York Motor Museum







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There may be bigger collections of vehicles in Australia but the York Motor Museum has the distinction of being the oldest and most successful private motor museum in the country.

The museum owes its existence to Peter Briggs and James Harwood.

Peter had been a motoring enthusiast and was involved with local motor sport. In the 1960s he won the MG Car Club annual Championship three times and in 1970 became the WA Touring Car chamption.

In 1968 Peter had purchased a 1925 Rugby Tourer then came a Cooper Climax and an MG TC.

In 1964 James Harwood sold his Stirling Highway property to Attwood Motors and became a broker in vintage cars and aircraft.

By 1979 Peter had added to his collection of vehicles with a JI Allard, a Triumph Gloria and an Invicta.

Storing these vehicles was becoming more and more difficult and that was when James suggested setting up a motor museum.

The location thought best was the lovely historic town of York, just an hours drive from the sprawling city of Perth. York had a perfect ready-made atmosphere for the museum and after finding a suitable building, the museum opened its doors in December 1979. This coincided nicely with the 150th anniversary of the European settlement of W.A.

Just 4 years later the museum received its first official recognition when it was awarded the Sir David Brand Award for Tourism, quite an achievement after such a short time.

James Harwood was the curator of the museum from 1979 to 2000 when the role was taken on by Peter Harbin.

Peter continued in the role for the next 15 years.

When Peter (Harbin) passed away, Peter (Briggs) decided that the time had come for the museum to be handed on to a new owner or organisation that would keep the place going well into the future.

In 2017 the museum was purchased from Peter by the Avon Valley Motor Museum Association, a not-for-profit community group that is dedicated to the continued maintenance and operation of the museum.

Sadly Peter Briggs passed away in 2022 but he has left the state with an enduring legacy of beautifully restored vehicles displayed in what has the be the best location possible for such a collection.

There are three main display areas in the museum. Two are general display galleries and one is dedicated to the history of motor sport.

Over the years a number of vehicles have been donated to the museum and a list of the kind donors can be found on the museum's website.

The museum's popularity has remained high and it is one of the main tourist attractions located in York.

Although I never met him, I owe Peter a debt of personal gratitude it seems, as he helped get the Matilda Bay Brewing Company going and they produce my favourite beer, Redback!

Peter's personal story is an interesting one and I will leave a link to the details below.

Peter Briggs' Story

Motor Museum Website



York Motor Museum


York Motor Museum


York Motor Museum


York Motor Museum


York Motor Museum


York Motor Museum



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