Edmund Hillary was born on the 20th of July 1919, in Auckland, New Zealand. Hillary spent his early years in Tuakau just south of Auckland.
Hillary travelled into the city for his secondary schooling at Auckland Grammar School. It was a school trip to Mt. Ruapehu that inspired his love of mountaineering and an interest in the climate and geography they presented.
Hillary was active in the 1940's, attempting successfully many climbs along the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Hillary became known for his daring, strength and his determination to see a task through to the end.
Hillary also began to attempt climbs in Europe. It was these climbs that led to Hillary being invited to join the expedition of Sir John Hunt, of Britain, that was attempting to scale Mt. Everest. In 1953, the expedition was launched with over 400 members, and on May 29, 1953, Hillary and a Sherpa guide, Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest point on earth. Hillary was knighted for his achievement, in 1953.
Hillary’s exploits did not end with Everest though. He was involved in an overland trip to the South Pole in 1957-1958, and in 1977, he led an expedition from the mouth of the Ganges to its source, which was named, ‘Ocean to Sky’.
Tragedy struck Hillary in 1975, when his wife and youngest daughter were killed in a plane crash while he was working on constructing a hospital in the Nepalese village of Phaphlu.
Hillary would remarry in 1989, to June Mulgrew.
Hillary continued to be active in the Himalayan region with his Himalayan Trust, which he founded to better the lives of people living in the region. He was also heavily involved with other charitable trusts active in the Himalayas.
Hillary died on January 11th 2008, at 88 years of age. He is remembered as a persevering, hard-working, courageous and charitable New Zealander.
The House logo of Hillary is a stylised version of Mt. Everest. It represents not only Hillary’s success at Everest but also his determination that allowed him to succeed in such a difficult situation. Members of Hillary House seek to follow Hillary’s example by being determined, courageous and showing concern for the situation of others.