About Museum
History of the Museum

The Museum complex is set in the grounds of one of New Zealand's early colonial homesteads originally built in 1876 by the founders great grandfather John Taylor.

John Arrived in lyttelton, New Zealand on 6th September 1864, for a short time they resided in the then small town of Christchurch, before moving on. They Came to Yaldhurst so that John could build and open a Hotel. Later he also built a shop, a number of dwellings and finally Dudley House, which would eventually became the home of Yaldhurst Museum.

The Museum founder Alfred (Jake) Thornhill Cooper began collecting old vehicles in the 1950's. In 1962 after returning from a family visit to Laranch Castle in Dunedin where he had seen a four wheel buggy, he and his wife Marion decided they would like to start a Museum and looked at many properties until finding his ancestoral home with enough room (8 Acres) to build their museum. They moved into the property on a beautiful frosty morning on 3rd June 1963. Just 13 years after the property been sold out of the family.

The museum opened to the public on Boxing Day 26th December 1968 since opening it has amassed over 150 vehicles plus a replica fire station, engine room, printing works and school house.

Many visitors delight in recognition of cars they or their parents once owned/drove. There is also the rare - like the 1938 International Car of which only five were manufactured or the replica of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

Shrouded in mystery and suprises, the atmosphere captures the essence of the past, come and enjoy the Yaldhurst experience.

1926 Cadilac Service Car

1926 Cadilac Service Car
This photo montage, relays the story of finding and recovering this vehicle.
1908 Daimler

Jake and brother in law Orton LeGros recover a 1908 Daimler.
John Taylor
John Taylor
John Taylor
Mary Taylor
Jake Cooper
Jake Cooper
Marion Cooper
Marion Cooper