The owner of the York Motor Museum in Western Australia, Peter Briggs, today announced the sale of the museum to a local community group. The Avon Valley Motor Museum Association Inc (AVMMA) will take over the day-to-day operation of the town’s most important tourism drawcard.
Mr Briggs said that the sale of the museum would ensure the long term future of the York tourist landmark. He said that the museum opened in 1979 and it had attracted more than a million people to WA’s Avon Valley.
Over the decades, tens of millions of dollars have been injected into the York economy by the visitors who have come to view my cars,” he said. “The York Motor Museum put York on the tourist map and the sale of the museum will ensure that it will continue to attract visitors for years to come.”
“I imported classic cars from all over the world to exhibit in the museum and I think we opened the eyes of many people in Australia to the fascinating world of old cars.
“When we opened the museum 38 years ago, I had no expectation that it would become a such a great success for so many years. It is known around the world.”
The York Motor Museum was the catalyst for the renovation and renewal of York in the 1980s. Mr Briggs created the Settlers House complex, and other investors joined him renovating the town’s hotels and commercial strip. The first around-the-houses motor racing event since the 1960s called the York Flying 50 was run through town and helped create a boom in historic motor sport in Australia.
In 1984, the museum won the Sir David Brand Award for Tourism. In those days there was only one state tourism award every year.
Mr Briggs said that it was exciting to see the museum transfer to a group of enthusiastic locals.
“I have agreed to become Patron of the AVMMA and the organisation has generously committed to recognise my role as the founder of the museum in a permanent display.”
“I have agreed to keep my collection of cars at the museum for the foreseeable future so that there is a seamless transition to the new owners,” he said.
“Since the museum opened in 1979 it has had only three curators: James Harwood, Peter Harbin and most recently Graeme Cocks who has renovated the museum so that it is in excellent shape for the new owners to take over.
“With the renovations and increased marketing, the York Motor Museum has enjoyed its highest visitor numbers for a decade so the future is very bright indeed,” he said.
“The new owners have some exciting plans to grow the museum and I will be renovating my workshop building further down Avon Terrace to create a reserve collection and motoring art gallery. I certainly won’t be leaving town entirely!” said Mr Briggs.
“I wish the new owners well and I look forward to working with them in coming years.”
York is the oldest inland town in Western Australia, situated 97 kilometres east of Perth. The York Motor Museum will continue to open daily from 9.30am to 4.00pm. www.yorkmotormuseum.com