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Science notebook of Prof. Harry B. Kirk.

Identifier: kirh-MSS K59


  • 1915 - 1937

Biographical / Historical

Harry Borrer Kirk, 1859-1948

"Harry Borrer Kirk was born on 9 March 1859, one of nine children of Sarah Jane Mattocks and her husband, Thomas Kirk, a timber merchant's clerk who was to become well known in New Zealand as a botanist. As there was no university college in Wellington, after leaving school Kirk studied on his own for University of New Zealand examinations, securing his BA in 1882 and graduating MA with first-class honours in 1883.

In February 1903 Kirk was appointed to the chair of biology, as foundation professor, at the fledgeling Victoria College in Wellington. Kirk's life's ambition was the establishment and development of a biology department within the new university college, and he was unwavering in the pursuit of this goal. The biology building that he had worked towards for so long was later named after Kirk.

Kirk belonged to the New Zealand Institute (later the Royal Society of New Zealand) and was one of the original fellows, being elected in 1919. He was president of the Wellington Philosophical Society in 1907--8 and was president of the New Zealand Institute in 1922--23. In 1910 Kirk helped found the University Reform Association. From 1915 to 1920 he was a member of the senate of the University of New Zealand, and from 1930 to 1944 a member of the academic board. He was chairman of the Committee of Management of the Dominion Museum in the late 1930s and early 1940s."

Salmon, John T. 'Kirk, Harry Borrer 1859 - 1948'. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007.

The full form of this biography can be read online at: URL:


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Aisha Le Frantz
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Repository Details

Part of the J C Beaglehole Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

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