Title / object name
Founder’s Medal, Royal Geographical Society.
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Wyon, William ||engraver ||1838 |
|Overall ||57 (Height) x 11 (Width/Depth) mm|
medals, awards (objects)
Gift of the family of Sir James Hector, 1937.
This Founder's Medal is struck in gold. The obverse side has a portrait of King William IV, with the text 'GVLIELMVS IIII D.G. BRITANNIARUM REX MDCCCXXX FVNDATOR' (William by the Grace of God King of Britain 1830 Founder). The reverse side shows a figure of Britannia, wearing a helmet and standing by a sextant and globe. She is holding a wreath in her outstretched right hand and a map in the left, with the text 'OB TERRAS RECLUSAS [On Account of Lands Opened Up] / Royal Geographical Society of London'.
The Founder's Medal
The Founder's Medal has been awarded since 1839 by the Royal Geographical Society of London for 'the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery'. It is an extremely prestigious award, and some very famous names in the history of world exploration are among its recipients.
Kicking Horse Pass
James Hector received his Founder's Medal in 1891 as belated recognition for his role in the Palliser expedition that explored Western Canada in 1857-60. The expedition's main purpose was to explore a railway route to the Pacific Ocean. Hector's part is commemorated in the place name Kicking Horse Pass - a high mountain pass in the Rockies where Hector was nearly kicked to death by one of the expedition's packhorses.
Hector is a famous figure in Canada as well as New Zealand, as Kicking Horse Pass is the highest point on both the Canadian-Pacific Railway and the more recently built Trans-Canada Highway.
Hector was to revisit the scenes of his early Canadian adventures in 1903. The visit was marred by the death of his son Douglas, who died of peritonitis.