WRIGHT, Richard

Author Tags: Cariboo, Chinese, Gold, Local History, Outdoors

Richard Wright is one of B.C.'s foremost outdoors writers. Born in Vancouver in 1940, he left the Vancouver Fire Department in 1970 to produce and direct CBC films, work for B.C.'s Dept. of Recreation and Conservation, pursue freelance writing and photography, and begin a river rafting company. His many books co-authored with Rochelle Wright include Canoe Routes: British Columbia, Canoe Routes: Yukon Territory, Cross-Country Ski Routes: British Columbia, four Lower Mainland Backroads titles and three histories. Wright's The Bowron Lakes: A Year-Round Guide is a perennial seller and The Overlanders is his 1985 study of goldseekers who travelled the land route to the Cariboo gold fields. After a 13-year relationship, Richard Wright parted with his musical collaborator Cathryn Wellner [at right] in 2003. Wright has been researching the life and work of James Anderson, the bard of the Barkerville, and has taken two treks with camels in the Cariboo, reconstructing the 'Cariboo Camel' myth for a segment on National Geographic Today.

In 2014, when his study of Barkerville was republished, he was living in Wells as a town councillor and the founding and ongoing president of Friends of Barkerville--also as a director of the Barkerville Heritage Trust.

Review of the author’s work by BC Studies:
Barkerville and the Cariboo Gold Fields


Barkerville and the Cariboo Goldfields (Heritage 2013) $19.95 9781927527061

Ride Around Real Slow. With Cathryn Wellner and Raven Carleton Wright.
Cowboy poetry. Williams Lake: Winter Quarters Press: 2001

Overlanders: The epic cross-Canada treks for gold, 1858-1862. A revised and updated edition of the 1984 publication. Williams Lake: Winter Quarters Press. 2000

Castles in the Air: Music & Stories of British Columbia’s 1860s gold rush. (With Cathryn Wellner) Williams Lake: Winter Quarters Press. 2000. A companion to Rough But Honest Miner.

Action Y2K: A guide toward solutions for communities, business & individuals for the coming millennium. (With Cathryn Wellner) Williams Lake: Winter Quarters Press. 1999

Barkerville, A Gold Rush Experience. Williams Lake: Winter Quarters Press. 1993. 1998, 2000 Revised edition, 1998. Original edition: BC Outdoors, OP Publishing. 1984

In a Strange Land: A pictorial record of the Chinese in Canada, 1788-1923.
Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books. 1988

Overlanders. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie Books. 1988

Bowron Lakes: A Year-Round Guide. Surrey: Heritage House Publishing. 1985
Revised edition. 1989

The Canadian Rockies. North Vancouver: Whitecap Books. 1981

Canada. The Scenic Land. (With Stan Garrod). North Vancouver: Whitecap Books. 1981

Lower Mainland Backroads (with Rochelle Wright)
Vol 1, Garibaldi to Lillooet, 1977
Vol 2, Fraser Valley, 1978
Vol. 3, Hope to Clinton, 1979
Vol. 4, Garibaldi Region, 1979
Sidney: Saltaire Publishing. Revised editions: BC Outdoors, OP Publishing. 1985. Heritage House. 1989.

British Columbia Cross-country Ski Routes. (With Rochelle Wright). Surrey: Antonson Publishing. 1978. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. 1983.

Canoe Routes: British Columbia (with Rochelle Wright)
Surrey: Antonson Publishing. 1977.
Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. 1980.

Canoe Routes: Yukon Territory. (With Rochelle Wright) Surrey: Antonson Publishing. 1977. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. 1980.

Westering (essays). Surrey: Antonson Publishing. 1978.

Yellowhead Mileposts Vol. II (history) (with Rochelle Wright) Vancouver: Mitchell Press. 1977.

Yellowhead Mileposts Vol. I (history) (with Rochelle Wright) Vancouver: Mitchell Press. 1974.

Cariboo Mileposts: Points of Interest Along a Famous Road. By Richard Wright and Rochelle Wright. Mitchell Press Ltd., 1972.


CD - Rough But Honest Miner: Reclaimed music of BC’s 1860s gold rush (With Cathryn Wellner and Ken Hamm) Williams Lake: Winter Quarters Press. 2000

Major Research Reports:

A River Rafting Guides’ Manual. 1982. For the Ministry of Lands Parks and Housing and the River Outfitters Association of B.C.

The Pembertons. 1984. A research project for Pemberton Houston Willoughby Securities.

The Gold Rush Trail. 1987. A research project for the Ministry of Tourism.

Quesnelle Forks – A Historical Perspective. 1987. A historical research report and recommendations for restoration. Prepared for Friends of Barkerville Historical Society.

The Burial Site of Chilcotin Indians Executed at Quesnelle Mouth, 1864 during the Chilcotin Uprising. 1994. A search for graves, prepared for Archeology Branch. Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture, Victoria B.C.

The Williams Lake Community Arts Council Assessment and Revitalization. 1998

[LITHIS / BCBW 2014] "Local History" "Chinese" "Outdoors" "Cariboo" "Gold"

Overlanders & Castles in the Air

Author of 22 books and a leading historian of the Cariboo gold rush, Richard Thomas Wright has chosen to self-publish his 316-page summary of the epic cross-Canada search for gold from 1858 to 1862 in Overlanders. An update of Wright’s 1985 publication from Western Producer Prairie Books, it’s from his Winter Quarters Press in Williams Lake (Tel: 1-800-583-2880: $27.95) and is available directly from Sandhill Book Marketing. Wright and his partner Cathryn Wellner have also released a companion volume to their new CD (called Rough but honest miner). Both are based on reclaimed music of British Columbia’s 1860s gold rush. The book ($12.95) called Castles in the Air combines Wellner’s storytelling and Wright’s music with a mutual love of history. When the liner notes for the CD became far too extensive, they decided an accompanying text was in order.


‘Grassroots Guide to Year 2000’, Action Y2K (Winter Quarters / Sandhill)

“A bunker mentality, one individual preparing for disaster, is not the answer,” says Cathryn Wellner of Williams Lake. “The real solution is to work as a neighborhood, a clan, a community.” She’s describing the mandate for her ‘Grassroots Guide to Year 2000’, Action Y2K (Winter Quarters / Sandhill), co-authored with her partner Richard T. Wright, who has written 20 books on outdoors and history.


Barkerville Theatre
Press Release 2004

Theatre Royal, Barkerville opens with a new season and
a new theatre company

A new era is beginning for the Theatre Royal, Barkerville as Newman & Wright Theatre Company takes over the five-year permit.
For Amy Newman and Richard Wright it is a chance to return to the streets of Barkerville and put some of their ideas on history onto the stage.
Newman worked at the Theatre Royal for two seasons, and the Jack o' Clubs 1930s Casino and Music Hall for two seasons and spends winters in Vancouver.
Wright is a former street interpreter and historian who has written extensively about the Cariboo Gold Rush and in the last couple of years has become identified with the Cariboo Camel Project. He lives at Pioneer Ranch near Williams Lake, B.C.
Last year they formed Newman & Wright Productions to produce the Jack o' Clubs 1930s Casino show.
"That has now morphed into Newman & Wright Theatre Company," says Wright, "though in Barkerville we will be known as the "Newman & Wright Theatrical Troupe" in keeping with the 1870s period.
N & W's focus will be to return to shows reflecting the 1870s and 1930s, shows historic in content and context. This means more of a variety show, and less of a musical theatre approach.
Amy Newman, Musical Director of the Theatre Royal shows, says her goal comes from her years on stage and in audiences.
"I have often come out of theatres changed by what I've experienced - whether I was on the stage or in the audience - by the words, the music, the actors - telling the stories of other worlds, other lives," she says.
"This is what we hope to accomplish at Theatre Royal. I want people to laugh and cry, to sing-along - to come away with an experience that in some indefinable way, changes them. We want Theatre Royal to tell stories that people can take away with them - full of all of the pieces of the puzzle which make us human: the good times, the sad times, the funny times - to share the human experience," says Newman.
"There are three things people will notice this year," says Wright, the shows' Producer.
"One, the shows will have music, comedy, drama and stories reflective of the time period, the 1870s and the 1930s.
"Second, we have increased the number of shows to four. The spring and fall show will be 'Whiskey Dealers and Miners' Angels,' written and performed by Amy Newman. The main season will feature three shows: two daytime shows, 'An Afternoon with the Cariboo Dramatic Association' at 1 p.m., and 'The Campfires and Trails of Captain Jack Crawford,' at 4 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday evenings we will have the 1930s and 40s 'Gold Quartz Revue', with 10 performers.
"Thirdly for the first time in recent history we will be having shows on Fridays. This will be Newman's one-woman play, with music. And, we will also have this show on Friday, Monday and Tuesday evenings."
Regional Manager Robin Sharpe says, "Barkerville Historic Town is looking forward to a long working relationship with Newman & Wright Theatre Company and are looking forward to all of the exciting new shows for the 2004 season.
"This year will be a break from the tradition of only having one main day show throughout the summer and the theatre closed on Fridays. By having three different day shows, evening and Friday shows, visitors to the Barkerville, Wells and Bowron Lakes area will be encouraged to stay longer and enjoy the many other activities the community has to offer."
"Congratulations Amy and Richard for putting together such an ambitious program for the visitors for 2004," he said.
"We have a great cast and crew in place," says Newman. "They include Stage Mgr. Lynnette Candy; Asst. Stage Mgr. Liduina VanderSpek, Front of House Mgr. David Smeltzer with Ryan Mooney assisting. Our performers are JP Winslow, Lauren Bowler, Julie McIsaac, and Joel Stephanson."
Sue Newman is back as director/choreographer of the main shows and Ross Douglas is directing Newman's one-woman show.
"Our whole crew are performers so on the weekend we will add them plus Richard and myself to the show. Then on top we will have guest artists such as David Essig, Gary Fjellgaard, Tom Lewis and more," says Newman
"This is something I have been thinking about for 15 years, " says Wright. "In taking on this project we felt we had two choices: cut back and reduce the financial exposure or expand the shows, the days and hours of operation and put more bums in seats. We choose to expand and help build Barkerville.
"It is clear that over the last decades Barkerville has become what the merchants, actors, interpreters, staff and management have made it, despite any problems. Many make Barkerville a major part of their lives. Newman & Wright are excited and proud to be a part of that life," says Wright
The spring show begins May 10th and the main shows begin at the Grand Opening June 19th..