Dunedin Dedicates Memorial to Admiral Byrd

Admiral Abbot dedicates the Byrd bust in Dunedin

Admiral Abbot addressing dignitaries at the unveiling. Ambassador Henning is seated in front row, center.

A statue of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd now overlooks the port city of Dunedin, from which the late explorer sailed on his first Antarctic expedition nearly 40 years ago. Given to the city by the National Geographic Society, the bust was unveiled in Unity Park on October 31 [1967] by the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, the Honorable John F. Henning.

A bronze plaque on the half-ton, black-granite base commemorates Admiral Byrd's antarctic achievements:

From Dunedin on December 2, 1928, sailed the "City of New York" and the "Eleanor Boiling" to carry to Antarctica under Admiral Byrd's command the first expedition to explore the frozen continent by air. Under the valiant leadership of the "Admiral of the Ends of the Earth," five Antarctic expeditions 1928-1957 revealed the secrets of half the great white continent.

On a pedestal near the statue is a bronze medallion depicting the relationship of Dunedin to Little America. Like the bust at McMurdo Station (cf. Antarctic Journal, vol. I, no. 1, p. 34), the Dunedin bust is a partial copy of a full-length statue on the "Avenue of Heroes" in Washington, D.C. The only other such copy is in the National Geographic Society's Washington headquarters. Dunedin dedication of Admiral Byrd's bust

At the dedication ceremonies, Rear Admiral J. Lloyd Abbot, Jr., Commander, U.S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica, read letters from Dr. Melvin M. Payne, President of the National Geographic Society, and sculptor Felix W. de Weldon, and a Navy honor guard was provided by USS Mills, one of the vessels participating in this season's operation. For several years the Deep Freeze ocean-station vessels have been based in Dunedin, continuing the city's contributions to Antarctic exploration and research.

The above article and photo appeared in the Antarctic Journal, January/February 1968; the photo is credited to Ken and David Lloyd. Unfortunately they took the picture before the unveiling, so what you see is the, er. veil. But, at right is another photo from after the unveiling, this is from a Dunedin Public Libraries exhibit.

I paid a visit to the site in November 2008 and further documented things below:

the Byrd bust in Dunedin

The bust appears to be identical to the one at McMurdo, although I can't obviously compare the two of them side by side. Below, more views:

front view of the Byrd bust




Left...a front view...

and at right, a view from behind.
view of the bust from behind
closeup of the Byrd bust
A closeup view of the front of the bust...
Antarctic map showing Dunedin and Little America
...and the map on the back, which features Dunedin.
the plaque on the side of the statue
Here's the plaque on the front...
the artists signature
...and the signature of sculptor Felix W. de Weldon.
Dunedin panorama from the viewpoint

The statue was located in a park overlooking the town and harbor...therefore the park was a popular spot for tour buses to stop so people could get a look at the city, as you can see from this panorama. Fortunately because of that I was eventually able to get someone in the tourist office downtown to tell me where the Byrd monument was located. And yes, it was quite a steep climb!

Bill Spindler's hero shot
Time for hero shots, after I finally found someone to take them. Here's the best one.
and a closer hero shot
The closeup.
Visit the other Byrd memorials in Wellington and McMurdo...