The V.C. Browne and Son collection is one of the largest New Zealand historical aerial photograph collections available online. Currently there are almost 30,000 photographs that are available through DigitalNZ, and more than 4,000 records are free for reuse as there is no known copyright restrictions.
In 2009, Roger Barclay, the grand son-in-law of V.C. Browne contacted us with this unique photograph collection. We were thrilled with such amazing collection and the great value it will bring to not only New Zealand but the whole World. Our team at DigitalNZ started with around 20,000 digitized images, and as the collection grown bigger and bigger, we are now pointing to 90% of the entire collection.
This collection is still growing as the rest of the collection is still getting digitized from negatives. It presented New Zealand in a unique perspective for the periods of early 1930s to late 1970s. Over 50 years, Victor C Browne and his son Bill have photographed most New Zealand cities and towns, with a focus of the Canterbury region in South Island. After the February Christchurch Earthquake, all the great capture from the Brownes became even more valuable to all of us kiwis.
Below is the latest Google map view of the Christchurch Cathedral. Surrounded by all the tall buildings with the cramped space, the Cathedral seems to be smaller than it used to be. There is no doubt that it was one of the saddest moment in our lives to see the beloved Cathedral is broken like this. This is a weak up call for all New Zealanders to start protect, digitize and archive our pressures historical memories such as this.
If you know a digital collection with New Zealand relevant content, feel free to get in touch with us. Let's all work together to help New Zealand digital content easier to be find, share and use!