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Sir James Hector
The Hero Scot of Kicking Horse Pass

Ranald McIntyre got in touch to say he'd just read an account of Sir James Hector and wondered why I didn't have something about him on the site.  I didn't have an answer for him so he scanned in the article and sent it over to me and so here it is for you to read here and thanks to the Daily Mail for providing the article :-)

Click here to read the .pdf file

After this went out I got an email in...


I read with interest the article in the newsletter about Sir James Hector this week. He certainly left a great contribution to New Zealand. His biography is on the DNZB site and his papers on the Royal Society of New Zealand webpages of our National Library.

In recognition of his work the RSNZ gave an annual prize for science called The Hector Medal

We also have a dolphin named after him called Hector's Dolphin.

The gentleman James Stewart C.E. ( which I sent you a brief biography about and you put up on your website) had a lot to do with Sir James Hector - both as fellow RSNZ members and later Trustees on the Board of Governors. They were also in the party which went straight after the Tarawera Eruption to assess the damage. (I have attached the chapter that I have included on Tarawera Eruption in the biography I am writing on James Stewart C.E. At the end of the chapter you will see the references which go into extensive detail on the aftermath explorations which include that of Stewart, Hector and Smith. The photographs belong to us - a family collection and were left to my grandmother and father by James.- I have given New Zealand National Library - Alexander Turnbull a copy of the chapter for historical records.)

It was Sir James Hector who closed Te Wairoa Road because of the fragility of the area after the eruption. Both men saw an incredible devastation and this was extensively reported in the New Zealand newspapers at the time. These can be accessed on our National Library Papers Past website.

I think that many countries of the world were so fortunate to have the Scots settle as they were the explorers, geologists, engineers, railway builders and inventors.

Hectors papers and writings are awesome and one can learn so much and were left so much by this gentleman.

Anne Stewart Ball

PS The biography is progressing well. The research has been a mammoth task and now the pages are coming together. I hope to complete it by March of 2008 - which I think would be an appropriate time - 140 years since the beginning of the Auckland Institute RSNZ.

See also Publishing science - a tribute to James Hector (1834-1907)

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