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14 July 1913 William Rigby

 14 July 1913 William Rigby

William Rigby who died in Adelaide on 14 July 1913 began his working life as an apprentice at Parker & Sons, Booksellers, of London. Hearing of the Victorian goldfields he decided he wanted to try his luck but could not obtain a berth on any ship to Australia in 1853. Undaunted he set out to buy a small boat and sail it out himself. He secured a 48 ton lugger, the Gem, and having married the year before at the age of 18 embarked with his wife and young son, wife’s parents and sister and a crew of seven, 13 in all, and sailed down the Thames and to Southampton to begin the hazardous voyage. On the way they encountered all weathers, from calm to storms, and the boat was driven ashore on the south coast of Kangaroo Island. They managed to get it off and continued to Melbourne. There he intended to carry goods up and down the Yarra, but litigation over the Gem frustrated his plans. He came to Adelaide in June 1859 and opened a book shop in Hindley Stree with five cases of stock valued at 209 16s 7d. In a few years he was one of Adelaide’s leading booksellers and built large premises in King William Street.

Newspaper Cuttings Book, Volume 3, p 46; Advertiser 7 July 1951.

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