On This Day 11 July

By TheBoldAge. Published 2020-07-11
In 1859 a Tale of Two Cities was published; in 1960 To Kill a Mockingbird was published. In 1979 Skylab crashed in Western Australia and NASA were given an AUD$400 fine for littering; in 1989 Laurence Olivier died. Read more about Kate Edger who in 1877 was the first woman in NZ and the first in the British Empire to earn a BA

Meet Kate Edger - the first woman in New Zealand to earn a Bachelor's Degree and the first in the British Empire to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Born in Abingdon in 1857 she emigrated with her family in 1862 to New Zealand as her father was a Christian Minister. Her father was influential in both her and her sister's pursuit of education.

In 1871 he wrote "it is one of woman’s rights...that she should enjoy an education as thorough in quality as that which is thought necessary for men."

At the time higher education was not an option for girls, however while she was at the Auckland College and Grammar School she more than proved her academic prowess. She did eventually go on to study at the University of New Zealand, however to get a scholarship she had to submit the application without putting her gender on the application form; and she was successful.

Her focus was on mathematics and Latin and she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1877 and was awarded for her achievements by the Bishop of the time. She didn't stop there, she went on to get a Master's Degree.


Gaining an education for herself was not enough for her though, she went on to found the Nelson College for Girls in 1883 which still exists to this day.


She has also inspired the Kate Edger Educational Chartiable Trust which "is for the promotion, advancement and encouragement amongst women of education..."

Other events on this day

  • 1533: Henry VIII excommunicated for remarrying
  • 1859: A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens) was published
  • 1877: Kate Edger was the first woman graduate in NZ and the first to earn a BA in the British Empire
  • 1960: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published
  • 1979: Skylab crashed to earth in Western Australia
  • 1989: Laurence Olivier died
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