4 Dec 2018

Sir Edmund Hillary's kit bag bought by Canterbury Museum for $16,000

6:30 pm on 4 December 2018

A canvas kit bag owned by Sir Edmund Hillary has been added to the Canterbury Museum collection.

Sir Edmund Hillary.

Sir Edmund Hillary Photo: Supplied / Canterbury Museum / ‘Sir Ed in the Southern Alps - his name is commemorated in Hillary Hut in Antarctica, the last remaining building of the original Scott Base dating from 1957’

The bag was used by Sir Ed and Tenzing Norgay when they became the first people to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, in 1953.

It was found in a caravan and sold to a vendor who put it up for auction a few months ago.

Sir Ed wrote a list of gear on the outside of the bag which reads: "Assault March, Not to be issued personally, 10 air mattresses, 4 sleeping bags 20 below, 1 sleeping bag Mummy, 2 pairs down gloves, 6 pairs leather fingered gloves, 6 pairs silk gloves, Hillary, Auckland New Zealand, clothing, Air Mail".

A bag used by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in their summit of Mount Everest.

Sir Edmund Hillary's kit bag had a list of items written on it. Photo: Supplied / Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum paid $16,000 for the bag which director Anthony Wright said was truly special.

"I particularly like that the bag has Hillary's handwriting on it as it creates a very personal connection to the events of the 1953 expedition," he said.

The bag is one of a number of objects in the museum's collection connected to Sir Ed's historic Everest ascent.

These include a Fairydown Twenty Below sleeping bag and a pair of silk gloves Sir Ed used on the expedition, which are possibly some of the items listed on the outside of the bag.

The museum also has the climber's famous striped sunhat, a pair of crampons, a green jacket and an inflatable mattress, all from the 1953 Everest expedition.

The bag is not yet on display, but the museum plans to put it on show eventually.

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