Emmeline Freda Du FaurPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The memorial stone of New Zealand greywacke recognises the alpine achievements of Freda Du Faur, an Australian mountaineer who died in 1935. The plaque placed over her unmarked grave was organised by New Zealanders, Ashley Gaulter and Stu Piddington of the Timaru Herald in 2006. 

Emmeline Freda Du Faur (1882 – 1935) was an Australian mountaineer, the first woman to climb New Zealand's tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook in 1910. Du Faur was the leading amateur climber of her day. She wore a skirt to just below the knee over knickerbockers and long puttees while she climbed. Du Faur wore it on all her subsequent mountaineering expeditions. She contradicted gender expectations after some of her major climbs. Her femininity disconcerted male critics and upset stereotypes about female athletes. She was a practical woman, however, and felt sunburn, dirt and discomfort were minimal discomforts when it came to the excitement of climbing.

She also has enduring significance as the first active female high mountaineer in New Zealand, although she never lived there. She holds records for the first five ascents of summits in the New Zealand Alps, including the first grand traverse of the three peaks of Mount Cook in 1913. She has a mountain named in her honour. Her father, Frederick du Faur, was one of the founders of the Kuring-gai National Park. 


Address:Griffiths Street, Manly Cemetery, Plot H.654, Manly, 2095
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.792864
Long: 151.270946
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 3rd December, 2006
Front Inscription

Freda Du Faur
16 September 1882- 11 September 1935
A pioneering mountaineer of the New Zealand Southern Alps. The first woman to summit Mount Cook (12,349 ft) on the
3rd December 1910. 


Freda Du Faur is synonymous with early mountaineering in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. 

Growing up by Kuring-gai Chase, Sydney, gave her the opportunity to explore and rock climb with freedom until, in 1908, she visited Mt Cook / Aoraki National Park.

She wrote... " From the moment my eyes rested on the snow-clad alps I worshipped their beauty and was filled with a passionate longing to touch those shining snows, to climb to their heights in silence and solitude, and feel myself one with the mighty forces around me."

Nothing could stop her. During four seasons she made many first ascents, most remarkable the first ascent by a woman of Mt Cook(12,349ft) on 3 December 1910 in record time. On 3 January 1913, she made the first ever grand traverse of all three peaks of Mt Cook. To achieve this she had to overcome opposition to her abbreviated skirt, her lack of a chaperone when out with her guides, the very fact, as a woman, she was climbing at all. 

In 1914 she moved to England but her intended climbing career was interrupted by W.W.1.

She returned to Australia in 1930 and lived in Dee Why until her death, aged 52. 


Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au