like a sore thumb.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project