16th Dec 1921 - 7th Sep 2005
PETROGLYPH: a carving or line drawing on rock, especially made by prehistoric people
ARCHAEOLOGY: the study of past human life and culture by the recovery and examination of remaining evidence, such as graves, tools, and pottery
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 1
Dr. Earle Kirby was St. Vincent’s first qualified veterinarian. A “man of many trades, he also contributed to the culture, archaeology, and history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a self-taught master.
Ian A. Earle Kirby was born on December 16th 1921 in Queensberry and attended the Methodist Public School and Intermediate Grammar School. He attained his first degree at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad. He studied veterinary medicine at Ontario Agriculture College (University of Guelph), Canada on scholarship and at Edinburgh University, Scotland. Kirby undertook his veterinary practice in St. Vincent. As the Chief Veterinary Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, he examined livestock (sheep and goats) for export. He studied the potential of the honey industry and during World War II, the pilot whale fishery as a possible source of scarce Vitamin-A-rich cod liver oil.
His love for the outdoors sparked diverse interests. At the Seismic Research Unit, he collected temperature and water depth data in La Soufriere’s volcano crater- afloat in a tyre. He studied archaeology and worked in a museum of artifacts from naval wrecks and petroglyphs. He was chairman of the St. Vincent Archaeology Society, Director of the National Museum, and authored books on t. Vincent’s Black Carib civilisations. He retired in 1979. For his contributions to his homeland, he received the Order of the British Empire and was featured on a postage stamp for the International Year of Elders (1999). Dr. Kirby also received the Duke of Edinburgh Award for service to youths.
Dr Earle Kirby died on 7th September, 2005. In 2007, he was awarded the Euan P McFarlane Award for Outstanding Environmental Leadership in the Insular Caribbean, posthumously, the first Vincentian conservationist thus honoured in the Award’s history. In their official award statement, Dr Kirby was described as a “pioneer of conservation in St Vincent and the Caribbean”.