Photograph album, A few snaps of the great earthquake disaster at Hawke's Bay

Sinclair, Ernest
Simmons, Noel F
Production date
Current rights
Public Domain
See full details

Object detail

Brief Description
The photograph album is titled: A few snaps of the great earthquake disaster at Hawke's Bay, New Zealand on 3rd February, 1931.

The album contains 102 images of Napier taken after the 3 February 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. The photographer was Ernest Sinclair, a Health Inspector, who was sent to Napier from Invercargill to aid with any health issues resulting from the disaster. He has written clear descriptions underneath each photograph. On the first page is a cartoon titled: The man behind the camera. It shows Inspector Sinclair inspecting a drain-pipe after one glass of parsnip wine. The artist is Noel F. Simmons of Napier. There is a photograph of Simmons in the album standing outside the Club Hotel on Marine Parade. Following the cartoon is a fold-out coloured map of Napier that shows amongst other things, Hastings Street School, the tram depot and tracks, Municipal Theatre, Post Offices and the cemetery.

Earthquake photographs include: Hannah's buildings; Standard Fire Insurance Office; Post Office; Public Trust Office; Tin Town; Napier Girls' High School; [St Paul's] Presbyterian Church; Municipal Theatre; "£4000 private dwelling completely ruined, Taupo Road"; Greenmeadows Seminary; Dr Moore's Hospital; brick, timber (wooden) and concrete block houses on Simla Terrace, Cobden Terrace, May Avenue, Shakespeare Road, Burns Terrace, Milton Road and Enfield Road; landslide above house; Gedde's House [sic] (Geddis House, Elizabeth Road); Treston's House; Isolation Block, Napier Hospital; Dr Fitzgerald's residence; Wholesale Confectioners', Battery Road; boat harbour; landslide at rear of railway station; Ruffell's House, Chilton Road, family in make shift kitchen; Port Ahuriri; Westshore Road; Napier-Gisborne railway; Club Hotel; Cape Kidnappers; gannets; and several of New Napier after the rebuild.

After the photograph section is a newspaper article about the earthquake with the heading: Great earthquake disaster costs many lives. This is followed by earthquake photographs cut out from various newspapers. Clear descriptions are written underneath each cutting such as: Napier - All that is left of the Provincial Hotel. What would have happened had the shake occurred at night when the bedrooms were all occupied is too terrible to contemplate.

Date: 10 October 1935. This date is written at the front of the album.
Photographer, Ernest Sinclair.
Production date
Production period
Production technique
Media/Materials description
The album has a black hard cover with gold embossed printing on the front. The contents include black and white photographs. Descriptions are written in white ink. The map and newspaper cuttings are on paper with black ink.
Height x Width: 188 x 275mm
Subject person
Subject period
Subject date
Post 03 Feb 1931
Credit line
gifted by Brian Sherborne
Other number(s)
2015/31, 92368
Accession number


Public comments

Re Geddies House Several Photos. Please Correct to Geddis House Elizabeth Road. My Grandparents TM and MH Geddis

- Chris Geddis on 10-04-2021 06:20:25

Google reCaptchaThis site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.