53 Facts About Edmund Hillary


Sir Edmund Percival Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist.


Edmund Hillary made his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier.


Edmund Hillary served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II and was wounded in an accident.


Edmund Hillary subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest.


Edmund Hillary's efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in Nepal.


Edmund Hillary had numerous honours conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995.


Edmund Hillary was born to Percival Augustus and Gertrude Edmund Hillary in Auckland, New Zealand, on 20 July 1919.

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Edmund Hillary married Annie "Ida" Fleming from Ireland having four children.


Edmund Hillary's family moved to Tuakau, south of Auckland, in 1920, after Percy was allocated eight acres of land there as a returned soldier.


Edmund Hillary finished primary school aged 11 or two years early, and at "Grammar" achieved average marks.


Edmund Hillary was initially smaller than his peers and shy, and did not enjoy "Grammar", where commuting barred him from after-school activities.


Edmund Hillary became interested in climbing when he was 16 following a 1935 school trip to Mount Ruapehu, after which he showed more interest in tramping than in studying and said he "wanted to see the world".


Edmund Hillary then attended Auckland University College, and joined the Tramping Club there.


Edmund Hillary kept bees in summer, and concentrated on climbing in winter.


Edmund Hillary said of his five-year association with the movement that "I learned to speak confidently from the platform; to think more freely on important topics; to mix more readily with a wide variety of people".


Edmund Hillary joined the Radiant Living Tramping Club, and further developed his love of the outdoors in the Waitakere Ranges.


At the outbreak of World War II, Edmund Hillary applied to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force but quickly withdrew the application, later writing that he was "harassed by [his] religious conscience".


Edmund Hillary took part in an arduous rescue on La Perouse in 1948, befriending fellow climber Norman Hardie.


In 1952, Edmund Hillary learned that he and Lowe had been invited by the Joint Himalayan Committee for the 1953 British attempt and immediately accepted.


Edmund Hillary objected but was immediately impressed by Hunt's energy and determination.


Quite exceptionally strong and abounding in a restless energy, possessed of a thrusting mind which swept away all unproven obstacles, Ed Edmund Hillary's personality had made an imprint on my mind, through his Cho Oyu and Reconnaissance friends and through his letters to me.


Edmund Hillary had hoped to climb with Lowe, but Hunt named two teams for the ascent: Tom Bourdillon and Charles Evans; and Edmund Hillary and Tenzing.


Edmund Hillary, therefore, made a concerted effort to forge a working friendship with Tenzing.


Hunt then directed Edmund Hillary and Tenzing to attempt the summit.


Edmund Hillary spent two hours warming them over a stove before he and Tenzing, wearing 30-pound packs, attempted the final ascent.

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Edmund Hillary reached the South Pole as part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, for which he led the New Zealand section, on 4 January 1958.


Edmund Hillary's party was the first to reach the Pole overland since Amundsen in 1911 and Scott in 1912, and the first ever to do so using motor vehicles.


Edmund Hillary was with the expedition for five months, although it lasted for ten.


Edmund Hillary thus became the first man to stand at both poles and on the summit of Everest.


In January 2007, Edmund Hillary travelled to Antarctica as part of a delegation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of Scott Base.


On 6 June 1953, Edmund Hillary was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and he received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal the same year.


Edmund Hillary was awarded the Polar Medal in 1958 for his part in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the class of commander of the Order of Sports Merit of France in about 1960, the Order of Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, 1st Class of the Kingdom of Nepal in 1953 and the Coronation Medal in 1975.


On 22 April 1995, Edmund Hillary was appointed Knight Companion of The Most Noble Order of the Garter.


On 17 June 2004, Edmund Hillary was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.


Edmund Hillary was the first foreign national to receive that honour.


Since 1992, New Zealand's $5 note has featured Edmund Hillary's portrait, making him the only living person not a current head of state ever to appear on a New Zealand banknote.


Edmund Hillary was particularly keen on how this organisation introduced young New Zealanders to the outdoors in a very similar way to his first experience of a school trip to Mt Ruapehu at the age of 16.


The Edmund Hillary Coast is a section of coastline south of Ross Island and north of the Shackleton Coast.


Edmund Hillary married Louise Mary Rose on 3 September 1953, soon after the ascent of Everest; he admitted he was terrified of proposing to her and relied on her mother to propose on his behalf.


Edmund Hillary's home for most of his life was a property on Remuera Road in Auckland City, where he enjoyed reading adventure and science fiction novels in his retirement.


Edmund Hillary built a bach at Whites Beach, one of Auckland's west coast beaches in West Auckland, between Anawhata and North Piha.


The Edmund Hillary family has had a connection with the west coast of Auckland since 1925, when Louise's father built a bach at Anawhata.


The family donated land at Whites Beach that is crossed by trampers on the Hillary Trail, named for Edmund.


Edmund Hillary's efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in this remote region of the Himalayas.


Edmund Hillary was the Honorary President of the American Himalayan Foundation, a United States non-profit body that helps improve the ecology and living conditions in the Himalayas.

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Edmund Hillary was the Honorary President of Mountain Wilderness, an international NGO dedicated to the worldwide protection of mountains.


Edmund Hillary supported the Labour Party in the 1975 New Zealand general election, as a member of the "Citizens for Rowling" campaign.


In 1985, Edmund Hillary was appointed New Zealand High Commissioner to India and spent four and a half years based in New Delhi.


In 1975, Edmund Hillary served as a vice president for the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, a national pro-choice advocacy group.


Edmund Hillary was a patron of REPEAL, an organization seeking repeal of the restrictive Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977.


On 22 April 2007, while on a trip to Kathmandu, Edmund Hillary suffered a fall, and was hospitalised after returning to New Zealand.


Edmund Hillary loved the area, and had his own bach near Anawhata.


The Sir Edmund Hillary Archive was added to the UNESCO Memory of the world archive in 2013, it is currently held by Auckland War Memorial Museum.