Cars, Cars, Cars!

Jack Diamond was a thorough collector of everything West. He not only took his own photographs and acquired gifts of photos, but he also took photos of photos, before there were scanners or copiers, from both personal collections and collections belonging to institutions.

In each image in this small sample there is a car, the photos dating from 1919 to 1974. A number of the photographs here were taken by Jack himself, as a record of events and scenes in the time in which he lived.

Photograph dating is an interesting study, clothing and hairstyles are frequently quite reliable indicators of the season and decade, or even year, in which a photograph was taken. However vehicles were often a big investment and we Kiwis tend to keep them until they fall to pieces perhaps making them an unreliable indicator of photograph dates, but still very interesting!

Please let us know if you are able to clarify details of the make and model of any cars which are unidentified.

There are a surprising number of other vehicles in our photograph archives. Search for them here: Auckland Libraries Image Databases.


Read this wonderful clipping from Papers Past on the French Generals’ visit to the Waitakere Ranges in 1919:
Our French Visitors. Auckland Star, 27 January 1919.

It sounds like there must have been quite a caravan of vehicles to transport 50 people! Here are the French Generals arriving in a motor car at the hauler site at the top of the Anawhata incline on the Anawhata Road.

Auckland War Memorial Museum (Pictorial Collections), 1919. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-03K-05304-1.


Automobiles, including two Model T Fords (middle) and a Douglas motorcycle, are parked outside the Station Garage on West Coast Road in 1926. The man in overalls is the garage proprietor Charlie Martin. The garage was in the Glen Eden railway station yard with a frontage to West Coast Road almost opposite Glendale Road. It might be more familiar to readers as Martin and Halliday's Garage in the 1950s.

Click here for shocking photo! - Petrol Pump Knocked Over By Milkman!

Station Garage, Glen Eden, 1926. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-12A-01538-1.


Born in 1890, Steve Ozich emigrated to New Zealand from Dalmatia in 1906, only 16, to dig in the gum fields. He became a carter of metal and bricks and a railway worker, then a land agent, owner of the Henderson Hotel (now The Falls Hotel) for 60 years and the Ozich Buildings on Station Road (now Railside). He also ran a taxi service in Henderson. Here he is standing beside his U.S. built Hupmobile taxi adorned as a wedding car, parked outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland.

You can listen to the Oral History of Mr Ozich at the West Auckland Research Centre at the Waitakere Central Library in Henderson.

Steve Ozich and his taxi outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, 1937. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-14M-03977.


Do you remember Glen Eden’s post office, milk bar and dairy? Routley’s Buildings are still there, with the name and date of construction (1927) still clearly seen on the facade.

The car in this photo is a Ford Zephyr, described as having a license plate from the period 1956-1961. Are you able to identify the exact year this model was made? It’s parked outside Routley's Buildings on West Coast Road in the late 1950s.

John Thomas Diamond. Routley's Buildings, Glen Eden, 1950s. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-12A-01492.


This photo is packed with partially identified cars parked along West Coast Road outside Oratia School during the 75th jubilee celebrations. Car makes include, from left, a Morris, Standard 10, Citroen, Chevrolet(?), Austin, unidentified, Vanguard, and on right, a Vauxhall.

John Thomas Diamond. Cars parked on West Coast Road, 1957. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-13K-01031.
Jack Diamond took several photos of the Jubilee event, which was held on Easter weekend that year: Oratia School Jubilee, 1957.
Oratia School was first planned by the Education Board in 1882, however classes for the children of Waikumete residents were held in the hall near the present Oratia Church before this date.


There have been three hotels on this site on the corner of Great North Road and Wingate Street, between 1870 – 1967. The old Avoncourt Hotel was the last, built in 1889 and demolished to make way for an arcade and a supermarket. Apparently the building was very well constructed, it stood for 78 years and still looks a bit grand in this photo. There’s no information about the car or the exact date the photo was taken. Can you help?

Peter Brennan, Avoncourt Hotel, Avondale, about 1965. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-24A-03985-1.
You can find a number of photos of the old hotels in Avondale here: Digital NZ.


Of course, everywhere we now know as suburbs of Auckland, were once empty of houses and even lacked roads. Glendene, near Henderson, was once Glendene Farm owned by Percy Jones, with cowsheds, milking shed, sheep, cows and a piggery. The farm was subdivided and the suburb of Glendene was created between the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s. Here in 1969 Jack Diamond’s Triumph Herald car is parked at the end of a newly formed road overlooking the site of earthworks for a new housing development. Any thoughts on the year of the car?

John Thomas Diamond. Manhattan Heights Estate, Glendene Farm subdivision, Henderson, 1969. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-14N-03732.
There used to be lots of cows and sheep, but unsurprisingly elephants were infrequent visitors to Glendene: Local History Online.


Jack Diamond documented the burnt-out shell of the Dutch Kiwi restaurant on Scenic Drive after the fire that destroyed the old boarding house building in January 1970. 

John Thomas Diamond. The Dutch Kiwi restaurant after the fire, 1970. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-13A-04091-2.
Once named Nihotupu, the area became known by The Waiatarua Boarding House which was built by W. Frederick Judson in 1906. It provided accommodation and refreshments for weary travellers to the ranges and spectacular beaches of Auckland’s West Coast. In the 1940’s it was converted to flats, then in 1960, The Dutch Kiwi restaurant was opened by new owner Mr. R. Feijen and became a popular place to dine and dance. 

The car is a 1966 Chevrolet Impala. 

Would you like to read more about Waiatarua? Song Of Two Waters - Jeanne Wade.


Do you remember summers driving to the beach sitting on the hot sticky vinyl seats in your family’s car? Any thoughts on the date of this Cortina parked near the driveway to the Piha camping grounds?

John Thomas Diamond. From store at Piha view over camping ground, 1974. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, JTD-04N-04895.
There’s a long history of day-trippers, tramping and camping in and around Piha, which became increasingly popular after the Duke of Gloucester surfed at Piha on Christmas Day 1934. Early subdivision plans by landowners included most of the Domain, luckily in the 1930’s the Rayner estate gave the land to the Crown as a public reserve to make up the Domain as we know it today.

Have a look at more wonderful images: Piha.

Author: Liz Bradley (West Research Centre)


  1. Hey great work.. I loved this post..Thanks for sharing this information. car collection Auckland


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