Preserved in time

The Albertland Heritage Centre in Wellsford tells a story of local history with its collections of extensive records, memorabilia, artifacts, and other items relating to Albertland from the 1860s. 

Since 1862 the Kaipara area has been home to the Albertlander settlements originally based in Port Albert and then spreading to surrounding areas such as Matakohe, Paparoa and beyond.

Expecting to find pasture land and townships, the early pioneers were disheartened to find their land to be in heavy kauri bush in the back of beyond says curator manager, Peter Marsh.

However many of the early settlers persevered and developed their holdings into the farmland we see today and their stories make for interesting reading. The Albertland Heritage Centre in Wellsford holds irreplaceable collections of artefacts, memorabilia, family heirlooms and hand written stories in letters and manuscripts. A priceless source of information for researchers. 

Peter says the centre’s point of difference is the photographic collections dating back to the 1890s.

From his home in Wharehine, Harold Marsh travelled the Kaipara extensively until the 1930s, always taking his camera with him to amass a collection of over 7,500 glass plate negatives. The negatives have now all been digitised and many can be viewed online at and prints can be ordered from the website. A selected collection is contained in the book Images of Albertland, on sale at the centre.

From the 1950s, other photographic collections include those of Don Worsnop, Cliff Grant, Coast to Coast Newspaper, as well as many family collections.

Presently over 40,000 on these images have been scanned. The centre also houses ship passenger lists, crown grant records, school enrolments, applications to marry, and individual family records are available to peruse. 

The Albertland Settlement was unique and has been extensively documented from letters written to the agents promoting the scheme, on board ships diaries, letters sent backwards and forwards to/from England, to published books and DVDs.

Allow yourself plenty of time to come and explore this haven of information.


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