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Life in Early Poverty Bay


If one man more than another sees the varying phases of life in a country town, it is the postal carrier, especially when his experience extends over some thirty to thirty-five years. This is the record of Mr. A. J. Fyson, now living in retirement in Rutene Road.

Mr. Fyson has exceeded the allotted span by five years, but it is indeed difficult to believe that fact. To outward appearance he looks considerably less than sixty years of age, and if, as is often said, a man is as old as he feels, Mr. Fyson is still in the forties. Still active, and with all his faculties at practically their best, he is indeed a model type of pioneer who helped to raise Gisborne from a tiny borough into one of the largest towns in the Dominion.

Mr. Fyson was born at Highham, near Bury Street, Edmunds, Suffolk, in 1852. He was educated at Bury Saint Edmunds, and then went on to Framlingham College, Suffolk. School days over, at the age of sixteen, he decided to follow the sea, and was appointed a midshipman in Messrs. Green and Co.'s line. His first experience of life on the ocean wave was on the Clarence, a typical handsome full-rigged ship of those days, which left London for Madras. He remained on the Clarence for two more trips to India, and then the ship went to Melbourne. At the conclusion, Mr. Fyson, who had been studying his profession, passed his third mate's exam, received his ticket, and like many others of those days, deserted sail for steam, being appointed to the St. George, which traded to the East, the Black Sea ports, the Baltic and the Mediterranean, also on one trip going to Canada.

Mr. A. J. Fyson

Mr. A. J. Fyson

The young adventurer then decided to look to the new lands for a permanent home, and decided on New Zealand, coming out at the age of twenty-four as a passenger in the ship Thurnland Castle.

On arrival at Auckland Mr. Fyson decided to work in the Waikato, but after a few months there came on to Gisborne, arriving in 1877. In 1879 he was appointed postal carrier at the Gisborne Post Office and remained there five years. In 1892 he joined up once more and remained in the Government employ until five or six years ago, when he retired on superannuation.