Head-on crash on Gordonton Rd, occupants walk home for nice cup of tea


Photo of historic car accident


IT WAS A dark and not terrible stormy night, but thick fog was blanketing Gordonton Rd when these two vehicles collided head-on back in the 1940s.

Number 8 Network loves old photos, especially if they’re from around here.  So we’re launching a new series, The Old Photo Album,  where we will share some of our favourite old pics and look forward to offerings from other keen photo-hounds and lovers of all things historic.

In this particular photo, Gordonton farmer Jack Riddell, my father-in-law, was driving his little brother Walter, Walter’s girlfriend (later wife) Shirley and his sister Margaret home from a Scottish dance in Hamilton.  A fine time was had by all.  They had borrowed their father’s 1938 Ford V8.  Just past Sainsbury Rd, they ran into Bill Caswell, who had been at a wedding in the village.

The occupants got out of their vehicles, inspected the damage, dusted themselves off and walked home for a restorative cup of tea.  Another sister, Clarice, was at a dance in Komakorau at the time.  Now living in Tauranga, she can remember it well.

“It was a good thing no one was hurt. Margaret was asleep in the back!”

It’s a good bet no one was wearing seat belts, in fact, they probably weren’t even fitted – it only became compulsory to buckle up in January 1975 in NZ.

But life, and cars, were slower back then and there was always time for a cuppa after a little set-to.  Actually, there’s always time for a cup of tea.


  • This story was first published on May 4 2018


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