Edmund Hillary life and biography

Edmund Hillary picture, image, poster

Edmund Hillary biography

Date of birth : 1919-07-20
Date of death : 2008-01-11
Birthplace : Auckland, New Zealand
Nationality : New-Zeelander
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2010-06-22
Credited as : Explorer and RNZAF navigator, ,

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Sir Edmund Percival Hillary, born July 20, 1919 is a New Zealander mountaineer and explorer, most famous for the first successful climb of Mount Everest. He reached the 29,035-foot (8850 m) summit on May 29, 1953 with Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa. After descending, legend has it the ex-apiarist (beekeeper) said he and Tenzing had ‘knocked the bastard off’, a phrase which has found its way into colloquial New Zealand English.

Sir Edmund is the only living New Zealander to appear on a banknote.

Born in Tuakau (south of Auckland), Hillary attended the Auckland Grammar School. The trip to school was over two hours each way, time which he spent reading. As he grew up he was smaller than his peers and very shy so he took refuge in his books and daydreams of a life filled with adventure. At age 16, his interest in climbing was sparked during a school trip to Ruapehu. He found that his gangly and uncoordinated frame was physically strong and had greater endurance than many of his tramping companions.

During World War II he was a RNZAF navigator. He was part of an unsuccessful New Zealand expedition to Everest in 1951 before joining the successful British attempt of 1953. He climbed 10 other peaks in the Himalaya on further visits in 1956, 1960-61 and 1963-65. He also reached the South Pole, as part of the British Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, on January 4, 1958.

He was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on July 16, 1953 and was created a member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ) in 1987. He was created a Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) on April 23, 1995.
Hillary lost his wife Louise and daughter Belinda in an aircrash in Nepal. He later married June Mulgrew. Hillary’s son Peter Hillary is an adventurer and has climbed Everest twice among other mountain peaks.

He has devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust which he founded and to which he has given much of his time and energy. Through his efforts he has succeeded in building many schools and hospitals in this remote region of the Himalaya. He has stated that he regards this as his most important achievement. He is also the Honorary President of the American Himalayan Foundation, a US non-profit body that also helps improve the ecology and living conditions in the Himalayas.

To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first successful ascent of Everest, the Nepalese Government conferred honorary citizenship upon Sir Edmund at a special golden jubilee celebration in the capital Kathmandu. Sir Edmund is the first foreign national to receive such an honour from the Nepalese.

Edmund Hillary had been scheduled to act as a commentator on the ill-fated Air New Zealand flight TE901, but had to pull out due to work commitments elsewhere; he was replaced by his close friend Peter Mulgrew, who perished on the flight.

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