Rees was a man of extraordinary achievements â€“ the explorer who literally put Queenstown on the map, the farmer whose merino grazed over more than 240,000 acres of Wakatipu basin land, a first class international cricketer and all round sportsman and an accomplished artist.
William Gilbert Rees was born in 1827 at Haverfordwest, Wales. He rarely saw his father, a Royal Navy officer who died at sea when â€śWGâ€ť was only 12.
At 15, he was awarded the Royal Humane Society Medal for bravery after rescuing another youngster from drowning in the Hungerford canal. William would be involved in several more rescues during his life.