The limbies’ picnic

Photographer unknown (Crown Studios), Picnic for limbless men, Worser Bay, ca 1930, Crown Studios negatives and prints, Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference: 1/2-204883-F


Published in the Capital Times, 18 April 2012


Here are former soldiers enjoying themselves at the annual Worser Bay picnic for limbless men. The date is uncertain but it was probably taken in the early 1930s. It seemed a suitable image for Anzac Day.


World War I left a grim aftermath. Memorials to the dead marked every community. Thousands of returned men still suffered from wounds, shell shock and tuberculosis. Amputees, or “limbies”, as they liked to be known, were a particularly visible reminder of what so many had been through. In the early 1930s there were 212 men in Wellington who had lost a leg, and 96 without an arm.


The limbless picnic was held nearly every year between the wars. The hosts were members of the Evans Bay Yacht and Motorboat Club who took the men and their families on a boat ride to Worser Bay. It was a day of good eating, leisurely boating and games, like this foot race. You can see more photographs of the day on the link below.


Take a closer look


See more photographs of the picnic


Permission of the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga O Aotearoa, must be obtained before any reuse of this image.


Wellingtonians: From the Turnbull Collections contains revised and expanded entries, and some new ones too. This high-quality publication is available for just $29.99. You can pick it up from from good bookshops or get it straight from the publisher, Steele Roberts.

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Taken circa 1930