Robert Burnaby
Photograph Courtesy BC Archives
Call Number F-02638


Robert Burnaby travels to British Columbia on board the "Asia". While on board he meets Col. Moody and his family.

"There is such a nice Man with us, a Mr. Burnaby (his Brother is in the Engineers) he is going out as a Merchant, he is so gentlemanly and pleasant and amiable, and good, he is very kind to the Children too."

--15th November, 1858,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

After arriving in Esquimalt on the 25th December, 1858, Burnaby tries his hand at a number of possible business ideas.  Sadly, none of them really catch on.

"Mr. Burnaby is as kind and attentive as ever, he comes in and out and is quite at home here. He hopes to get some appointment in B.C.."

--18th February, 1859,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

By the end of February 1859, Burnaby has been appointed onto the Staff of Colonel Moody.  His position is that of Private Secretary.

"Richard has got Mr. Burnaby now as his "Private Secretary" which will I trust be a great comfort to him, as he had no help before, and the letters of all kinds were innumerable."

--3rd March, 1859,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

Moody and his party, including Burnaby,  travel down to Queenborough.  By the end of March Burnaby returns.

"Mr. Burnaby came down yesterday and brought me very good accounts of him (Moody), he is quite well and getting on as well as he could expect during the present rainy weather."

--25th March, 1859,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

After settling on Queenborough as the new Capital of British Columbia, Moody returns to Victoria and the paperwork awaiting him.

"Dearest Richard has been back now a week but he will most probably be off again next week, he is most anxious to be gone again, for independently of his being wanted at Queenborough he does not like Victoria and you know, of old, that he hates "Office Work".  And it is so uncomfortable here while he has no "office".  All the work is done in our one Sitting room.  Poor Mr. Burnaby is writing here all day, and tho' I try and keep the Children out of the room as much as possible, I can't prevent their being in sometimes and if anyone comes to call I am obliged to take them into the Bedroom!"

"Richard is dreadfully busy, he has been up at half past 5 all the week as before 10 o'clock is the only quiet time he has.  The knocking at the door is really dreadful - never ending.  Mr. Burnaby does nothing but talk to people, and tell them "The Colonel is very much occupied etc".  But they hope to have some more "help" ere very long and an office too."

-- 7th April, 1859,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

At last, the Moody family are able to travel from Victoria to their new home at Queenborough.  As Moody is with the troops at the Camp, Burnaby is entrusted with the family.

"The HB Company placed this Steamer at our disposal, so we are traveling quite luxuriously, nobody on board but Mrs. Cochrane and her Baby, Mr. Burnaby and 2 other gentlemen."

--18th May, 1859,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

Eventually, Governor Douglas decides that to save money, the Colony will dismiss all of Moody's Staff.

"He (Moody) has no power to employ anyone, indeed now he has no civilians under him, and it only requires him to speak well of someone to the Governor for him to determine not to do anything for them!!"

--16th August, 1859,
From the Letters of Mary S. Moody

Residences belonging to Charles Ross, Robert Burnaby, Frank Roscoe and Thomas Lett Wood; at the corner of Fairfield Road and Dallas Road, Victoria.

Photograph courtesy BC Archives Call Number F-01279