Explorer Mungo Park's trunk goes under hammer in New Zealand

image copyrightOther
image captionThe trunk belonged to Borders explorer Mungo Park who was attacked and drowned in 1806

A trunk which carried the possessions of the ill-fated Borders explorer Mungo Park is to be sold at auction.

It is expected to fetch up to NZ$50,000 (about £26,000) when it goes under the hammer in New Zealand on Friday.

His chronicles of his first expedition to Africa in the late 18th century made him a famous figure but he was attacked and drowned during a second expedition.

Scottish Borders Council has said it will not be bidding to bring his trunk back to the region of his birth.

Park was born in Foulshiels near Selkirk in 1771 and was educated as a surgeon at the University of Edinburgh.

He was appointed a medical officer in 1792 and his studies of plant and animal life in Sumatra won him backing to explore the true course of the River Niger.

Belongings recovered

His first expedition started in 1795 and was hampered by fever and saw him imprisoned for four months before he escaped to continue his journey.

After nearly two years he returned to Britain to write an account of his trip, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, which proved a popular publication.

He married and practised medicine in Peebles before being asked by the government to head the second expedition which ultimately ended in his death.

His belongings were eventually recovered and returned to Scotland but the trunk was taken to New Zealand by one of his descendants.

It will be sold by Dunbar Sloane in Auckland later this week.

image copyrightWalter Baxter
image captionMungo Park was born in Foulshiels near Selkirk in 1771
image copyrightLiz n Jim
image captionA statue stands in the centre of Selkirk in honour of Park
image copyrightJim Barton
image captionA plaque in Peebles marks the site where Park lived when he worked there as a doctor

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