Photographic history found

History is fragile – when it is stored on glass. The glass-plate negative of this picture of Canterbury soldiers boarding the troop ship Athenic at Lyttelton on September 23, 1914, is broken in the top left-hand corner.

It was one of 63 glass-plate negatives found by chance at The Press by illustrations staff member Jude Tewnion while sorting photographs in a storeroom. The images offer a window on a poignant moment in history.

Some plates were broken but, when printed, all revealed sharp images of South Island soldiers preparing and leaving for World War I in 1914.

This week, The Press took the 96-year-old plates to the National Army Museum at Waiouru, where they will be archived and preserved.

Museum archivist Dolores Ho was amazed at the clarity and detail in the negatives, all of which have now been digitised by The Press.

Are your ancestors or relatives here? Do you recognise anyone in this photograph, or those in our Mainlander section and online gallery at Email

The Press