William Campbell (1813-1894) lived more lives than one, with journeys taking him from Scotland (his birthplace) to Ireland and then to Australia, where he lived out his years – for reasons never quite understood. Moreover, the second half of the 19th century was a period when millions were on the move, criss-crossing the globe in emigrant ships, in search of fortune or, simply a job and a life.
'Accomplished, 'talented' and 'celebrated' are among the accolades that he earned during his career however, William Campbell was more than just a diver. He crossed paths with well-known public figures of the time, working first hand with technological innovations of the Victorian period, experiencing more than a fair share of danger and adventure. These journeys and exploits also took him throughout Ireland, during one of the darkest periods of its history – the Great Famine (1845-1848) – before becoming the Superintendent of Works at one of the biggest harbours in Europe – Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire) Harbour in County Dublin.
The second half of William Campbell’s life began when he, together with his family, quite suddenly upped stakes in Ireland and travelled, by various adventures, to the other side of the world: a journey concluding at Streaky Bay near Adelaide in South Australia, where he is commemorated today in street names, in the documented history and folklore of a community where his descendants continue to reside.