Century-old ticket sets family course

Cambridge’s Bill Wilson with his dad’s 100-year-old passenger ticket.

Cambridge man Bill Wilson – long-time Rotarian and crooner with their band The Bruised Brothers – has uncovered an interesting piece of his family’s history.

When shifting things around at home, out popped an old passenger ticket for his father, dating almost a full century.  The then 23-year-old William Edward Wilson, a bootmaker from Cumberland and one of four children in his family, boarded the Ruahine on November 10, 1921 for the six-week sea voyage from Southampton to New Zealand.  His plan was to take up work on a farm at Kauroa, near Raglan.

“He went to Auckland before heading down to Kauroa,” said Bill.  “He hadn’t met mum at that stage. Curiously, she sailed out on the same ship a year later, arriving in New Zealand in August 1922.”

William (Bill) and Margaret met up once settled in New Zealand and were later married in Auckland.

Son Bill has no idea how he came to have the 100-year-old ticket. “I just don’t remember ever being given it, but it’s a nice thing to have.”

Rules and regulations listed on the ticket were tough and directly-stated.  One has an interesting spin on a current dilemma: “Passengers to bear all risks and expense of Quarantine. If Passengers cannot be landed through Quarantine at port of destination, The New Zealand Shipping Company, Limited, to be at liberty to land Passengers at any port at which the Steamer may touch subsequently.”

Equally compelling a century down the track is the cautionary advice at the bottom: “Passengers taking on board with their Baggage, or otherwise, any Aquafortis, Oil of Vitriol, Gunpowder, Lucifer Matches, Acids, or any article of a dangerous description, without the nature of the contents being distinctly marked on the outside, subject themselves by Law to a penalty of One Hundred Pounds (£100).”

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