Monday, 16 April 2012

The Vision Of Kingsley Fairbridge

An article extracted from the book 'Know Your Rhodesia and Know Nyasaland - 300 selections from the Rhodesia Herald' titled 'The Vision Of Kingsley Fairbridge' published in 1956

It was nearly 10 years ago that the suggestion for a suitable memorial at Umtali to Kingsley Fairbridge was made, and a committee was formed.

The result was a statue of Kingsley Fairbridge at the age of 12, with his African companion-servant, Jack, and his little dog.

KF-1, Memorial to Kingsley. See The Vision of Kingsley Fairbridge

The site overlooks the vale of Umtali from the top of Christmas Pass. It was from a similar view-point on a spur of the Inyamatshura range of hills that Kingsley Fairbridge had the vision which led to the Fairbridge Farm Schools for British child immigrants in Australia and Canada and the Kingsley Fairbridge Memorial College in Rhodesia.

Kingsley Fairbridge was born in Grahamstown in 1885, and when 11 years old he and his mother came to Rhodesia where his father was a land surveyor.

They first lived in the settlement by the Umtali river, then moved six miles to the present Old Umtali, and finally took their possessions over the Christmas Pass when the Beira railway came near and present-day Umtali was started.

As a lad Kingsley helped his father by dragging the survey chain. Later he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. The Child Emigration Society was formed at Oxford in 1909, and in 1913 Kingsley Fairbridge and his wife went to Australia to start the first of the Farm Schools. He died on July 19, 1924.

The memorial at Christmas Pass was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on July 8, 1953. Mrs. Fairbridge, the widow of Kingsley Fairbridge, was present at the ceremony and presented the Queen Mother with a copy of Kingsley Fairbridge's autobiography.


Material made available to ORAFs by Nick Baalbergen. Thanks Nick.

Nick has also made available a photograph taken in January 1978.

KF 2, Kingsley Fairbridge Memorial in Janauary 1978

Suggested further reading and additional photographs can be viewed  at the link detailed below. Please scroll down till you reach the memories of the Royal visit to Umtali.


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