Remembering June, Lady Hillary

Along with New Zealanders and many people from around the world, the Welcome Swallow Gallery is saddened by the passing today of June, Lady Hillary. An official portrait of June, by gallery artist, Rebecca Dowman-Ngapo was on display in the gallery in 2020, prior to it being acquired by the Auckland Museum where throughout 2021 it was displayed in the main entrance . This magnificent watercolour painting now forms part of the World Heritage protected Hillary Collection.

June, Lady Hillary married Sir Edmund Hillary in 1989, after being the Official Companion (OC) to Sir Ed when he was the High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh for four and a half years between 1985-89. In 1990, for her admirable work re-establishing the High Commission in New Delhi, Lady Hillary received the Queen’s Service Medal for Public Service.
During the 1950s as the wife of her first husband Peter Mulgrew, June was involved with Sir Ed on his many explorations including the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1956-1958. June visited the Antarctic three times and has a deep love for the continent, hoping that it will be protected for generations to come.
Lady Hillary’s deep connection with Nepal began in the 1950s with her husband Peter and the Hillary Family. June became involved with the Himalayan Trust (established in 1966 by Sir Ed and Lady Louise Hillary) firstly as Board Member and latterly as Trust Chair until 2011.
From 1975 to 1979 Lady June led parties in trekking expeditions to Nepal and Kashmir. Following the death of Peter Mulgrew in the Erebus disaster, June and Ed became closer resulting in a ‘very comfortable companionship’.
Throughout her life June, Lady Hillary has both participated and contributed to the New Zealand story.


This product has been added to your cart