Monday, July 6, 2009

Richard Arthur Haydon, 1863 - 1927

Richard Arthur Haydon was born in Chudleigh, Devon, England about 1863 but would travel to the other side of the globe as a young man to live the rest of his life in New Zealand.

In August 1883 at the age of 21 he embarked at Plymouth, England for Lyttelton, New Zealand to start a new life. A carpenter by trade, he would work for the New Zealand Railways for the balance of his working life. Marrying within a few years of his arrival, he lived with his family firstly in Wanganui, then Dunedin, and Christchurch, the latter being where he ended life.

Neither famous nor distinguished, he - with tens of thousands of fellow emigrants - left his Old World home for a new one, never to return to whence he came. It was a one-way ticket.

No author or historian, Richard, with relatively little schooling, wrote a shipboard diary of his 1883 journey that has been read by but a mere handful of people over the past 125 or so years. No work of great literary value, it nevertheless leaves a young man's penciled account of his journey that may as well have been to the moon given the technological and emotional "distance" involved.

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