British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1995

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Volume 29, No. 1
Winter 1995/96
ISSN 1195-8294
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
The Fairbridge
Member Societies and their Secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their society is up to date.
Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover. The Annual Return
as at October 31 should include telephone numbers for contact.
MEMBERS' DUES for the current year were paid by the following Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
Atlin Historical Society
Burnaby Historical Society
Chemainus Valley Historical Society
Cowichan Historical Society
District 69 Historical Society
East Kootenay Historical Association
Gulf Islands Branch, BCHF
Koksilah School Historical Society
Kootenay Museum & Historical Society
Lantzville Historical Society
Nanaimo Historical Society
North Shore Historical Association
North Shuswap Historical Society
Princeton & District Museum & Archives
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
Sidney & North Saanich Historical Society
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
Surrey Historical Society
Trail Historical Society
Vancouver Historical Society
Victoria Historical Society
Boundary Historical Society
Bowen Island Historians
Kamloops Museum Association
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
Lasqueti Island Historical Society
Nanaimo District Museum Society
Okanagan Historical Society
Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Box 584, Nakusp, B.C. VOB 1R0
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1541 Merlynn Crescent, North Vancouver, B.C. V7J 2X9
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587 Beach Road, Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1K7
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Published winter, spring, summer and fall by British Columbia Historical Federation
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Financially assisted by the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture through the British Columbia
Heritage Trust Fund. jxEnuui CMirabifi
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Volume 29, No. 1 Winter 1995/96
The Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin in
Williams Lake is pleased to be the host of the
BC Historical Federation's 1996 Annual Conference on Friday, April 26 to Sunday, April 28.
Two workshops are planned for April 26. Researching, Writing and Publishing will be
explained by panelists Jean Barman, Gordon
Elliott and Howard White with moderator Helen
Akrigg while Acquisitioning and Processing
of Gifts to Historical Societies and Small
Museums will be presented by Lee Boyko and
Greg Evans, officers of the BC Museums Association. There are a limited number of
spaces available at these workshops so those
wishing to attend should contact Melva Dwyer
at 2976 McBride Avenue, Surrey, B.C. V4A
3G6 or phone (604) 535-3041 to reserve a
place at no extra cost. Deadline April 15,1996.
Saturday will feature guest speakers, the
Annual General Meeting and the awards banquet while on Sunday, April 28, there will be a
bus tour to Likely and Quesnel Forks.
A warm welcome awaits BCHF members
and non-members alike. This is a time when
we should reach out to history buffs in interior
and northern communities. Readers, please
invite your friends and acquaintances to participate in this April weekend. Obtain registration forms after March 1 st, 1996 from your local
branch secretary or phone Lori Hudson-Fish
at (604) 398-5825. Deadline for registration is
April 15,1996.
Naomi Miller
This picture taken at an agricultural fair in Victoria in 1936 shows a group of students from
Fairbridge Farm School with their bovine
charges. These lads, in their suits with short
pants, were members of the very first group
to arrive at the residential school at Cowichan
Station on Vancouver Island. See their story
on page 17. BCARS #A-06317.
Dear Editor Naomi   2
by Ernest Harris
The Alberni - Qualicum Indian Trail    4
by A.C. (Fred) Rogers
Opening of Teit Gallery in Merritt 7
by Esther Darlington
Health Care Changes in the Early 1900s    8
by Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek
LA. Hamilton: Surveyor, Alderman, Land Commissioner    15
by Leonard W. Meyers
The Fairbridge Farm School     17
by Helen Borrell
Highway 16: Prince Rupert to Terrace 1944 -1994 24
by Dirk Septer
James Cronin; Mining Pioneer     27
by Dirk Septer
Schooling on Lasqueti    29
by Elda Mason
Making B.C. History: The Native Sons of British Columbia 30
by Robert Leece
NEWS and NOTES      34
The Queen's Law is Better Than Yours: International Homicide in Early B.C.   35
Review by John A. Cherrington
The Road From Bute Island: Crime & Colonial Identity in British Columbia     35
Review by John A. Cherrington
The Place Between         36
Review by Gordon Elliott
Blackouts to Bright Lights     37
Review by Phyllis Reeve
Becoming Canadians: Pioneer Sikhs in their own words       37
Review by Werner Kaschel
Shaping Spokane      38
Review by Ron Welwood
The Accidental Airline       38
Review by Jack Meadows
Canada's Forgotten Highway        39
Review by Philip Teece
Time & Tide: A History of Telegraph Cove      39
Review by Philip Teece
The Institutionalized Cabinet: Governing the Western Provinces        40
Review by Keith Ralston
Children, Teachers and Schools in the History of British Columbia      40
Review by Linda Hale
Manuscripts and correspondence to the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0.
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the Subscription Secretary (see inside back cover).
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Prinl Lid. Dear Editor Naomi
by Ernest A. Harris
Congratulations to you
and your contributors for
the Summer 1995 B.C. Historical News. I read the
magazine from cover to
cover, something of an
achievement because my
eyesight is so bad that I can
only read with a print en-
larger - useful but cumbersome. However it was worth
it! All articles had their own
special interests, but some
struck chords of memories
in my own recollection of
people, places and events
over the past 85 years.
I was, of course, particularly interested in Tom
Barnett's "Englewood Sequel". He filled in some gaps
for me for when I was at
Englewood (1928-30). I did once visit
Camp 1 (as it was known then) near the
outlet of Nimpkish Lake via the Wood &
English railway. Later, with a friend, I hiked
up the Kokish River to its source in Ida Lake.
But in the two years I was at Englewood I
never even heard of Woss Lake. As Mr.
Barnett says when CanFor acquired the ti m-
ber limits it was a major decision to extend
the railway beyond Nimpkish Lake to cross
the Kokish River and follow it to tidewater
at Beaver Cove. Though this logging railway may still be operative I imagine the old
steam locomotives with their bulky spark
catcher smokestacks have long since disappeared.
Crossing Kokish River without bridge or boat- rapid water over
slippery boulders (1929).
The only bridge across the Kokish River in 1929 before CanFor's logging raUway bridge
about twenty years later.
All pictures courtesy the author
Jessie Ades and her husband Marvin
Kullanders diary recalled special memories for
me. I knew that Jessie was a teacher. Her father's house was opposite the Burnett house
at Laurel Street and 18th Avenue. Dot
Burnett, also a teacher, later became my wife.
In Jessie's travels up the B.C. coast she mentions calling at Englewood and other ports
which, if I had never visited, I at least knew
by name. I recall travelling aboard the Union
Steamship Chelosin in October 1921 seeing
Ocean Falls for the first time. The busy paper
plant and its steep adjoining townsite gleamed
in the brilliance of electric light. Ocean Falls
and other places Jessie mentions have now diminished or disappeared along with the
coastal steamers that served them.
Congratulations to Chris Li for
his prize winning essay regarding
the Chinese contribution to the
building of the Canadian Pacific
Railway. The era when the Chinese were treated as second class
citizens is now history, but we
should all remember democracy
depends on a firm basis of tolerance and justice.
The stories about Will Miller
and Annie Ronayne and their
families, "Pemberton Pioneers",
prove that immigrants who
are courageous and capable
can put down roots in a new
land. Today Pemberton is an
agricultural community famous for its potatoes, but it
can be proud of its pioneers,
too. My personal recollection
of Pemberton is limited to two
train trips. On the first, about
sixty years ago, one took a Union Steamship to Squamish
and there boarded a Pacific
Great Eastern train of passenger and freight cars drawn by
a steam locomotive (not the
Royal Hudson). The PGE
(Please Go Easy or Prince
George Eventually) had gone
bankrupt and had been taken
over by the provincial government who operated the line to
a temporary terminus at Quesnel. Because
of its huge debt the PGE was regarded as a
white elephant. Some years later when the
railway had been extended at both ends and
renamed B.C. Rail I took a second trip. I
boarded the Dayliner in North Vancouver,
travelled along the scenic Howe Sound shoreline to Squamish. Then the train went
through a now more pastoral Pemberton, past
beautiful Anderson and Seton Lakes to
Lillooet and then high above the mighty
Fraser in to Clinton and -eventually- to
Prince George.
"Those Legendary Leasks" were immigrants of a different sort but none the less
remarkable. They were dreamers but not impractical. They were remote but within
rowboat distance of a general store and post
office. They built a house and storage shed,
planted a garden and fruit trees, made a sawmill and landing pier. They lived out their
active lives in the forest abode they had created. Today little of it remains but their story
is well worth remembering. Orkney Islanders were no strangers to Canada. Because they
were inured to a rigorous climate and accustomed to handling boats, the Hudson's Bay
Company recruited Orkney men as crews to
man the double-ender York boats that carried people and supplies from York Factory
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Pacific GreatEastern (B.C RaU) bridge overtheFraserRivernear LiUooet(1931).
at the mouth ofthe Nelson River down Lake
Winnipeg to Fort Garry and other settlements along the Red River. But that's another
Winston Shilvock, in his article about British Columbia's roads, chose true words when
he wrote, "For about two decades a miserable road called the Big Bend had followed
the Columbia River north from Golden to
Mica Creek and south to Revelstoke. Only
the very hardy made the trip." It was indeed
a rough, gravelly, round-about route. I drove
it in the summer of 1940.
I also felt a kinship
for the Robertsons
and Wragges motoring to the Cariboo in
1926. On the return
trip to Vancouver
from Banff in 1940
we took the southern
route through Nelson, Rossland and
over the hump to
Grand Forks. There
was no obstruction
by fallen trees but I
counted thirty-nine
hairpin bends. I seem
to have duplicated
their journey to the
Cariboo   when   I
drove up the tortuous road from Yale,
Spuzzum, Lytton, past Lillooet and on
through Clinton, 70 Mile, 100 Mile, 150
Mile Houses to Horsefly. The Robertson's car
appears to be a 1926 Model T Ford. Except
for disc wheels it seems similar to mine. My
trip was in July '31 so there was no ice or
snow problem ... but it did rain hard beyond
Clinton turning the road to a slippery muddy
track. Fortunately I had been advised to take
tire chains along; without them the car would
have bogged down or
slid off the road. Motoring was always a
bit of an adventure in
those days.
Although I drove
automobiles over
B.C. roads for more
than sixty years, my
mechanical skills
were marginal. I have
nothing but admiration for Henry
Stevenson and his
friend Alfred Vyse,
while still teenagers,
constructing a motor-car from bits and
pieces. That their car successfully passed all
the tests to drive safely on Nelson's steep
streets was indeed an achievement! Henry
Stevenson's well researched article about the
wartime Japanese balloon bomb also had a
Kootenay connection for me. I , at age 18,
had my first teaching job at Boulder (located
where Boulder Creek joins the Salmon River
three miles north of Salmo.) Opposite Boulder was a rugged pyramid shaped mountain;
on its far side Hidden Creek made its turbulent way through a deep cleft to join the
Mountain opposite Boulder Mill on the Salmon River, 3 miles north of Salmo.
Japanese balloon-bomb landed on forested north slope (left) above Hidden Creek
(1928 photo).
Salmon River. On the north side of Hidden
Creek a logging company blasted a rough
road to a camp deep in the forest. In the
spring of 1928 I walked up this road to visit
the camp. On the way I may have given a
passing thought to bears but the idea of
bombs never occurred to me. Therefore I was
surprised to learn from Stevenson's article that
a Japanese balloon bomb had landed in 1945
on the still rugged slopes of Hidden Creek.
Then there was the wonderful world of
^■tS/'5- * ~ """^flr
HUggsc - *•"
Model T(July 1,1931) on the Fraser Canyon road
somewhere between Boston Bar and Lytton.
women's hats (always topical) with excellent
illustrations. I can recall a hat story which I
first heard some 80 years ago and which my
elders often re-told. It concerned a northern
cannery manager named Mr. Gilmore. He
was a genial man but because of his deafness
he always spoke in a very loud voice. On an
occasion before WWI I he attended a moving picture show in Prince Rupert where he
was given a seat behind a woman wearing a
wide brimmed hat with flowery, feathery
decorations. After a minute or so, Mr. G
turned to his neighbour and in a stentorian
whisper that boomed across the theater (silent pictures in those days) he remarked, "I
Bio Note: Ernest Harris has contributed several delightful articles to the B. C. Historical
News as well as providing cartoon illustrations
suited to die topic. AND he sent photographs to
illustrate this novel Letter-to-the-Editor.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 The Alberni - Qualicum Indian Trail
byA.C. (Fred) Rogers
Adam Grant Horne and wife Elizabeth. Note
the two pistols in his belt.
B.CA.R.S. A-8365
Russians as well as the Spanish had made
landings on the West Coast exploring for gold
in the 1700's. The English under Captain
Cook made contact there in 1792. The
Americans came a little later on fur trading
expeditions. But none of these ships it seems
explored the Alberni Inlet beyond Barkley
Sound. The natives living on the shore of
Somass River and tidewater had never faced
a whiteman until 1855-6, when Adam Grant
Horne, an employee of the Hudson's Bay
Company was summoned by his officers in
Victoria to launch an expedition to explore
the possibility of trading with these people
in Alberni. There were rumours that a trail
existed overland between Qualicum and
Alberni, and his mission was to locate and
explore this route. To the best of their knowledge, no white men had previously used this
trail, so the feasibility of finding the trail and
the dangers the small party might encounter
were unknown.
Young Adam Horne was selected to lead
this party for obvious reasons. He was a powerful man about six feet three inches tall
weighing about 230 pounds. He was only
twenty years of age when he first arrived in
Victoria from the ship Princess Royal in
1851. He was put in charge of the company
store in Nanaimo, and soon acquired some
skill in dealing with the natives and their customs. He was known to be courageous and
not easily intimidated.
Horne was sent to Victoria where his party
were outfitted with a large Indian canoe and
provisions. His men included three Iroquois
Indians from Eastern Canada and another
local Indian from Victoria known as Cote.
He was acting as interpreter and the others
were selected as skilled canoe handlers.
Their First Expedition North
The explorers left Victoria early on the
morning of Saturday, May 10, 1855. (There
are conflicting reports about the date. An-
There are reasons to believe this
historic Indian trail existed centuries before European white men
explored Vancouver Island. Most
of the native tribes on the island
lived in isolated bands close to
tidewater or rivers near tidewater
where salmon could be easily harvested. Some of these bands were
on friendly terms with other tribal
bands who did a little trading or
visitation for many reasons. There
existed however, other groups of
natives known to be fearful warriors and of a savage nature, living on the northern mainland and
the Queen Charlotte Islands. For
reasons only known to themselves, they occasionally embarked on voyages to make war
with other tribes living a more
peaceful existence. The natives living in the Alberni Valley were not
plagued to such a degree by warlike northern Indians.
The aboriginal first nation people living on the West Coast of
Vancouver Island often made
contact with white traders. The
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Adam Grant Home's
Historic Expedition
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 other source claimed it was
1856.) The group made their
first stopover by a little island
near Saltspring Island. They
didn't light a campfire for fear
of a possible attack from the
Cowichan natives. Their next
landing was on Newcastle Island
near Nanaimo, and no campfires
were made. On the third day, a
good breeze and a small sail
brought the men to Qualicum,
but a gale forced a landing about
a mile south of the Qualicum
River. (Big Qualicum). Once
again they concealed themselves
in the forest that evening with
their canoe. Horne had Cote
posted to stand guard with a loaded musket
for fear of attack. These precautions paid off.
Near daybreak, one of the guards woke
Horne who was sleeping. A large group of
Indians in about twenty huge canoes each
holding about twenty or more men were closing in towards the mouth of the river. This
turn of events caused considerable delay. In
due time, the Haida warriors were seen leaving the river, and when well out of sight, the
group proceeded to the river. Large columns
of smoke were rising above the forest, and
the men feared the band of Indians known
to be living up the river had been attacked.
A short distance upstream, the men came
upon a most frightful scene. They had noted
many warriors leaving the river were standing and chanting while holding the heads of
victims as trophies. The village was still burning, while scattered around were the headless nude bodies of women and men. It
appeared there were no survivors, but one of
the men heard a faint sound near the river
and found an old woman hiding under the
roots of a large tree. She had somehow escaped in the turmoil but was badly wounded.
They did what they could to help but she
was failing away. They learned the warriors
had taken some young girls and boys as prisoners, and she was the lone survivor. Horne
was hoping she could tell them if a trail existed and where it started, but she soon passed
away. Home's men begged him to abandon
this dangerous mission, but he was determined to fulfill his commission.
Searching For The Trail
From the mouth ofthe river, the men paddled about two miles north and cached their
canoe and some provisions for the return trip.
They entered the heavy forest and began
A view to the head of Horne Lake. The dotted line shows approximately the route of
tbe old trail
Photo courtesy of author
walking south hoping to find a trail. This
was slow, hard work, but four hours later,
they came upon a trail. It went in a northwesterly direction so they followed it. (There
was no mention about crossing the river so
we can assume the trail was on the north side
ofthe river.)
It was late that evening when they came
upon a large lake. As they were dead tired,
they made camp in the forest away from the
trail to avoid any contact with other Indians
that might be passing through. Their evening
was occupied by Cote who related to Horne,
some of the old woman's last words before
she died. She said their band was related to
the Cape Mudge band, and some time ago,
the Haidas attempted to steal the Chief's
daughter. During the battle, some Haida men
were killed and this battle was for revenge.
The Haidas deemed it unwise to attack Cape
Mudge knowing it was guarded, so they quietly paddled up the Qualicum River undetected and out of sight to make a surprise
The explorer's night was most unpleasant.
They were disturbed by the howling of wolves
nearby about midnight and the screech of a
cougar. Cote then stood guard until the
wolves were gone for they feared their food
might be found. They discovered nothing was
disturbed that night but two large wolves
were still near their camp.
The trail alternately followed the lakeshore
or in the forest. They noted the beach was
marked with spoors of bears, deer and elk.
The trail itself ran helter - skelter in the forest with many needless detours around windfalls that with a little work could be by-passed.
Horne shot a young elk that morning to supplement their diet with fresh meat, and they
carefully cached the rest for the return trip.
The afternoon was hard work
from the head of the lake while
climbing the steep mountain.
They made camp again and
Adam Horne posted two men to
stand guard, alternating every
four hours. They were not taking chances of being discovered
by wandering natives. The next
morning they continued the
hard climb and reached the summit of the pass about noon.
From there they had a view of
the Alberni Valley. After hiding
more supplies for the return trip,
they started down the mountain.
Horne described this trail as exceedingly steep, with many
rocky bluffs where they eased their way down
by holding onto bush. From the foot of the
mountain, the trail went directly to an Indian village on the Somass River.
Contact With The Indians
The arrival of Home's party produced great
alarm and excitement. Most of them had
never met a white man before. They ran into
the forest shouting to each other. None were
in sight but they stayed nearby and an arrow
struck a tree close to Home's head. Cote advised them to keep under cover in the forest.
Most of the tribe were on the far side of the
river. When the alarm subsided, Cote and
Adam paddled over with some gifts and biscuits where they met the Chief. He was quite
a fearsome looking man that Cote didn't
trust. He was given a blanket, a knife and
some biscuits they placed on the ground, and
they then retreated to a safer distance at the
foot of the mountain to make camp where
they had the first good meal that day.
Another meeting was arranged, and a
young Indian from the Nitinat Tribe near
Victoria who was held as a slave wanted to
return to his own people. Adam bargained
with the Chief to release the youth for two
blankets which he accepted. The Chief however came forward with the boy and now demanded three blankets. Horne refused and a
dangerous situation prevailed. When the
Chief took the boy away, Horne took hold
of him and tossed the two blankets at the
Chief's feet. Adam Horne broke the deadlock by firing his musket; that alarmed the
natives who ran offleaving the two blankets.
The party then hastily broke camp before the
Chief returned with a war party. They ascended the mountain to a safe distance and
posted guards around their camp. They left
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Dr. John Helmcken.
before dawn, and when near the summit, a
few Indians were seen in the forest. They had
a quick breakfast there and found their cache
They arrived at the lake again, shot some
mallards for supper and left early the next
morning, after another tense restless night
where they kept a fire to ward off the howling wolves.
The group planned to follow the trail to
the Qualicum River massacre site, for they
didn't want to repeat the trip through the
pathless forest. When they figured they were
near the village site, they called a halt and
sent a scout to check things out. He returned
stating that he had found no living soul, canoes, or people out on the sea. It appeared
no one had been there after they left. Some
timbers were still smouldering and the bodies had been partially eaten by animals.
Adam Home's return trip was uneventful.
They were relieved to find their canoe and
cache intact. They kept close to shore while
going south, keeping a watchful eye for fear
ofthe Haida warriors. Horne was enthusiastically greeted when he reached Victoria. He
made a full report to his staff, but what his
report contained was probably not published.
The old trail and plans of trading were left
for a while, but Adam Horne made a number
of other trips over this route at a later date. It
is not known how his group appeased the
insult to the Chief on
their first visit. Horne
displayed great courage by returning to the
Somass River knowing
his head would be a
prized trophy.
Adam Grant Horne
was born at Kirkwall,
Orkney Island, and at
a later date, was the
owner of a store in
Nanaimo for many
years. He was married
on February 22, 1859,
to Elizabeth (nee Bate)
in Nanaimo. He died
on August 10, 1901.
Dr. John Sebastian
Helmcken of Victoria
interviewed Adam
Horne and wrote an
essay about his historic
trek across the Vancouver Island trail. In
later years, George
Bird of Port Alberni
published some of
Adam Home's adventures in the Alberni
newspaper, West Coast Advocate from Dr.
Helmcken's book - Stories of Early British
In October of 1856, James Douglas, Governor ofthe colony of Vancouver Island and
manager ofthe Hudson's Bay Company, organized another expedition to explore the
country Adam Horne had travelled. This
group was supervised by Joseph Despard
Pemberton, the H.B. Co. surveyor. He
crossed over the same trail used by Horne.
He made another crossing again the following year.
In 1859, Adam Horne and Capt. George
Henry Richards made another trip from
Qualicum River to Alberni for the purpose
of opening a road. He reported the mountains were too steep and the route could never
be used for a roadway.
In 1861, Lieutenant Richard Charles
Mayne, R.N., was instructed to find another
route if one existed through the mountains
from Alberni to Nanaimo. His party started
out from Alberni on April 29. The trip took
seven days of hard travel without the benefit
of a trail. He had a crew of six Indians for
guiding and packing as well as William E.
Banfield and one Royal Marine from H.M.S.
Hecate. The men had trouble keeping the
Mrs. Nicholas and her children walked over the Indian trail in 1886.
Alberni Valley Museum-PN 745
Indians moving, for they stopped for the
slightest reasons. One man complained his
feet were hurting him and wanted some
boots. He was given boots but he didn't wear
them. He carried the boots on his pack. For
some unknown reason, the Indians had never
used this route they were blazing through.
They had no knowledge of Cameron Lake
or the country they travelled through. The
new trail was eventually upgraded and in
1890 a wagon road was built over the route.
It followed the north shore of Cameron Lake
and not where the present highway exists.
Many pioneers and travellers used the
original Qualicum Alberni trail. Every group
that went through did improvement work
to shorten the trail. In 1874, Father Brabant
wrote in his diary that he walked over this
trail which was greatly improved. And Missionary Father Eussen walked the trail in winter with an Indian who carried his blankets
and rifle. He made the trip in 1884 and
walked from Qualicum to Nanaimo.
Other travellers include CA. Cox who
used the trail in May, 1884. Other pioneers
who came to Alberni in 1886 were Edmund
Gill; John Love; and John Fisher. And John
C. Mollet came through in 1886 with his
mother and father.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 The most daring adventure was made by a
woman, Mrs. Sarah Nicholas with her four
young children, Bertha, Ette, Alfred and
William. Her husband had left Australia in
1885 to join his uncle, Peter Merrifield who
was in poor health. After helping his uncle
build a house, Nicholas decided to stay and
sent a message to Australia for his wife and
the four children to join him. In the meantime he built his own house for the family.
It was located beside the trail where the
present-day hydro powerlines are located just
north ofthe golf course. She walked the trail
with the help of her brother-in-law William
Nicholas in 1886. The trail had been greatly
improved by then and a boat was established
on Horne Lake to avoid a six-mile walk. One
of the children, Alfred, only four years old
died not long thereafter.
An Indian who was known as Qualicum
Joe of Qualicum established a boat on the
lake to assist travellers and the man who carried the mail from Qualicum to Alberni.
When the Anderson sawmill was built by
Capt. Edward Stamp in Alberni in 1864, one
ofthe mill hands Walter Underwood decided
to stay after the mill closed a few years later.
He married a native woman and they had a
son also named Walter who later got the contract to carry the mail over the trail twice a
month. "Watty", as he was known, first
walked the trail until he got a horse. His route
crossed over the little Qualicum River and
the big Qualicum River just below the lake
in the canyon. He had a large log for a bridge
with a handrail, and his horse often used the
bridge during high water.
When the new wagon road was opened
for travel around Cameron Lake in 1890, the
old trail was abandoned. The author could
find no evidence ofthe original trail despite
extensive searching of the area from Horne
Lake to Alberni. The area was logged by railway in the 1920's and 30's, and the trail destroyed. But hiking the area is possible by
following old logging roads and the use of a
good detailed map. But be cautious. You
could get lost, for there are many old roads
to confuse those not familiar.
Bio Note: The author makes his home in
Qualicum Beach. He describes himself alternately as a marine historian or the publisher of
two books about hiking trails, one referring to
trails in die Qualicum-Parksville area, the other
highlighting trails in the Alberni and Nanaimo
The Alberni Advocate. May & June, 1946. A detailed
account of Adam Grant Home's exploration ofthe
Qualicum-Albemi Indian trail by George Bird.
The A. Horne family history by Olga Blanche Owen—1980
in the Port Alberni Museum.
The Nicholas FamUy by Margaret Trebett: Available in the
Port Alberni Museum.
Personal interview with Mrs. Lil Swanson (granddaughter of
the pioneer Nicholas family), Port Alberni, 1995.
The Albeniis, a history of Alberni Valley by Jan Peterson.
Qualicum Beach - A history of Vancouver Island's
Best Kept Secrets, by Brad Wylie.
Opening of Teit Gallery in Merritt
by Esther Darlington
Sigurd Teit, Merritt
Courtesy Esther Darlington
A new wing in the
Nicola Valley Museum in Merritt
commemorating the
invaluable life's work
of one of North
America's foremost
James A. Teit, is "A
start", says his son
Sigurd Teit. The
opening is long overdue.
Teit's almost life-long absorption of native
Indian cultures and languages, provided the
meat and bones of studies by famous anthropologists such as Franz Boaz. Boaz's historic
meeting with Teit near Spences Bridge is a
theme sought by the Nicola Valley Museum
Archives Association and a number of distinguished researchers across North America
to be commemorated in a postage stamp. An
application and supportive material was sent
to Canada Post, Ottawa, last year.
The new wing includes artifacts and written work by Teit, a buckskin shirt worn by
Teit, a gun case, and a camera. Other artifacts include a variety of coiled pots and trays,
cooking utensils, tools, clothing, photographs
and a mural by Susan Stevenson, depicting
Teit as a chronicler of native life, language
and traditions.
The Teit Gallery is the newest addition of
the Nicola Valley Museum. Most ofthe artifacts in the gallery were donated by Teit's son,
Launching the new gallery July 31, 1995
were a number of civic and provincial government officials, including the Mayor, Clara
Nygaard; The Honorable Bill Barlee, Minister of Small Business, Tourism and Culture;
MLA Harry Lalli; native elder Mary Coutlee;
Linguist Mandy Jimmie; former chief Don
Moses; Professor Rod Sprague, University of
Idaho; Dan Bruce of Kelowna Museum;
David Scheffel, University College of the
Cariboo; and others. All acknowledge Teit's
invaluable contribution to the preservation
of native Indian cultures of several tribes;
Thompson, Shuswap, Lillooet, and
Dan Bruce, who was doing a degree in
Anthropology in London when he discovered Teit's work, said the work was a revelation to him. Absent of jargon, comprehensive
and true in its interpretation, Bruce said, "It
was a real person, talking about real people
in a real place. You could understand it".
Native spokeswoman, Carol Michel, said,
"It is important to Indians to see what Teit
collected. The song recordings made by Teit
were the beginning of the collections made
Don Moses said, "We are indebted to Teit.
To me, the man really adopted the Indian
ways, otherwise he would never have been
able to collect what he collected".
Professor Sprague said, "Many years ago,
as a graduate student working with a professor Alex Smith, I was told by him, "Begin
with the Thompson Indians by James A.
"It is the start of recognition of James A.
Teit", said Sigurd Teit at the end ofthe ceremony. "When we grew up, nobody knew
who James Teit was, and something like this
is very important."
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Health Care Changes in the Early 1900s
by Glennis Zilm and Ethel Warbinek
University of British Columbia at Fairview site on grounds of Vancouver General Hospital, circa 1919. The three-storey stone building
was used for classes and is surrounded by the wooden buUdings that gave rise to die name "Fairview Shacks".
Courtesy Special Collections UBC Library
Health, in the early 1900s, was a challenge.
Just being healthy and remaining so was difficult. Typhoid, cholera, and tuberculosis
were still common causes of death, especially
in cities, where sewage systems were often
inadequate and where unpaved, muddy
streets were littered with refuse and manure
from horse-drawn vehicles. Home sanitation
measures about clean food and water remained problems for the general populace.
Despite increases in scientific knowledge and
introduction of new vaccines, infectious diseases such as smallpox, whooping cough
(pertussis), measles, scarlet fever, and infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis) remained major
killers. Workplace accidents killed many
heads ofthe households, leaving families fatherless. Puerperal fever was a common killer
of women following childbirth, leaving families motherless. Large families were the norm,
but one of four newborns was likely to die
before the second birthday. Medical knowledge had expanded but, generally speaking,
statistics on sickness (morbidity) and death
(mortality) were not noticeably improving.
The public health movement of the early
1900s in British Columbia set out to change
all that. The main impetus called for educa-
' tion of public health nurses, who were to
introduce health instruction in home and
school, oversee sanitary measures, and assist
in providing maternal and child nursing care.
The call was for university education for
nurses, especially for those nurses who would
carry out new public health duties and those
who would be teaching in nursing programs.
In response, the first degree program in nursing in Canada opened at the University of
British Columbia in the fall of 1919. As with
all such innovations, this event occurred in
response to a variety of contemporary social
pressures. For example, at this time, nurses
were prepared only in hospital schools of
nursing and their programs concentrated on
preparing young women to carry out bedside care. Nursing leaders and enlightened
public health officials recognized that better
educated nurses would be able to do much
more than bedside care and would be able to
introduce measures to deal with the appalling health problems of the day.
During the "golden years" of 1900 to 1914,
Vancouver's population had quadrupled from
27,000 to more than 113,000.' Despite economic fluctuations, the province became
more industrialized and urbanized, with a
growing affluent middle class. This period
of growth and prosperity also was a factor in
prompting the major changes in the ways
health care in general and education of nurses
in particular were offered.
Payment for most
health care in the
1910s and 1920s was
the responsibility of
the individual patient or family; medical and nursing care
insurance was almost
non-existent. Private
plans, such as Metropolitan Health Insurance, were just
beginning to be set
up, although many
early nursing leaders
advocated government-run insurance
programs. Most
graduate nurses were
paid by their patients
for bedside care in the home. However, in
many communities and rural areas, a nurse
was the only health worker available and
some communities arranged for the nurse to
do teaching and health promotion.
Organization of public health services in
B.C. began in 1893 with establishment of
the Provincial Board of Health. Dr. CJ.
Fagan, secretary ofthe Board, was soon urging that nurses should visit schools and homes
to educate the public about better infant and
child care and to assist in reducing the incidence of tuberculosis and other communicable diseases. The first "school nurse" in
Vancouver was appointed in 1910 by the city
to help supervise the health of 9,800 children in Vancouver's 16 schools.2 In 1911, a
provincial act to provide for medical inspection in schools was passed, but as few physicians were available to carry out this work,
the provincial authorities called for use of
"school nurses" throughout the province.
Despite this start, however, in 1914, the death
rate in children under age two was 25%.3 Dr.
Henry Esson Young, minister of education
and responsible for the provincial board of
health, called for better educated nurses who
could provide more comprehensive public
health care, including family health teaching.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Dr. Henry Esson Young, minister of education and
responsible for the provincial board of health. He
was responsible for guiding through legislation
calling for medical inspections of all schools in the
province. After he retired from politics, he became
the bead of the provincial board of health, later
the provincial health department. This portrait
was taken in 1911.
BCARS #A-02547
Emphasis on Education
British Columbia already had a strong
commitment to improved education in many
fields. B.C.'s public school system had been
co-educational since its inception in the
1850s, but with increased prosperity in the
province, high school education was becoming the norm. A Provincial Normal School,
for education of teachers, had opened in Vancouver in 1899 with 50 students.4
Training schools for nurses had been
among the first higher-level educational institutions in B.C. The first Canadian nursing program to be based on the educational
model developed by Florence Nightingale
had opened in St. Catharine's, Ontario, in
1874. Nightingale's far-reaching influence
had caused many changes in nursing education, but one outcome was that it had become largely a female occupation. B.C.'s first
Nightingale-based nursing program opened
at Victoria's Royal Jubilee Hospital in 18915
and by 1899 Vancouver had its first nursing
Changes in health care, new scientific advances, and increased emphasis on public
education and prevention of illness made
public health nursing a potentially appealing and rewarding career. Nurses recognized,
however, that such a career required advanced
education, and nursing leaders were calling
for university programs. Hospital nursing
education programs prepared graduates only
for bedside work in hospital settings. Illness
prevention, family education,
and community leadership
were not taught, despite the
fact that once nursing students
graduated almost all worked as
private duty nurses in patients'
The move to university
preparation for nurses had begun in Scodand in 1893, when
students at the Glasgow Infirmary received short courses in
theory at St. Mungo's College
before they began their practical work at the hospital.7 In the
United States, the first university course for graduate nurses
had opened at Teachers College, Columbia University,
New York, in 1899. Canada
was not far behind.
Nurses, like other women's
groups, were forming organizations to promote better care
for the public and better education for themselves. A graduate nurses' association had
been formed in B.C. in 1912,
with Scharley Wright (later
Mrs. Bryce Brown), a school
nurse in New Westminster, as
its first president. This association secured provincial legislation for registration in 1918.9 The legislation
ensured registered nurses met proper standards and thus protected the public from unqualified practitioners; it also established the
first minimum standards for training schools.
The public interest in education had led
to the opening of the University of British
Columbia (UBC) in 1915. The first classes
for the 379 registrants were held in a three-
storey former hospital building located on
the Fairview property ofthe Vancouver General Hospital (the "Fairview Shacks"). Although a site at Point Grey had been allocated
by the provincial government, Canada's entry into World War I in August 1914 turned
attention and funds away from grand university plans. Despite the war, by 1918 the
student population in the three faculties of
the time (Arts, Agriculture, and Applied Science) was 273 females and 265 males.10 This
predominance of women was considered
"temporary" because ofthe numbers of young
men serving overseas. The numbers of
women, however, was evidence of another
trend ofthe time.
Ethel Johns, first head of 'the department of nursing at the University
of British Columbia, 1919-1925.
Courtesy of UBC School of Nursing Archives
A Growing Feminism
The Women's Movement had emerged in
the late 1800s and early 1900s. This early
feminism was another important social pressure. British Columbia women had joined
the agitation for suffrage and obtained the
vote in 1917, with B.C. the fourth province
to gain the franchise. The Canada Election
Act of 1918 gave women voting rights in federal elections.
Several women's organizations developed
around the turn of the century so women
could support one another and make their
collective voices heard in their demands for
better educational, employment, and political opportunities. The National Council of
Women was formed in 1895, with one of its
goals the improvement of the health of
women during the childbearing period. The
local councils were particularly interested in
the development of schools of nursing and
improvements in public health nursing care.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 When Countess Ishbel Aberdeen, wife of Canada's
Governor-General and a
founder of the National
Council, was in Vancouver
in 1896, the idea of a visiting nursing service, modelled on a British service,
was suggested to her by two
Vancouver women.11, 12
This sparked the establishment in 1897 of the Victorian Order of Nurses
(VON) for Canada t«
bring nursing services to
women in poor, rural, and
isolated areas and so reduce
the high maternal and child
mortality rates.
Ethel Johns-First  Director
Development of UBC's
Nursing Program
All these factors contributed to the demands in B.C. for a university-based nursing education program. As
well, the heroic activities of nurses during
World War I and in the care of the Spanish
flu victims in the post-war, world-wide epidemic of 1918-1919 had imparted a glorification of nurses. Nurses had served
magnificently in field hospitals, often near
the front lines, and were icons to be emulated. Even women's fashions were influenced
by the shorter, more practical length of the
skirts of nurses' uniforms.
Authorities had also recognized that the
young men called up for military duty could
have benefited from better health education
during their early years. Many had failed the
physical exam and evinced a lack of nutrition and health education during infancy and
childhood years. Following the war, the
League of Red Cross Societies called on the
national associations to put their peace-time
efforts into prevention of disease (especially
tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and malaria)
and promotion of health.
The influenza epidemic, which killed more
than 50 million people world-wide and
50,000 in Canada, also brought home to the
public the need for better health care generally. Authorities awakened to the fact that
such care could be provided by well-prepared
public health nurses.
The influential Dr. Young definitely
favored advanced education in public health.
As minister responsible for school health, he
had promoted the School Medical Inspection Act of 1911. This legislation called for
Ethel Johns, first head ofthe department of nursing, with the ten students enrolled in the UBC
degree program in 1921.
Courtesy of UBC School of Nursing Archives
every school child in the province to have a
physical examination every year. He and Dr.
Fagan had appointed the first provincial
school nurse in 1913 and soon most centres
also had school nurses (either under the provincial department or through a local school
board). As well, he believed well qualified
Mary Ard. MacKenzie was instructor of public
health nursing in the UBC Department of Public
Health funded by the Red Cross from 1920 to
Courtesy of UBC School of Nursing Archives
public health nurses could
fill the new role of public
health inspectors.13
In February 1919, the
UBC Senate considered a
letter from Dr. Malcolm T.
MacEachern, medical superintendent of the Vancouver General Hospital,
asking the University to
take over instruction of
nursing students through a
Department or Chair of
Nursing. Dr. MacEachern
was an internationally
known administrator who
was especially concerned
about standards of care and
he believed strongly that all
nursing education should
be in universities. He proposed UBC should control
all nursing education in the
province, with various approved hospitals
used for practical experience. Dr. Robert
McKechnie, chancellor of UBC and chair of
the Senate meeting, was a close working colleague of Dr. MacEachern and also supported
these views.
After much deliberation, the Senate and
Board of Governors approved the idea of a
Department of Nursing14 under the Faculty
of Applied Science, and the stage was set for
the first baccalaureate nursing degree program in Canada to open in the fall of 1919.
The Board of Governors had been advised
that Vancouver General Hospital would pay
the salary ofthe head ofthe nursing department, and approval was thus given on the
grounds that the University would have no
financial responsibility. The approved program called for two years of university courses
(at least one of which must be at UBC), two
years in an approved hospital program, and
a final year at UBC.
Ethel Johns became the first director, appointed in August of 1919 to be both Superintendent of Nurses at Vancouver General
Hospital and head of the newly approved
UBC!! Department of Nursing. A graduate of
the Winnipeg General Hospital School of
Nursing with a year in the university program at Teachers College, she was a strong,
dynamic leader. She had been instrumental
in urging university nursing education in
Canada. She had the foresight to see that a
strong, science-based, liberal education for
nurses belonged in a university system, paid
for from educational, rather than health care,
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 The Saanich Health Centre, opened in 1919, was the first provincial
public health department.
Courtesy of Canadian Public Health Association
budgets. She accepted the challenges of trying to bring such a program into being.
She arrived in Vancouver from Manitoba,
where she had been head of the Winnipeg
Children's Hospital, and began her new role
on October 1, 1919. She remained only six
years, a turbulent time during which she set
a secure foundation for the UBC Nursing
Program. She left to become field director of
nursing programs in Europe for the
Rockefeller Foundation and to fill a variety
of influential positions in the United States.
She returned to Canada in 1933 to become
editor of The Canadian Nurse, a professional
journal established in 1904 and still published for all nurses in Canada.
Her tenure with the UBC Nursing Department, from 1919 to 1925, reflected the social, economic, educational, cultural,
political, scientific, and technological climates of the period. However, she and the
young women who entered the first Canadian degree programs during this period also
helped shape the events for the following
Ethel Johns summarized her views on nursing education in an address to a mass meeting when she became director of nursing at
the 1,200-bed Vancouver General Hospital
in 1919.'5 She explained that when she served
on Manitoba's Royal Commission on Public
Welfare she found the politicians and the
public were looking to nurses for leadership
in health questions, for teaching, and for a
vitalizing force in community life; unfortunately, the quality of nursing education in
hospitals was not good enough to prepare
such leaders. She stressed that educational institutions would have to open their doors so
that nurses could take up the challenges of
health care. "Do you think any preparation
too broad and deep for such a task as this?"
she asked. "Do you think we can rest satisfied with what we have? It is good, but not
good enough."16
The fact that the UBC
program succeeded is a
tribute both to her skills
and to the enthusiasm
and support she received
from nurses and from
medical and public leaders who supported these
goals. It is also a tribute
to the dedication of the
young graduates of the
program who went into
the communities and
changed the way health
care was delivered. Their contributions have
not been adequately reported or acknowledged in histories over the years, but change
health care they did.
The Cowichan Health Centre opened in 1920 in Duncan and provided office,
clinic space, and living quarters for public health nurses.
Courtesy of Canadian Public Health Association
The First Students
One of Ethel Johns' first acts was to meet
with and interview four young women —
Marion Fisher, Margaret Healy, Beatrice
Johnson, and Esther Naden — who were
interested in the nursing degree program and
whose educational backgrounds made it possible for them to be enrolled in the second
year of the university course. The program
proved to be a hard and demanding one for
these young women.
Bea Johnson reported much later that the
1919-1920 university year was heavy on the
sciences and "was a very strenuous year."17
As female students in this era usually tended
to take courses in the humanities rather than
the sciences, the nursing students had a
number ofthe science courses to make up so
they would achieve the Senate's goals. During this year, the students also were asked to
decide whether they wished to graduate in
public health or administration. Bea Johnson
recalled, "Well, you looked at all the administrators and you didn't want that. "19 All four
ofthe first students chose public health.
It was not surprising that they elected the
public health option; public health nursing
was the glamor and growth industry for
women at the time. The Canadian Red Cross
Society had taken as its goal improvement in
public health and, in 1920, to achieve these
ends several of its provincial branches offered
special subsidies to universities to establish
post-graduate short courses for registered
nurses so they could take up public health
UBC was offered one of these subsidies by
the B.C. Red Cross Branch. The Red Cross
proposed to pay up to $5,000 a year for three
years for the salary of a professor appointed
to a Red Cross Chair of Public Health, starting in April 1920.20 Dr. RH. Mullin, head
ofthe Department of
Bacteriology, head of
the Provincial Laboratories, and on the
medical staff of the
Vancouver General,
was considered the
logical choice to take
the Chair, but he
elected to share his
salary with a nurse to
ensure the course was
truly a nursing course.
A Department of
Public Health, separate from the Department of Nursing, was
set up under the Faculty of Arts, with Dr.
Mullin as its head.
The nurse chosen to design and teach the
first special 14-week public health nursing
course was Mary Ardcronie MacKenzie, who
had been Chief Superintendent of the Victorian Order of Nurses from 1908 to 1917.
Miss MacKenzie was well qualified for the
UBC position. Born in Toronto in 1869, she
received a bachelor of arts at the University
of Toronto in 1892, and a "Higher School"
Teacher Certificate with specialist standing
in modern languages in 1893. She taught in
high schools and was a principal of a high
school in Sherbrooke, Quebec, before entering nursing. Later, she became the second
president ofthe national nursing association.
She had expanded the training programs in
district nursing initiated by the VON around
the turn of the century, but recognized that
university programs should take over these
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Esther Naden,
is shown with
UBC's first short course in public health
nursing for graduate nurses started in November 1920. Twenty-six nurses graduated
with Certificates in Public Health Nursing
from the first course after six weeks of academic work on the Fairview campus followed
by eight weeks of field work.21 Almost immediately, a decision was made to lengthen
the course, and it became a full academic year
by the time the degree students
reached their graduating year so
both groups of students took
much the same course.
The aim of the course was to
prepare qualified graduate nurses
to deal with problems of sanitation, economics, and education
in local communities. Students
received classes from some 20
well-known and prestigious specialists, including Dr. Young and
Dr. F.T. Underhill, Vancouver
medical health officer. One important lecturer was Judge Helen
Gregory MacGill ofthe B.C. Juvenile Court,
the first woman appointed as a judge in the
province. Dr. L.S. Klinck, president of UBC,
and Mr. M.F. Angus of the Department of
Economics, UBC, also gave lectures to the
nurses as did Dr. MacEachern and Ethel
Johns and a host of other nurses, social workers, and economists. Field work was taken at
local branches of the Victorian Order of
Nurses in Vancouver, the Rotary Institute for
Chest Diseases in Vancouver, the Vancouver
School Board and City Health Department,
and the Social Service Department run by
the Women's Auxiliary of the Vancouver
General Hospital and in Saanich and
The latter were selected for field work experience because they were B.C.'s first pro-
vincially-run health centres. Saanich opened
in 1919, with financing from local taxes and
grants from the Provincial Board of Health.
In 1920, the Cowichan Health Centre at
Duncan and the Rural Esquimalt Nursing
District at Langford (near Victoria) were established.22
The province-wide public health service
became a network of health centres in local
districts throughout the province through
which these nurses would work. Each district set up a community board to administer the service. In some districts, part of the
funds came from the Provincial Department
of Education, which had agreed to pay the
same grant for a public health nurse as for a
teacher.23 The public health nurse was to be
a generalist working to improve health of
children and families. A major portion ofthe
work included infectious disease control, especially identification and control of tuberculosis. As well, the nurse would introduce
well-baby clinics and school health programs
that would allow greater education of the
charge nurse at the Saanich Health Centre, circa 1925,
the department's car.
Courtesy of Canadian Public Health Association
Early Public Health Nursing in B.C.
A look at the early careers of some of the
graduates ofthe first certificate class reflects
how these young women spread out through
the province taking health care to the people
of B.C.
Louise Buckley graduated from the course
with first-class honors and joined the School
Health Department in Saanich. The small
community of Saanich, later a part of the
Greater Victoria area, was a model for the
rest of the province. In an interview in the
early 1980s, Louise Buckley recalled that she
had introduced hot lunches in Saanich
schools, a "first" in ensuring that students
received at least one hot, healthful meal a day.
She recalled the necessity of learning to
change tires on the department's Model-T
Ford, which was rather a high technology
item for the nursing staff as horses-and-bug-
gies were still much more common on the
roads than cars.
. Margaret Griffin also went as a public
health nurse to Saanich and recalled that she
received $43 a month and her board; the
wage came partly through money from the
municipality and partly through donations
and fees. Saanich public health nurses lived
in a comfortable home built by the municipality as a war memorial health centre, with
a married couple hired to cook and maintain the grounds. With such amenities, the
Saanich Health Unit soon became a highly
desirable area for field work for UBC's nursing students.
Muriel Harman won the $100 Red Cross
Prize given for the highest marks in the first
course and after graduation went to work for
the VON in Burnaby. She established the first
well-baby clinic in that municipality. Like
public health nurses in other districts, she
frequently offered nursing care in the home,
including a 24-hour service for maternity care
following home deliveries. A few years later,
she became a nurse-missionary in the Belgian Congo (later Zaire) where, after 37 years
as a nurse and teacher, she was captured by
forces opposed to independence and machine-gunned to death in 1964.24
Winnifred Ehlers, whose grandmother had
been a Red Cross nurse during the American Revolution, went to Eagle Bay in the
Shuswap area northeast of Kamloops, one
of eight nursing stations set up by the Red
Cross in B.C. 's isolated districts.25 Although
the Red Cross provided cars for nurses in
some districts, Nurse Ehlers used horse and
buggy in the summer and horse and cutter
in winter, even crossing the lake on the ice
when it was frozen over. One woman later
As a small child in Blind Bay, I remember
Nurse Winnie Ehlers making her regular visits to the school. Knowing that some ofthe
children were unable to buy toothbrushes and
paste, she told us how to clean our teeth with
a clean cloth and salt. She lectured the pupils on personal hygiene — how to wash our
hands and keep our fingernails clean. She also
showed, using a doll, the correct way to care
for and hold a baby. This was useful information for older children with newborn siblings. She showed parents how to deal with
headlice (sic) and how to control ringworm
with a solution made by soaking coppers
(pennies) in vinegar. It left a nasty brown
stain, I recall. I remember when goitres were
a common problem, and for nine days each
month for a period of three months, we were
given a glass of water and an iodine capsule
first thing in the school day.26
This same author notes that the nurse
made a monthly visit to the school, checking for head lice, goitres, bad teeth, infectious rashes, ringworm, and enlarged tonsils.
One month Nurse Ehlers examined this
young girl's throat and made a note to ask
the doctor, on his annual visit, to check the
tonsils, which the doctor then said must be
removed. The youngster, whose mother had
died, was accompanied on "the biggest adventure of my life" by Nurse Ehlers; the two
had to travel to the rail line on the mail truck
when the mail carrier made his weekly visit,
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 then by train (of which the youngster had
seen only pictures) to Kamloops where she
was fascinated by sidewalks, street lamps, and
a "box on the wall" into which the nurse
talked. Following the operation and return
journey, the youngster was a celebrity as "the
first in the family to see the wonders of'outside'. "27
Another member ofthe first public health
certificate class, Christina West Thorn, was
hired following graduation by the Red Cross
in Kamloops. The Kamloops Junior Red
Cross Auxiliary had been formed during the
War and, after a short hiatus, re-formed to
assist in health education; it welcomed the
idea of a Red Cross nurse and paid half the
initial annual salary of $166.72, while the
city agreed to pay the other half.29 By May
of 1921, Christina Thorn had opened a
weekly well-baby clinic, a new idea for which
the mothers at first had to be convinced of
the concept of a clinic for well babies, not
sick ones. She also began classes in home
nursing and hygiene, offered in the high
school to teenage girls and through evening
classes to adults. Christina Thorn also visited the schools giving classes and weighing
and measuring more than 6,800 students in
1922; underweight children received home
visits and had their diets supplemented with
cod-liver oil at school.
Josephine (Jo) Peters was another of the
graduates of the first certificate class to join
the provincial public health service. After
receiving her certificate, she worked for the
Rotary Clinic in Vancouver, a position sponsored by the Rotary Clubs to help provide
care for tuberculosis patients. Tuberculosis
was a leading cause of death, with one in 10
deaths attributed to consumption or "the
white plague," as it was frequently called. By
the late 1920s, however, its spread was coming under control through good public health
nursing measures. The Provincial Board of
Health held clinics throughout the province
to identify patients and their contacts, and a
central province-wide registry was established. Seriously ill patients were admitted
to special TB wards or to the Tranquille Sanatorium, near Kamloops, which had become
a provincial institution in 1921. The local
public health nurses followed up patient care
for those at home and for all contacts, teaching them about infection control, rest, nutrition, and personal care. In 1924, thanks
to funding assistance from the Anti-Tuberculosis Societies, Jo Peters was appointed first
as Travelling Nurse then as Tuberculosis
Nursing Supervisor for the Provincial Health
Photograph showing the public health home visiting
uniform worn during the 1920s.
Courtesy of UBC School of Nursing Archives
Services, a position she held with distinction
until retirement in 1948.29 During her career, she saw many changes as tuberculosis
care improved.
Tuberculosis was an everyday menace in
the 1920s, and overworked nurses frequently
contracted it. A generally accepted maxim in
schools of nursing in the early part of the
century was that one nurse from every class
likely would die from TB. Marion Fisher, one
ofthe first nurses in the degree program, went
to the TB San at Tranquille as a patient immediately following graduation in 1923. She
had been diagnosed early and was not an
advanced case; after about a year she went to
Gabriola Island to complete her recovery.
Esther Naden, also one of the first degree
nurses, recalled that she had five close friends
— two nurses and three non-nurses — die
of TB in the early 1920s: "It was very prevalent at the time. Bone and joint TB was common because ofthe unpasteurized milk. ...
Tremendous numbers of children had scars
on their necks from tuberculous glands."30
Margaret Allan Thatcher, a certificate
graduate in 1922, had a more rewarding personal experience with the family tragedies
that could result fromTB contacts. In 1924,
a young mother had to be admitted to
Tranquille, leaving two small twin babies
behind. A child welfare worker asked Meg
Thatcher, who was at home caring for her ill
father at the time, to take in the twin boys as
foster children because they were TB contacts, malnourished, and needing special care.
The boys remained throughout their young
childhood with Meg Thatcher and, although
this was unusual for a single woman to do in
this era, she eventually adopted them about
six years later and raised them as her own.31
The other degree students also practiced
primarily in public health after graduation.
Esther Naden, who had entered the program
in 1919, had taken a leave because of a serious illness of her mother and did not graduate until 1924. Bea Johnson took a job with
the Victorian Order of Nurses in Montreal,
where she was primarily involved with maternity care, helped with home deliveries,
and gave new mothers advice about baby
care. At the community centre, she lectured
on nutrition and care of babies, using a doll
to demonstrate bathing and handling. During her stay in Montreal, she made several
trips to New York to see stage productions
and renewed her friendship with Freddy
Wood, a young professor she had met while
a member of the Players Club at UBC. At
his urging, she returned to Vancouver, where
she became the nurse in charge ofthe emergency department until their marriage. Then,
as was typical of the time, she gave up her
nursing career, returning only for brief stints
as a volunteer.
Marion Fisher joined the public health
nursing unit in Kamloops after she recovered
from her bout with tuberculosis. She was
there for 10 months and did school nursing.
There she met a young man and was soon
married and they went to China as missionaries for several years.
By the end ofthe 1923-1924 academic
year, the Department had taken root. The
first degree students had graduated, the diploma programs had proven strong enough
to continue despite the end ofthe Red Cross
funding, and the graduates were being welcomed throughout the province. The UBC
Senate and Board of Governors sanctioned
the Department of Nursing and undertook
its funding.
The nursing degree program offered
through the University of British Columbia,
which began in 1919, was the first in Canada,
and marked a recognition of a need for better educational preparation for nurses. As
Ethel Johns, the director ofthe program, said
of this movement into university settings:
"We are building here for the future [... and]
we earnestly hope that the foundation will
be well and truly laid."32
The foundations were "well and truly laid,"
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 public health care once again
a priority. And nurses are once
again being seen as the main
providers for primary health
Marg McPhee, public health nurse, is shown weighing an infant at a
well-baby clinic.
Courtesy of Canadian Public Health Association
but the future has been a long time coming.
When the UBC program began, far-sighted
leaders saw this as a first step to get nursing
education out of hospitals, where student
nurses were exploited for service needs at the
expense of educational goals. It was not until 1989 that all hospital schools of nursing
in B.C. closed their doors and nurses received
their education either in colleges or universities. The baccalaureate degree as the educational foundation for nursing is still the
goal of most nurses' associations, but remains
The founding principles of the UBC
course continue to be appropriate, given
1990s changes proposed by the provincial
government to bring health care "closer to
home." Health care is once again being seen
as an individual responsibility, and the need
for health promotion and health education
in the community has never been greater.
Such changes as the growing population of
seniors, the rise of new diseases such as AIDS,
and the development of treatment-resistant
strains of bacteria and viruses are making
This article is adapted from
the early chapters of Legacy;
History of Nursing Education at the University of British Columbia 1919-1994, by
Glennis  Zilm   and   Ethel
Warbinek. (Vancouver: UBC
School of Nursing I UBC
Press, 1994.) Copies ofthe
book may be obtained for $35 (includes shipping and GST) through UBC Press, 6344
Memorial Road, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z2.
Bio: Glennis Zilm is a freelance writer and editor on nursing and health care. Ethel Warbinek
is an assistant professor emerita ofnursingfrom
the UBC School of Nursing. They are the authors of Legacy: History of Nursing Education
at the University of British Columbia 1919-
1994 and are active members ofthe B. C. History of Nursing Professional Practice Group.
1 Anne Kloppenborg, Alice Niwinski, Eve Johnson, & Robert
Greuetter (Eds.) Vancouver's first century: A city
album 1860-1960. Vancouver: J.J. Douglas, 1977, p.
2.Monica M. Green. Through the yean with public health
nursing; A history of public health nursing in the
provincial government jurisdiction British Columbia.
Ottawa: Canadian Public Health Association, 1984, p. 7.
3. Green, 1984, p. 5.
4. A.M. Ross, The romance of Vancouvers schools (from The
British Columbia Magazine, VII (6), 443-453). In
James M. Sandison (Ed.), Schools of old Vancouver
(Occasional Paper #2). Vancouver: Vancouver Historical
Society, 1971, p. 23.
5. Anne Pearson. The Royal Jubilee Hospital School of
Nursing 1891-1982. Victoria: Alumnae Association of
the Royal Jubilee School of Nursing, 1985, p. 1.
6. Nora Kelly. Quest for a profession: The history ofthe
Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing.
Vancouver: Evergreen Press, 1973, p. 6.
7. Lavinia L. Dock & Isabel Maitland Stewart. A short
history of nursing from the earliest times to the
present day (3rd ed.). New York: CP. Putnam's Sons,
1931, p. 175.
8. Margaret Kerr. Brief history of the Registered Nurses'
Association of British Columbia Unpublished
manuscript, 1944. Available RNABC Library,
9. Rcgisrercd Nurses Act. Statutes of Brirish Columbia 1918.
Chapter 65.
10. Lee Stewarr. "It's up to you": Women at UBC in the
early years. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1990, p. 93.
11. J. M. Gibbon. The Victorian Order of Nurses for
Canada's 50th Anniversary 1897-1947. Monrreal:
Southam Press, 1947, p. 1.
12. Doris French. Ishbel and the empire: A biography of
Lady Aberdeen. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1988, p. 223.
13. Green, 1984, pp. 8-9.
14. Board of Governors Minutes, May 26, 1919.
15. Ethel Johns. The university in relation to nursing
education (Reprint). The Modern Hospital, 1920, 15
(2). [Reprint original in the Ethel Johns papers, UBC
Special Collections]
16. Johns, 1920, p. 7.
17. Beatrice Fordham Johnson Wood. Inrerview by Sheila
Zerr, Mar. 20, 1991. Vancouver: RNABC Oral Hisrory
18. Bearrice Fordham Johnson Wood. Inrerview by Beth
McCann, Feb. 22, 1981. Vancouver: UBC School of
Nursing Archival Collecrion. [Transcript available]
19. J.M. Gibbon & M.S. Mathewson. Three centuries of
Canadian nursing. Toronto: Macmillan, 1947, p. 342.
20. UBC Senate Minutes, Tuesday, April 20, 1920, pp. 145-
21. UBC Calendar, 7th Session, 1921-1922, p. 185.
22. Green, 1984, p. 12.
23. Green, 1984, p. 14.
24. Pearson, 1985, pp. 49-50.
25. May Buckingham Smith. The history ofthe Red Cross
nurses in B.C. Schuswap Chronicles, 1990a, 3, 38-39.
[Celista, BC: North Schuswap Historical Society.]
26. Smith, 1990b, p. 38.
27. May Buckingham Smith. My experience wtrh the Red
Cross nurse. Schuswap Chronicles, 1990b 3, 39-40.
[Celista, BC: Norrh Schuswap Historical Society.]
28. Susan Cross. The Red Cross in Kamloops: Almost 80
years of service. The Kamloops Daily News, Oct. 19,
1991, p. B15.
29. Green, 1984, p. 32.
30. Esther Naden Gardom. Interview by Mary Richmond,
Nov. 24, 1987. Vancouver: RNABC Oral History
31. Esther Paulson. (1988). Interview by Natalie Bland, July
12, 1988. Vancouver: UBC School of Nursing Archival
32. Johns, 1920, p. 3.
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B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 LJL. Hamilton: Surveyor: Alderman, Land
by Leonard W. Meyers
In 1887 the newly constructed transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway reached its
western terminus, Vancouver, formerly
Granville and Gastown. The first train arrived May 23rd ofthe same year.
With the building ofWilliam Van Home's
railway, Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton also
arrived in the newly incorporated and newly
named city of Vancouver. A surveyor by profession, Mr. Hamilton was also appointed the
C.P.R.'s land commissioner for the area, as
the railway was deeded large tracts of land
grants comprising almost half of the
peninsula on which the present city of Vancouver stands as part ofthe railway construction deal extending the line to Coal Harbour
instead of Port Moody, the earlier proposed
Possibly the first historical incident that
helped L.A. Hamilton achieve a measure of
recognition toward posterity was when Van
Horne earlier visited the proposed Vancouver - as yet unnamed - terminus, and as a
bronze plaque mounted in Pioneer Square
recorded the historic meeting between the
two men in these words: "Here, in the silence of the forest covering the C.P.R.
townsite stood Van Home, Vice President of
Canadian Pacific Railway and L.A. Hamil-
Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton, Dominion land
surveyor and CP.R land commissioner.
Vancouver City Archives Port. N. 1065, Port. P. 147
ton, land
From a 1936painting by John Innes. Vancouver's first council meeting
in 1886, and the city's first mayor, Malcolm A. MacLean standing at
head of table. Alderman L~A. Hamilton seated in front row fifth from
Vancouver City Archives P. 34, U22
commissioner. Van Horne exclaimed "Hamilton! Hamilton!
This is destined to be a great
city. Perhaps the greatest in
Canada, and we must see to it
that it has a name commensurate with its destiny and importance. And Vancouver it shall
be if I have the ultimate decision."
To further enshrine
this noteworthy event, years
later a bronze plaque was
erected to commemorate L.A.
Hamilton, surveyor for the
C.P.R. The inscription reads:
plaque is firmly mounted on a building on
the southwest corner of Hastings and Hamilton Streets at Victory Square in downtown
Vancouver. The plaque was designed and
dedicated under the auspices of J.S.
Matthews, City Archivist, and unveiled on
April 20, 1953.
Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton was born
in eastern Canada in 1852. He graduated as
a civil engineer. As such, he carried out important duties for the C.P.R. surveying the
towns of Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current,
Calgary and Vancouver. His Vancouver surveys commenced in 1885, a year before the
great fire.
As a sidelight to that disastrous conflagration which also destroyed Vancouver's first
makeshift city hall, Hamilton described the
aftermath in these words: "In all history, no
City Hall had been built more rapidly than
the one I erected in five minutes the morning after "The Fire." We got a tent. I was
senior Alderman. I got a can of paint, a brush
and a piece of board, and labelled it CITY
HALL. We held council meetings in it, a
magistrate's court sat there, at the foot of
Carrall Street at Water Street."
As L.A. Hamilton began his 1885 survey
he drove a nail into a sturdy wooden stake at
the corner of Hastings and Hamilton Streets.
As a result ofthe great fire, he was compelled
to again retrace his original survey. A difficult task, as many of his first markings were
obliterated by the fire.
L.A. Hamilton was a man of many parts
and talents: civil engineer, Dominion land
surveyor, an Alderman in Vancouver's first
city council, visionary, and an amateur artist
of no mean talent. One of his water-color
paintings of a lush Vancouver forest scene
hangs in the third floor foyer of Vancouver's
city hall.
Hamilton surveyed Stanley Park's first
roads. And the perimeter road around the
park is virtually identical with his original
Lauchlan Hamilton was a man endowed
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 with considerable foresight and he was firmly
convinced that Vancouver was destined to
become a great city, a
vision shared by
William Cornelius Van
Horne, builder of the
spectacular Canadian
Pacific Railway. It was
this vision that motivated senior Alderman
Hamilton to seek the
support of the rest of
the Aldermen to procure what was then a
federal military reserve
(today's Stanley Park)
and to see it turned over
to the young city of
Vancouver on a long-
term lease basis for park
The idea of procuring the old military reserve for city parkland
grew out of a letter Hamilton, the C.ER. land
commissioner, received from Van Horne on
January 12, 1885 informing him that the
railway company had asked the Dominion
government for that portion of the military
reserve south of a line drawn from Second
Beach to Lumberman's Arch.
In the mind of Hamilton, however, was
the intention of acquiring the entire reserve
for city parkland. As a result, city council,
led by Alderman Hamilton, on June 23,
1886, petitioned the Secretary of State for
transfer of the reserve to the City as a park.
The Dominion government, after some
procrastination and reserving the right to the
use ofthe park for military purposes, should
an emergency arise, turned the former military reserve over to the City of Vancouver
for park purposes on the basis of a perpetual
99-year lease for the princely sum of $ 1.00 a
As senior alderman in the young city of
Vancouver, he impressed on City Council his
views as follows: "I took the ground in the
council that we must lay our plans on a generous scale, and so I laid out and established
streets far beyond what seemed necessary for
our wants..." The mayor and council obviously concurred.
The layout and names of streets which exist
to this day truly reflect L.A. Hamilton's foresight and provide historical insight into an
important part of Vancouver's early history.
Bank of Hamilton building, left foreground, where surveyor LA. Hamilton drove
the first stake on the corner of Hastings and Hamilton Streets commencing the
survey ofthe city of Vancouver in 1885. Photo circa 1905. Note the forest of
telephone poles.
Vancouver City Archives STR P.308, N. 259
The original city of Vancouver was much
smaller than the area of the present city. It
comprised an area from the south shore of
Burrard Inlet to roughly 16th Avenue; on the
east it was bounded by Nanaimo Street and
its western boundary was Trafalgar Street.
When Hamilton first surveyed the south
shore of False Creek, he was so impressed by
the view, that he named the area Fairview.
Hamilton was also given the prerogative of naming the streets he surveyed and
laid out in the new Vancouver. He subsequently adopted the modern system of
naming the avenues running east and west
in numerical order and the streets running
north and south with suitable names,
some after trees, such as Oak, Laurel, Willow, Ash, Spruce, Alder, Hemlock, Fir,
Pine, Cypress, Maple, Yew, Balsam, Vine,
Larch, etc. But because of some clerical
mix-up they did not appear in alphabetical order. To other streets he gave the
names of famous battles, hence
Balaclava, Blenheim, Waterloo, etc. A
number of others were named after C.P.R.
officials, others still, after British naval heroes such as Hastings, Howe, Hornby,
Pender, Richards, Jervis, Broughton, etc.
Around the turn ofthe century a great
real estate boom began to thrive in the
young city of Vancouver, and often unscrupulous real estate agents were turning up everywhere to such an extent that
Van Horne cautioned Hamilton, the C.P.R.
land commissioner "to keep his eyes open
when doing business with the people of Vancouver."
L.A. Hamilton also distinguished himself
by designing the new city of Vancouver's first
coat of arms bearing the motto "By Sea and
Land We Prosper." As well, he also helped
to define the 49th parallel between the
Rockies and the Lake ofthe Woods.
Not too much is known about the private
life of Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton, his
family, where he lived in Vancouver, special
interests, etc. We do know that Hamilton
Street in downtown Vancouver commemorates his name in perpetuity. The imprint
his talents left on Vancouver, many plans
carried out on a rather grand scale for that
early era, indicate his forward looking vision.
These are as evident today as when he drove
his survey stakes delineating the streets and
blocks in a burgeoning young city, one with
a dynamic future, as Hamilton so clearly
And at the end ofthe day, L.A. Hamilton
chose to leave the thriving young city he
helped to spawn for future generations, and
moved to sunny Florida, outliving his hectic
Vancouver pioneering days and many of his
compatriots in city building and planning,
and died in 1941, aged 89.
Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, builder, general
manager, later president (1888 to 1889) and chairman
(1899 to 1910) ofthe Canadian Pacific Railway.
C.P.R. photo
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 The Fairbridge Farm School
by Helen Borrell
"They are fine children, as mischievous
as little imps, but it's
all because everything
is so new to them,"
the four cottage
"mothers" said affectionately. "They are
wonderfully bright
and healthy, so it's difficult to curb them,
but they are catching
on much more
quickly than we expected."'
A great relief for
their guardians! This
young, city-bred
group of British emigrants were excitedly
exploring the woods
and fields, the nearby
Koksilah River, and all the other country delights of their new home, "the Prince ofWales
Fairbridge School Farm, formerly the 1,000-
acre estate of F. B. Pemberton."2 Its site was
near Cowichan Station, Vancouver Island,
British Columbia. The year was 1935.
Wards ofthe Child Emigration Society and
drawn from the Tyneside, Birmingham and
London sections of England by the London
committee of that organization, they had
arrived at their destination in the last week
of September - twenty-seven boys and fourteen girls, ranging in age from five to thirteen and one-half years.3
Beside the carefully selected teachers and
cottage mothers, in spirit, was the founder
of this and similar farm education schools in
other British Dominions. Sadly, Kingsley
Fairbridge did not live to see the Canadian
Farm School, one of those he had envisioned.
For the story of his envisioned rural schools,
we must go back fifty years, and halfway
round the world to Southern Rhodesia,
where Kingsley Ogilvie Eairbridge was born
in 1885.
A fourth-generation Rhodesian, he grew
up as a farm boy on the spacious, thinly settled veldt. When, in his teens, he first visited England, he was shocked and depressed
by her huge, densely packed, smoke-clouded
1936. Boys who arrived at Fairbridge Farm School, Duncan, in 1936. Displaying their cows at an Agricultural
Fair in Victoria, B.C
BCARS #A 06317
cities, and the caged lives of many working-
class families. In those years, low wages and
Britain's rigid castes locked most children of
unskilled workers into subsistence factory
jobs and ugly, crowded tenements. Nearly all
orphanages for destitute children were ruled
like army barracks.
Returning to his own veldt, Fairbridge saw
it poetically as: "The unending immensity
... The smokeless, gardenless wealth ofthe
desert, The rivers unfished and the valleys
unhunted, An empire people" (in Britain's
industrial cities) "with nothing ... A country abandoned to emptiness, yearning for
people." The emptiness of his own land, he
knew, was shared by the other Dominions:
Australia, New Zealand and Canada.4 But
adults who had never been beyond brick walls
wouldn't know how to pioneer on farm lands.
Who could be best trained? Children, for
whom he would create homes on community farms. He wrote how this plan appeared
to him:
"It was one of those fiercely hot summer
days, when one closes one's eyes against the
glare that beats off the road and the iron
houses, and as I walked, I ruminated. One
sees things that have remained half hidden
at the back of one's brain..
"I saw great Colleges of Agriculture (not
workhouses) springing up in every man-
hungry corner ofthe
Empire. I saw little
children who'd had
no opportunities
stretching their legs
and minds amid the
thousand interests of
the farm.
"I saw unneeded
humanity converted
to the husbandry of
unpeopled areas."5
But the building
of such farm schools
required large investments of capital by
wealthy, influential
patrons. So
Fairbridge's hope
burned in his brain
until, in 1909, he won an elite prize, a Cecil
Rhodes scholarship at Oxford. There he
gained interested friends at the Colonial
Club; and what he called "an Imperial Parliament of fifty independent members from
all parts ofthe Empire" 6 founded the Child
Emigration Society.
They raised £2,000 and, in 1913,
Fairbridge and his young bride established
the first Farm School on 160 acres at Pinjarra,
near Perth, Australia. Ofthe thirty-four children trained there, the boys all became successful farmers in Australia; the girls became
skilled homemakers.
When the Great War was declared in 1914,
Fairbridge hastened to volunteer for the
Army, but was not accepted because he had
a medical history of malaria. Which exemption was fortunate for his boys; together they
made their farmland produce bountifully.
And Fairbridge wrote to his Oxford friend,
Harry Logan, who had become a Professor
of Classics at the fledgling University of British Columbia:
"I have long thought that the Child Emigration Society should establish our second
farm school in British Columbia. From what
I saw there, you have room for towns of thousands of budding farmers. As thanksgiving
for our far-flung Empire, I think a good farm
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 school in B.C. would be far more reverent,
beautiful and lastingly recognized than some
artistic creation that only tends to congest
traffic in a main thoroughfare." A practical
man, Kingsley Fairbridge. "Training otherwise homeless young-
sters to be fine,
upstanding and
honorable men and
women can in its way
be quite as fine as the
Parliament House in
In 1919, Kingsley
Fairbridge took a promotional trip to England and his Society
raised enough funds
to rebuild the Pinjarra
school. But his years
of hard work and his
problem with malaria
broke down
Fairbridge's health;
and in July 1924, he
died at the untimely
age of 39.
But his service continued in the happy
and productive lives
of his adopted family.
During the Great Depression, the plight of
Britain's unemployed always had the concerned sympathy of Edward, Prince ofWales
(the future Duke of Windsor). In 1934, he
and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin campaigned for funds to establish a Farm Education school in British Columbia. They
received $500,000 of which the Prince of
Wales donated $5,000. The next objective
was to find and purchase a farming estate suitable for the school, and to recruit qualified
teachers and substitute parents for the child
emigrants chosen by their Emigration Society, soon renamed the Fairbridge Farm
Schools Society.
Between seven and twelve years was the
most adaptable age range, the children's
guardians thought. Some of the Society's
wards were orphans. Others came from large
families whose fathers had few job prospects
when their cities' chief industries became
Depression casualties. England had no vacant farmland. To live and be educated in a
children's community farm in Canada! - a
prized opportunity for their children, many
unemployed parents knew. Thus the
Fairbridge Schools Society had many applications.
To be accepted, of course, the children had
to be in excellent health and able to live cooperatively on a large mixed farm, truly a
New World for them! The most promising
young emigrants were finally chosen for the
Fairbridge boys were hosted to a party in Canada House, London, England just prior to sailing for Canada in
1938. Former Prime Minister R.B. Bennett, right, was High Commissioner for Canada at that time. The other
adults were Mr. Green and i who travelled with ibis cheerful group ofyoungsters. The lad behind Green's right
shoulder is Ken Bennett, current president ofthe Old Fairbridgians Association.
Vancouver Island farm school.
These future farmers and farm homemak-
ers would be given the same home care and
training that had proved successful in the
Australian Fairbridge School. Each group of
fourteen would live as a family in a cottage
under an experienced house mother. They
would share all the activities of farmlife, and
have the academic schooling required by
B.C.'s Ministry of Education until they were
sixteen years of age. Then for two years the
boys would learn all types of agriculture, and
the girls would learn domestic science and
the chores of a farmer's wife. When fully
trained, the young people would be placed
in approved jobs; the boys on farms, girls in
households. The Fairbridge staff members
would look after their welfare and bank half
the earnings of their boys and girls, wards of
Fairbridge Society until they came of age at
21 years. Each graduate would then have a
nest egg with which to start living independently.
Most ofthe Fairbridge graduates would settle on the land; food production, upon which
everyone depends, needs skilled farmers. But,
Fairbridge School's officers realized, some of
their wards would prefer, and be suited for
other skilled trades; some might even venture to invest their savings in a small business. Young people with such aptitudes would
be free to seek the jobs they hoped for, if these
were available in the work-scarce 1930's.
In March, 1935,
the Fairbridge Farm
Schools Society pur
chased the Pemberlea
estate on Vancouver
Island. About one-
quarter of it was already cultivated; and
John J. Brown, the
farm manager, was
employed permanently by the Victo-
• ria committee in
charge of the Farm
School. Woods bordered the fields; and
the fertile soil of the
Koksilah River bank
was ideal for intensive crop planting.8
First, the School's
managers built four
homes for their children, separate ones
for boys and girls.
Each cottage was actually a half-timbered, spacious two-storey
house as attractive as the landscape - roomy
kitchen, dining-room and "mothers" sitting-
room downstairs; her bedroom and a large,
airy dormitory upstairs. The children had
their main meal in the central dining-hall;
other meals were served to each family unit
in its home.
The School's first Principal was 43-year-
old Major Maurice Trew, who had graduated
from Cambridge University with an Honors
degree and served in the Coldstream Guards
from 1916 to 1934. Appointed as Principal
of the Vancouver Island school in 1934, he
visited the first Fairbridge School in Australia
for five weeks and learned all the details of
its organization. Then, working with the
committee appointed for the new Fairbridge
School in British Columbia, he was fully occupied from April, 1935, in preparing the
Vancouver Island farming estate for the first
group of thrilled English lads and lasses, the
September arrivals.9
Two young men teachers, experienced in
country schools, divided their dialect-chattering pupils into one class for those of six to
ten years, and another class for those of ten
to thirteen and one-half years. School sub-
BCARS#H 02740
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 jects for each year's grade were those of the
British Columbia education curriculum.
When the children streamed joyously into
the central dining room and to meals in their
cottages, the valued services ofthe two cooks
and the farm assistants were noisily rewarded.
The farm manager's wife,
Mrs. Brown, was famed for
her delicious cake. Outdoor
sports were new delights for
the youngsters, who feasted
heartily. Fortunate that "potatoes, vegetables, milk, butter, eggs, mutton and pork
were produced on the estate."10
The orchard already had
200 fruit trees, and more
were planted later.
The children were happy
to settle into a secure, well
organized routine. After
making their own beds, they
took turns at doing complete
jobs assigned by the cottage
mothers on a rotating basis. Two children
waxed and polished the dormitory floor,
while others did household chores. After
school came another hour of chores. As the
cottages had wood stoves, the boys were busy
chopping and stacking wood. But the children were work equals - girls did their share
of milking, and often came home to meals
cooked by the boys. There were always sports
activities in the evenings."
Kingsley Fairbridges plan had been to people the far-flung British possessions with
hard-working young Britishers. In 1935,
Canada and the other Dominions were independent nations in the British Commonwealth; but England's rulers liked to think of
them as adult members of the family. The
poet and story-teller of the British Empire,
Rudyard Kipling, died in April, 1936. Having provided for his wife and daughter, he
had bequeathed the remainder of his estate,
valued at $775,000, to be divided among the
three Fairbridge Schools. The third had been
opened in Australia, that year. This generous
gift enabled the Directors to build four more
cottages at the Canadian Farm School for the
two parties of children who arrived in 1936;
also, a new dining hall and a four-room
school building.12 The long-time farm manager, John Brown, was provided with his own
On August 1,1936, Colonel Harry Logan,
Professor at the University of British Columbia, succeeded Major Trew as Principal ofthe
Vancouver Island Farm School. A Rhodes
Scholar at Oxford, England, he had been a
friend and supporter of Kingsley Fairbridge.
"A genius with children - firm, kindly, understanding and inspiring,"13 he led the Farm
School until June, 1945. Then he was trans-
This is a postcard showing some ofthe school buUdings in the 1940's.
Courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum #987-02-1-27
ferred to the Fairbridge School Society's London head office, to supervise the farm home
in England where boys and girls were prepared for life in the Farm Schools.
In October, 1936, the Municipal Chapter
ofthe I.O.D.E. (Imperial Order of Daughters of the Empire) arranged the start of a
library at Fairbridge School. Each primary
chapter was asked to donate one new book,
more if possible. And in February, 1937, Mrs.
Maud Douglas-Pennant, a wealthy Englishwoman, bequeathed $5,000 to build another
cottage at Fairbridge. She also left $150,000
to be divided among the three schools.14
Such was the success of the Farm Schools
in training skilled farmers and their future
helpmates that in May, 1937, Sir John
Siddeley, Chairman of Great Britain's
Armstrong Siddeley Motors Ltd. and several
other prominent industrial companies, endowed the Fairbridge Schools with a Coronation gift of $493,000. (King George VI
was crowned in that year.) Col. Harry Logan,
Principal ofthe Prince of Wales School, gave
a brief summary of its growth and its mandate to a meeting of the Vancouver Lions
Club, in September, 1937. Jobs would be
available for all Fairbridge graduates for the
next five years at least, he assured his interested listeners. At that time there were 57
boys and 41 girls in his school, and more were
expected from Britain.15
The Fairbridge School near Cowichan was
managed like a British residential school.
There was an active program of sports - basketball, cricket, soccer, rugby and boxing. (As
a Rhodes Scholar, Kingsley Fairbridge had
won the Oxford Blue for boxing.) The girls
went for hikes and treasure hunts. In June,
1938, Mr. William Garnett, Assistant Principal, with his colleagues'
help, directed the boys' cottages - the Maroons, Blacks,
Blues and Greens. Each cottage had a House Master, and
under him two Prefects, a
senior and a junior sports
captain, and a sports adviser.
The girls' cottages also had
Prefects. The Prefects formed
the Boys' and Girls' Councils.
They kept score ofthe marks
earned each week for house
duties, and rewarded those
who had won the highest
number of marks.16
In 1938 the Fairbridge
Junior Girls' Basketball team
won the Vancouver Island
Basketball Championship. And on May 23,
1939, there was a Lower Island Rural Schools
Sports Meet. Fairbridge School won second
place, and its Horace Skelton, with four Firsts
and one Second, won the cup for the
Fairbridge pupil who had the highest number
of points.17
Fairbridge School, over the years, attracted
many generous patrons. Long remembered
was Captain J.C. Dun-Waters, the "Laird of
Fintry", with his 2,500 acre cattle ranch on
the west side of B.C.'s Okanagan Lake. In
July, 1938, he donated this self-contained
estate to the Cowichan Fairbridge School.
"Only one example of the generosity which
had marked his life."18 The Scottish stock
breeder and fruit grower, then in his 70s, and
known for his community services, had come
to Canada and purchased the ranch in 1909.
His herd of Ayrshire purebred dairy cattle
had won many high milk production records.
Fintry Ranch had, besides range land and
orchards, a sanctuary for mountain goats and
deer. It had its own water system and an electric power plant which harnessed the power
from Fintry's waterfall. Off went a group of
senior Fairbridge boys at once to Fintry
Ranch, where they would learn all-round
The four Fairbridge Schools could accommodate 1,200 children and accept 250 each
year. So Gordon Green, Executive Secretary,
told the Society's Annual General Meeting
in London, in July, 1938."Trainees for staff
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Fairbridge Farm School and dormitories.
would, as far as possible, be Rhodes Scholars, and would go to all the schools and be
on call to fill in for regular faculty during
their illnesses or holidays.
In September, 1938, the Cowichan
Fairbridge School opened with an enrolment
of 180 pupils, of whom 11 were Trainees,
receiving their practical training - boys on
the farms, girls in home economics. Proud
of being first class homemakers, the
Fairbridge girls learned everything involved
in home management - cleaning rugs and carpets, polishing silver, and cleaning upholstered furniture. And they shared in the
baking and cooking at the school, and waited
on the staff tables. Wildflowers and daffodils were on the dining-room tables, which
were "polished and shining like the battleship linoleum on the floors."20 The girls also
served teas to the school's distinguished visitors.
The September, 1938, term opened at
Fairbridge with three new teachers, and new
courses - farm mechanics and manual courses
for the boys, and a detailed home economics
program for the girls. The necessary new
buildings nearly doubled the size ofthe farm
school.21 The Trainee Club was started in
At first, church services at Fairbridge had
been held in a screened-off section ofthe dining hall. In October, 1938, an English visitor, who wished to be anonymous, donated
$20,000 for the building of a chapel on the
school site. Plans were drawn up for a one-
storey frame building, 85 by 45 feet, with
central heating, a seating capacity of 400, and
an outdoor pulpit.22 Later, a magnificent organ from the English Halsway Manor House
was donated for this church. The late husband ofthe donor, Mrs. Mitchell, had given
funds for the school's Assembly Hall.
Yes, 1938 was the year that wealthy patrons endowed the fine training being given
BCARS #H 02745
at Fair-
School to
future Canadians. In
Hon. G.M.
Weir, B.C.
Minister of
that the
Government had
paid grants amounting to $27.44 per pupil
for 1937-38, and also given $500 for the purchase of new equipment for Fairbridge's
home economics class.23
In February, 1939, the first issue of a
monthly newsletter, the Fairbridge Gazette,
was typed and mimeographed. It was thus
prepared until, in June, 1943, a local newspaper, The Cowichan Leader, took over the
type-setting and printing of this school newspaper. It featured sports and farm news, reports ofthe Boys' and Girls' Councils, and of
visitors, and editorials. There were also letters from Old Fairbridgians, who needed no
encouragement to keep in touch with their
home school.24 The first editor, Jim Lally, remained in that job until he joined the Navy
in August, 1940. For twenty-two months
during World War II, Jim was a prisoner-of-
war in Germany. All their lives, the secretary
of the Fairbridge Alumni Association wrote
later, the graduates affectionately remembered
and were delighted to meet their "cottage
We must return to the sequence of school
history. The design for the paper's title was a
Canadian beaver on a wreath of British oak
leaves, and the motto, "Industria et Veritate"
- With Industry and Truth. 1939 was an
eventful year. In February, the first Fairbridge
baby was born. Her Dad was Mr. AH. Plows,
Day School Principal and basketball coach.
Two Day School staff members composed,
and the March Gazette published this poem:
The First Fairbridge Baby
1.     Folks at Fairbridge are all in a whirl,
For the Plows family have a baby girl,
It's their first big event
and they proudly present
Miss Sharon Elizabeth Plows.
The Old Man is swelling with pride,
To reveal what he's feeling inside
He passed round fat cigars,
Thanking his lucky stars
For Sharon Elizabeth Plows.
3.     Cottage mothers at Fairbridge agree
To prepare for the homecoming soon
to be,
Hanging sheets on the line
For that sweet Valentine,
Miss Sharon Elizabeth Plows."
In March, 1939, staff and pupils of
Fairbridge Farm School welcomed as visitors
Canada's Governor-General, Lord
Tweedsmuir, and his wife. Lady Tweedsmuir
had been a member of the Farm School Society in London. At the Duncan school, she
awarded the Girl Guide Badge of Fortitude
to 15-year-old Isabel Blatchford for her courage during a long illness.25 The B.C. Government had given Lady Tweedsmuir Sphinx
Island in the Strait of Georgia. She donated
it to Fairbridge School, whose staff could
build a summer camp there for the Fairbridge
In May, 1939, King George VI and Queen
Elizabeth, during their Canadian tour, visited Victoria. The lucky Fairbridge boy who
saw them wrote a prize winning essay of his
trip. To commemorate the Royal tour an
anonymous English M.P, later identified as
Captain Richard Porritt, founded a $23,400
trust fund to aid the four Fairbridge schools.27
In September, 1939, B.C.'s Lieutenant-
Governor, Eric Hamber, laid the cornerstone
for the Fairbridge chapel, which was completed in April, 1940. A historic clock had
been donated for the new church. Andy
Anderson, a fifteen-year-old pupil, won second prize in the school's Christmas Card
Competition for his drawing of the
Fairbridge chapel.28
For the staff and pupils ofthe Farm School,
the only sorrow in 1939 was the death that
autumn of their great-hearted benefactor,
Captain Dun-Waters. Fintry, his donated
ranch, was an invaluable training school for
the Fairbridge farmers-to-be. Three boys who
had "apprenticed" there had gone to selected
jobs; three girls were working in households.29 The ladies of Victoria, "a small second England", knew that the Fairbridge girls
would have British pride in giving skilled
homemaking service. The School's After-Care
Officer kept in touch with the graduates and
banked half of their earnings, until they came
of age at 21 years.
Although this was the legal age of majority, young people could join the Armed
Forces at 18. During the routine, well-ordered lives of the Fairbridge Schools, the
wholly evil Nazi regime had driven Europe
to a second Great War. In May, 1940, thirty
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 children who at first had been sent to English country homes, to be away from bombed
districts, arrived at the Duncan Fairbridge
School. Like all who came from England,
they were awed to find "Canada's such a
whacking big country." "We saw Indians, we
saw Mounted Police," said an eleven-year-
old lad from Tyneside, "but where's the roving buffalo?"30 In June,
1940, the Secretary of
Fairbridge Farm Society, L.A. Grogan, offered to the
Governments of B.C.
and Australia all the
overseas schools' facilities, if needed, to provide for Britain's
possible child evacuees.31 Great Britain was
now a lone outpost of
the war zone.
But in the secure haven of the Duncan
Fairbridge School, the
first wedding was held
in the new chapel.
George Warnock, a
house master, married
Catherine Murray, also
a staff person. The
proud school choir wore blue cassocks and
white surplices; then came the joyful reception in the dining hall.32
In August, 1940, the Directors and administrators of Seaboard Lumber Sales Co. - 32
men - donated $12,500 for the construction
of a hospital for the Duncan Fairbridge Farm
School complex. Each officer also gave $150
annually for the support of one Fairbridge
pupil, to whom he would be a godparent.33
This first practical expression of Canadian
interest in Fairbridge School was doubly welcome because the children's English godparents were having problems in sending help
to the young Canadians-to-be. Great Britain
needed every resource at home for the now
total war. Later tactful appeals by Principal
Logan brought more godparents for his students.
On April 1 st, 1941, the completed hospital was officially opened by Canada's Governor-General, the Earl of Athlone. Much like
the nations of the British Commonwealth,
the independent Canadian immigrants at
Fairbridge maintained friendly contacts with
their country of birth. At the hospital ceremonies, Hon. John Hart, B.C.'s Minister
of Finance, announced that the Provincial
Government would contribute $12,000 annually to Fairbridge School; and R.W.
Mayhew, Liberal M.P. and Chairman ofthe
B.C. Fairbridge Committee, considered a
similar donation. The hard-pressed Government of Great Britain would contribute what
it could. Problems of war exchange of ster-
Junior Girls' Basketball Team, B.C Championships 1945, Fairbridge Farm School
ling currency had curtailed donations from
British sponsors.34
Trainee girls who hoped to be nurses now
had the chance of helping in the school's own
hospital. Molly White wrote an account of
this in the Fairbridge Gazette:35 "A Day with
the Nurse. Every Trainee girl spends some
time working in the hospital. At 6:15 we light
the fire and prepare the breakfasts trays. Besides cleaning and some cooking, we learn
how to take temperatures and make poultices. We also learn something about diets
for certain patients; and how to make dressings and sterilize them. After Nurse has seen
the children in the clinic, I clean it up and
may help to disinfect the laundry or fill cod
liver oil bottles for the cottages. At 4 p.m. I
start taking the afternoon temperatures and
help Nurse give extra nourishment to some
children who come especially for this. Then
I start preparing supper, served about 5 p.m.
We're likely to have someone come in with a
cut foot, a splinter in the hand or a pain,
while supper is being prepared; and these
children must then be attended to. After supper I wash the dishes and clean up while
Nurse does treatments in the clinic. We fix
up the patients for the night, and I usually
get back to my cottage about 6:30 p.m."
In September, 1940, the Fairbridge boys
entered samples of their vegetable and garden produce at the annual British Columbia
Fall Fair, and won several prizes.36 In June,
1941, Fairbridge School was "both host and
victor in the yearly Lower Island rural schools'
Sports Meet."37
"Philip Tipler,
Fairbridge athlete,
came first in the
class "B" 100 yards
race, the high jump
and the broad
jump. He also
starred first in the
winning relay team.
Fairbridge won five
out of six relay
events, pushing
their record up to
the winning 63 1/2
But some Old
Fairbridge boys had
left sports for serious service in war.
Principal Logan
told a tour party of
B.C. Ayrshire
Breeders' Association that one boy graduate
was in England with the Canadian Army, one
was in the navy, one was with the Canadian
Armoured Division in Eastern Canada, and
another had applied for the RCAF. More than
fifty boys and girls, graduates of Fairbridge,
had farm and domestic jobs on the home
"The earnings of the 95 graduates of
Fairbridge School this year" (1942) "will
equal the entire cost of the school's operation in 1942," Principal Logan told the Victoria Gyro Club in December, 1942.39 "31
of the boys who have graduated are in the
Armed Forces." "Our boys have a trans-Atlantic viewpoint," he later told the Lions
Club, in May, 1943.40 "We encourage them
to remember their ancestry, the sacrifices their
families have made, but also to take on their
job in Canada of helping to build this country." As British children, they were glad to
join the Services and help defend England.
But, as one boy wrote from there: "When
the war is over I want to return to Canada.
I find that I am now Canadianized."
In July, 1942, an Old Fairbridgians'Association was planned; the first meeting was in
BCARS #H 03354
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Ill                           i.e.
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Students had to milk the cows morning and evening.
Courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum
August.41 Officers were elected, including a
reporter and an overseas reporter; for this club
hoped to edit an Old Fairbridgians' Gazette.
"United We Stand" was the chosen motto;
and in the
meeting the
20-plus Old
Boys and
Girls discussed finding space for
visiting Old
and their
hope for one
day building
a hostel for
Because of
wartime dangers on the
Atlantic, by
1944 no
more children    were
sent from England to Canada's Fairbridge
School. By January, 1945, it had only 100
residents, although there was room for twice
that number. In May, 1949, George Pearson,
B.C. Provincial Secretary, told the visiting
Chairman and General Secretary ofthe parent Fairbridge Schools Society that, while he
had no criticism of their management, the
Duncan school should be transferred to a
British Columbia Board of Governors, and
its courses should be directly under the B.C.
Department of Education.42 The London
officials agreed. The yearly Provincial grant
of $12,500 would be resumed. Complete
control ofthe Duncan Fairbridge School was
transferred to a committee of prominent B.C.
business men, chaired by RW Mayhew, Victoria M.P.
In June, 1945, Harry Logan was transferred to the parent Fairbridge Schools Society, and given a post on its farm school near
London, on which prospective pupils were
prepared for farm work training.43 William
Garnett, Assistant Principal, succeeded him
as Principal ofthe Duncan Fairbridge School.
English born, he had come to Vancouver Island when young, worked on farms and
earned his way through Ontario Agricultural
College in Guelph. He graduated in 1933,
and was Ontario's Rhodes Scholar. He joined
the Duncan Fairbridge School faculty in
1938, and served there until he joined the
R.C.N.V.R. in 1942. As a veteran, he re
turned to Fairbridge School. Twenty-seven
pupils arrived at Fairbridge from Britain in
August, 1945.
In September, 1946, the school's faculty
were: William
Garnett, Principal; G.C.
Warnock, his
Armitage, Superintendent
of Child Care;
A.H. Plows,
senior After-
Care Officer;
F.E. Lamder,
bursar; T.J.
Hipp chaplain; and John
J. Brown,
farm manager
for over 20
years on the
estate.45 The
school was
now administered by a B.C. Board of Governors.
"Well known for her work for Fairbridge
School,"46 Mrs. W.N. Mitchell, who had
given the chapel its fine organ, gave the school
"Dogwood Cottage" in October, 1947. This
was the new library; she had come daily to
catalogue its 3,000 books. The boys happily
cleaned and tidied these comfortable quarters; they would read by the fireplace in the
spacious lounge. At the opening ceremony,
the girls gave Mrs. Mitchell sachet bags of
farm-grown lavender; the boys' present was
a leather bookmark with tooled replica,
"Dogwood Cottage".
In September, 1947, a United Kingdom
Timber Delegation, touring B.C., visited
Fairbridge, and gave the school 100 guineas
(about $422.)47 It was to be paid in sterling
when they returned to England, because of
severe exchange restrictions on the amount
of funds allowed out ofthe United Kingdom.
British contributions to the Duncan
Fairbridge School had been larger than ever
during the past two years, Principal Garnett
stated in January, 1948.48 But they could not
be sent to Canada because of these exchange
restrictions, so he feared that his school might
have to be closed, at least temporarily. No
more children could be sent from Great Britain, Sir Charles Hambro, Chairman of the
parent Fairbridge Society announced in August, 1949.49 The Society would retain the
Fairbridge property on Vancouver Island
until the current class graduated, and as
homes for the children not otherwise provided for, Mr. Plows, who had climbed the
faculty ranks to become Principal, would stay
to look after them, assisted by Miss Armitage.
The Canadian Pacific Railway Company
came to the rescue. Its administrators proposed, and the London Fairbridge Society's
Executive Secretary agreed, that the C.P.R.
lease the Vancouver Island estate and bring
selected British farm families there, under its
Department of Immigration and Colonization.50 These settlers would have to have the
minimum transferable funds, and would
agree to farm the Fairbridge property for three
But the continuing financial problems in
Britain prevented the parent Fairbridge Society from sending their wards to Canada,
and from re-opening a Farm School on the
Vancouver Island estate. In March, 1950, it
was rented by the B.C. dairy firm, Stevenson
and McBryde,51 from the C.P.R. The dairy
inherited from the capable administrators of
the Fairbridge School: 70 head of purebred
Ayrshire cattle (65 had brought top prices at
an auction), a team of Clydesdale horses, several tons of grain, plus farm machinery and
household equipment.52
As citizens of Canada, the Fairbridge
graduates repaid their godparents many times
over. Some became successful contributors
to food production, basic and indispensable.
Girls were proud to be homemakers and beloved wives and mothers. Other Old
Fairbridgians rose into business and the professions; the school's well-rounded program
and training in an efficient life-style was their
foundation. They had affectionate memories
of it; and are glad to attend reunions. The
Fairbridge Alumni Association keeps them
in touch with each other and their dear "Cottage Mums'" it meets regularly, and edits a
Gazette. To any Fairbridge School graduates:
your Association would be pleased to hear
from you!
Bio Note: Helen Borrell is a Vancouver lady who
enjoys researching B.C history and sharing her
findings with the reading public.
1. "Friendly Fairbridge Farm," magazine feature, Victoria
Colonist, October 20, 1935.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. "The Story of Kingsley Fairbridge, a Boy with an Idea",
The Recorder, a British newspaper, - September 18,
5. Ibid.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 12,
6. "Fairbridge Farm School and its Principal",
Vancouver Province, August, 1936.
7. "Fairbridge Farm School and its Principal,"
Vancouver Province, August, 1936.
8. "Friendly Fairbridge Farm," Victoria Colonist,
October 20, 1935.
9. Vancouver Province, Page 3 - September 25,
10. "Friendly Fairbridge Farm," Victoria Colonist -
October 20, 1935.
11. Letter from K.W. Bennett, Fairbridge Alumni
President - March, 1995.
Some Fairbridge Milestones," Fairbridge
Gazette, 1946.
Fairbridge School and its Principal," Vancouver
Province, August, 1936.
14. Victoria Daily Colonist Page 9, February 25,
15- "School Builds Fine Citizens," Vancouver Sun,
Page 22, September 15, 1937.
16. Fairbridge Gazette, April, 1940.
17. Fairbridge Gazette, July, 1939.
18. "Laird of Fintry", Vancouver Sun, Page 4. July,
19. Vancouver Province, July 16, 1938.
20. "The Girls of Fairbridge," Victoria Daily
Colonist, magazine section, April 14, 1940.
21. Vancouver Sun, September 13, 1938.
22. Vancouver Sun, October 24, 1938, p.2.
Vancouver Sun, Page 6, Oct. 22, 1938.
Victoria Colonist, Page 5, Oct. 23, 1938.
23. Vancouver Sun, Page 12, November 21, 1938.
Victoria Colonist, Page 6, November 20, 1938.
24. Editors letter, Fairbridge Gazette, January,
25. Victoria Daily Colonist, Page 7. March 30,
26. Vancouver Sun, Page 1. April 13, 1939.
27. Vancouver Province, Page 13, May 31, 1939.
28. Fairbridge Gazette, December, 1939.
29. Fairbridge Gazette, December, 1939.
30. Vancouver Province, Page 9, May 8, 1940.
31. Victoria Colonist, June 28, 1940.
32. Victoria Colonist, Page 7. July 28, 1940.
33. Victoria Colonist, Page 1. August 7, 1940.
Vancouver Province, Page 1. August 6, 1940.
34. Vancouver Sun, Page 6. April 2, 1941.
35. Fairbridge Gazette, January, 1942.
36. Victoria Colonist, Page 11. September 12, 1940.
37. Vancouver Sun, Page 4. June 6, 1941.
38. Vancouver Province, Page 14, June 23, 1941.
Vancouver Sun, Page 6, June 26, 1941.
39. Victoria Colonist, Page 18, December 8,1942.
40. Victoria Colonist, Page 16, May 28, 1942.
41. Fairbridge Gazette, January, 1942.
42. Vancouver Province, Page 3, May 28, 1945. and
Vancouver Province, Page 3, January 8, 1945.
43. Vancouver Sun, Page 3, May 26, 1945.
45. Victoria Colonist, Page 18. September 18, 1946.
46. Victoria Colonist, Page 8. October 12, 1947.
47. Vancouver Sun, Page 17, September 6, 1947.
48. Vancouver Sun, Page 5, January 24, 1948; and
Page 4, January 31, 1948.
49. Victoria Colonist, Page 6, August 19, 1949.
50. Victoria Colonist, October 25, 1949; and
Vancouver Sun, Page 10, November 10,1949.
51. Victoria Colonist, Page 24, March 3, 1950.
52. Vancouver Sun, Page 33, March 27, 1950.
Newspapers: News accounts (dates given in
footnotes) from:
Victoria Daily Colonist, 2621 Douglas Street, Victoria, B.C.
Vancouver Province, 2250 Granville Streer, Vancouver, B.c.
Vancouver Sun, 2250 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C.
"Friendly Fairbridge Farm," Magazine section, Victoria
Colonist, October 20,1935.
"The Girls of Fairbridge," Magazine section, Victoria
Colonist, April 14,1940.
Fairbridge Gazette, published ar Prince of Wales Fairbridge
Farm School, Vancouver Island.
"The Fairbridge Farm School at Duncan, B.C." Saturday
Night, April 23, 1938.
"Makers of New Canadians", Family Herald and Weekly star,
August 6,1947.
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The Children Arrive
1 pair thick pyjamas
1 coat (or raincoat)
2 pairs thin pyjamas'
2 vests
2 vests
3 pairs pyjamas
2 pairs brown knickers
2 underpants
1 gym slip
1 belt
1 thick skirt
1 pair khaki shorts
1 woolen jumper
1 pair ordinary shorts
2 handkerchiefs
2 khaki shirts
2 pairs socks
1 jersey
2 towels
2 pairs socks
1 kitbag
2 handkerchiefs
1 brush and comb bag, and brush
2 towels
Sponge bag with face flannel, toothpaste,
1 brush and comb bag, and brush
toothbrush and soap
Sponge bag with face flannel, toothpaste,
1 pair sandals
toothbrush and soap
2 cotton frocks and knickers
1 Bible
1 pair sandals
1 pair shorts and sports vest
1 Fairbridge tie
Plus the clothing she is wearing
1 Bible
Plus the clothing he is wearing
"Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School", in: British
Columbia Archives and Record Service, 655 Belleville Street,
Victoria, B.C.
Letter from K.W. Bennett, Fairbridge Alumni Association
Secretary, 6942 Gray Avenue, Burnaby, B.C.
My warm thanks to the B.C. Archivist in the Victoria office
for courteous service and help in locating rhe reference
material, and for mailing photocopies of sections ofthe
Fairbridge School Gazette.
Also, 1 wish to thank the clerk at the Government
Publications section, Main Library, University of B.C. She
was always obliging in locating the newspaper boxes of
microfilm spools, and in showing me how to operate the
reading machines. The same thanks are due to the staff of rhe
Newspaper Room ofthe Vancouver Main Library.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Highway 16: Prince Rupert-Terrace
by Dirk Septer
No event, apart from the
completion of the Grand
Trunk Pacific (later Canadian National) Railway
linking Prince Rupert with
the rest of Canada overland,
has had such an impact as
the construction of the
highway between Prince
Rupert and Terrace.
In the late summer of
1944, more than 30 years
after the railroad had been
put through to Prince
Rupert, a road link was established between Terrace
and Prince Rupert. Both the
provincial and federal governments had long contemplated building a road to
link the port city of Prince
Rupert with the interior of
British Columbia.
It was only because ofthe perceived threat
of a Japanese invasion during World War II
that' the Skeena River Highway was finally
built. The U.S. government pressed for a
back-up land route to move their troops in
case of an invasion by the Japanese. Under
guidance of the United States Engineering
Department, construction began almost immediately. Being a war-time emergency road,
it was built as quickly as possible. Large
stretches ofthe road were constructed on the
Canadian National Railway (CNR) right-of-
way, right along the railroad tracks. In many
places it was more a narrow winding trail
rather than a road. The road was paved in
1951 and extensively rerouted and repaved
in 1970.
In the early 1920's, a small Public Works
crew started searching out a possible route
for the highway. In September 1927, the Department of Public Works conducted its first
aerial reconnaissance flights in order find a
route. The reconnaissance was not successful, but during the flight several aerial photographs were taken, the first ever in this
Map late 1930's. Note road location under investigation on south shore of Skeena River.
During 1928, 5 mi. (8 km) of right-of-
way was cleared, reaching from Phelan station to past Port Edward. An alternate route
was considered to go inland from the mouth
ofthe Skeena to Work Channel. Then, after
skirting that long body of water, over a mountain pass to the Exstew River and down to
the Skeena River again.
During July and August 1929, more aerial
photo reconnaissance flights were undertaken
to determine feasibility of a route from Prince
Rupert East other than following the Skeena
River. A series of photographs taken conclusively proved that the reports of a "hidden
pass" were a fallacy.1
It took several years before a narrow, winding gravel road had been cut through the bush
from the Prince Rupert city limits along the
east shore of Kaien Island to Galloway Rapids. Here in 1930, a bridge was built across
to the mainland. On the other side a few
more miles of road were built towards
Prudhomme Lake. There construction
stopped, halted by large walls of rock and a
lack of funds. A decision had to be made
which direction to take next: Skirt the coastline to Port Edward and then follow the rail
road tracks, or strike off to
the left into the bush to seek
a new route towards the
Skeena River? The second
option was finally chosen.
In the 1930's, during the
Depression Years, the Public
Works relief program provided work for many men,
working on a rotating basis,
earning a minimum wage of
$ 3.20 for an eight-hour day.
By July 1935, a road to
Cloyah (Kloiya) Bay was
completed, and crews were
pushing on to Taylor and
Prudhomme lakes. Eventually a narrow, rough and
bumpy gravel road was
pushed through the bush to
the two lakes.
Around 1935, there were
three potential routes for the highway location between Galloway Rapids and Skeena
City: via Prudhomme Lake, via Port Edward
and Tyee, or from Kloiya Bay to Work Channel via Denise Arm. The Prudhomme Lake-
Work Canal-Skeena City route seemed to be
the preferred one. Another option was a possible route from the lower Skeena River across
to the Kitimat Valley. But aerial photographs
taken by the Forests Branch of the Department of Lands during 1937-1938 confirmed
that this route was not viable. Assistant Forester G.S. Andrews reconfirmed his previous
opinion to District Engineer J.C. Brady:
"Indian hunters may have traversed that
country, when the seasons were propitious,
on foot, travelling light, but they would have
had to climb over passes at least 5,000 ft.
high. I am certain that Napoleon, who
crossed the Alps, would not attempt a traverse
of the mountains between the Kitimat Valley, and the lower Skeena".2
At the outbreak of World War II, progress
on the Skeena River Highway was stalled at
Prudhomme Lake, some 15 mi. (24 km) east
of Prince Rupert. With the exception of a
few families coming out for some fishing or
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Highway 16, 1937. Corduroy road west of Prudhomme Lake.
All photographs courtesy:
Ministry of Transportation & Highways -Terrace.
a swim on a warm day, the trail basically
served no other purpose.
The actual construction of the Prince
Rupert to Hazelton highway was undertaken
at the request of the high military authorities in the United States and Canada, at a
time when a Japanese attack upon the Pacific Coast was a definite possibility. When
early in 1942, the Americans started constructing military fortifications in the Prince
Rupert area, completion of the road to Terrace became top priority.
According to the instructions the road was
to be completed as quickly as possible, the
whole project to be completed in one year.
Never had there been a project of that size
completed in one year any place in Canada,
even in normal times. The terrain between
Prince Rupert and Terrace was one of the
most rugged in the province. The climate was
unpredictable and devastating floods could
occur during spring run-off or following
heavy rains in fall. One estimate was to build
the 68 mi. (108.8 km) of highway in 15
months. It would require about 18 fully
equipped crews totalling about 2,300 men.3
In March 1942, survey crews started laying out the location for the new road. The
exceptionally late and wet spring severely
hampered their progress. Early June 1942,
the Department of Mines and Resources in
Ottawa awarded the contracts for the construction of some 75 mi. (120 km) of highway between Prince Rupert and Terrace and
Cedarvale. Five sections ofthe highway were
awarded in division between McNamara
Construction Co., Ltd., Rayner Construction, Ltd., and Standard Paving, Ltd., all of
Toronto. The remaining three sections were
divided between
E.J. Ryan Construction Co.,
Ltd. and Associated Engineering
Co, ofVancouver.
One of the
toughest stretches
of highway to be
built was the
7 mi. (11.2 km)
between Prudhomme Lake and
Tyee. For 3 mi.
(4.8 km) there
was a 600 ft. (180
m) high corrugated rock summit, with
filled with muskeg, to 25 ft. (7.5 m)
deep in places. In some places the
muskeg had to be shovelled out to
bedrock and then filled in with rock.
Construction of a road on the
north side ofthe Skeena River faced
many problems. On long sections
the road would have to be built parallel to and right up against the railway grade. A total of eight railway
crossings were necessary between
Tyee and Terrace. In order to have
these approved by the Board of
Transport, temporary and dangerous crossings had to be avoided. Railway officials had
to agree to certain changes of their alignment
where improvements would have to be made.
Tentative permission was granted to appropriate CNR right-of-way wherever necessary.
It was a "tight squeeze" to build the road
from Tyee to Terrace, along a narrow shelf of
land also occupied by the rail line. Rocks had
to be poured in holes along the Skeena River,
some of these 40 ft. (12 m) deep. When a
section near Kwinitsa was being filled to make
a roadbed around a sheer rock bluff, a dump
truck toppled with its load into the river.
Fortunately the driver jumped free. Eventually, with the aid of a diver, the truck was
recovered from a rocky pinnacle on which it
had hung up some 50 ft. (15 m) below the
surface. The river here was said to be between
80-100 ft. (24-30 m) deep.4
The 45 bridges required for the project
were pre-fabricated in Vancouver. Ten of
these were major spans ofthe wooden Howe
Truss type. It was estimated that 78 trucks
were used in the construction, along with 25
bulldozers, 21 powershovels, 32 dump trucks,
28 dumpsters and nine graders.
Construction was severely hampered by a
large turnover of crews during the cold and
wet weather of the summer of 1943, with
the average workman staying about 60 days
on the job before quitting.
A Vancouver paper described the construction:
"Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a
week at sometimes in excess of $60,000 per
mile, eight contracting firms worked to put
in a highway through one of the world's
toughest terrain of granite mountains..."
On August 4, 1944, a month before the
official opening, Private Buddy Bodzash had
been the first person to drive a car over the
new road from Prince Rupert to Terrace. Her
passengers were Commanding Officer of
Yellowhead 16, 1937- RR. Rock work west of Prudhomme Lake
Prince Rupert Defences Colonel D.B.
Martyn and his wife, and Prince Rupert
mayor H.M. Daggett.
On September 4,1944 the "Skeena Highway" was officially opened. On that hot late
summer day a cavalcade of more than 100
military and civilian cars travelled the road
to Terrace.
The official ceremonies to mark the opening ofthe road were held at Terrace. Skeena
MP Olof Hanson was on hand to cut the
traditional blue ribbon. In her book "Road,
Rail and River", Prince Rupert author and
historian Phylis Bowman quoted Hanson
having said:
"I came to Skeena Country 37 years ago
with a packsack on my back and have worked
all those years to get a highway. Now Pearl
Harbour has brought it about".5
As soon as the highway officially opened,
the Department of Mines and Resources refused any responsibility for winter maintenance of the road. This maintenance,
including snow-ploughing, was not deemed
justified on military grounds. Early in 1945,
it was considered that the road had no longer
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 any military value since the
threat of an invasion had been
removed. The amount of local traffic did not justify the
cost of keeping the road open.
The Province was informed it
would be free to incorporate
the road into its provincial
highway system.
However, Provincial Public
Works Minister  Herbert
Anscomb announced that the
Prince Rupert highway would
not be considered a provincial
responsibility. Since the highway had been a war project, it
should be handled like the
Alaska Highway and remain
under the jurisdiction ofthe federal government. The word "highway" was an overstatement. The road was still only a rough and
narrow winding gravel trail, barely passable
in places, with many pull-outs for vehicles
to pass. Also, the jurisdiction affecting the
portion of the highway running along the
CNR right-of-way would have to be straightened out.
During the first years after the opening, it
was considered that there was not sufficient
traffic to warrant the expenditure to keep this
highway open during the winter months. It
wasn't until the winter of 1951-52, that the
highway was kept open during the winter
months. Snow removal on the highway was
a problem not easily solved. The highway
runs through the Coast Mountain Range
along the northern side ofthe Skeena River.
Snowfall is very heavy and a good portion of
the road has a rock cut on one side with the
railroad on the other. The highway in the
Terrace-Tyee area is traversed by 42 avalanche
paths.6 For a distance of about 60 mi. (96
km) the highway parallels the railroad.
The heaviest snowfalls and longest road
closures occurred in January-February 1972.
Early February, "the Blizzard ofthe Decade"
dumped 42 in. (1.07 m) more snow in two
days. The highway had been closed 22 times
during the winter. Some closures had lasted
only a matter of hours, while others lasted
for two weeks.
A total of 107 snow slides came down on
Highway 16. The biggest one came down in
February, measuring a width of 0.3 mi. (480
m). In places it covered the highway to a
height up to 75 ft. (22.5 m).The total snowfall that fell on the road during the winter
reached a total of 48 ft. (14.4 m)7
On January 22, 1974, a snow slide wiped
Highway 16, 1937, between Galloway Rapids & Skeena City.
out the service station and motel-restaurant
complex "North Route" along Highway 16,
28 mi. (44.8 km) west of Terrace. The slide,
which buried the complex and several vehicles, killed seven people.
Over the years many politicians promised
improvements to the highway. In October,
1955, Highways Minister PA. Gaglardi wrote
to Bruce Brown, MLA that a "considerable
portion" would be included in the next year's
B.C. highway program to provide for paving of the road between Prince Rupert and
Terrace.8 In April, 1965, Premier W.A.C.
Bennett announced in Prince Rupert that
during that year the reconstruction of the
highway between Prince Rupert and Terrace
would begin, with the first 25 mi. (40 km)
between Prince Rupert and Tyee. Early September 1969, after returning to office in the
provincial election, Skeena MLA Dudley Little stated that he would work for the completion of Highway 16 as uppermost on his
list of priorities for the riding.9 On June 20,
1974, in a meeting ofthe Inter-Provincial
Yellowhead Association, the Deputy Minister of Highways H. Sturroch, agreed that the
Prince Rupert to Terrace section of Highway
16 should receive priority. 10 On January
17, 1975, addressing more than 135 people
attending the 67th Annual Meeting of the
Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce,
Highways Minister Graham Lee promised to
get Highway 16 in shape before too many
years. He stated that to bring up to standard
the particularly difficult 35 mile (56 km) section between Prince Rupert and Terrace
would cost $50 million now, $75 million
tomorrow, and who knows after that. Whereupon a voice from the opposite side of the
hall called out: "Then fix it NOW!". This
drew much applause and laughter." In July
1976, Alex Fraser, Minister of
Highways and Public Works,
agreed that more work was
needed on Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Ter-
During the 1980's the
Kasiks, Tyee and Esker railway
overpasses were built as part
of a long term effort to eliminate all level rail crossings.
Now only two extremely hazardous stretches of highway,
Car Wash Rock and the section between Tyee and Khyex,
remained. The latter was finally, almost 50 years after its
original construction, brought
up to standard. Besides widening the road
and bringing it away from the railway tracks,
the new highway would no longer go underneath the hydro tower just east of Tyee.
Car Wash, a rock bluff overhanging the
highway about 30 mi. (48 km) west of Terrace gained new prominence when in March
1989 a motorist was killed there by a piece
of falling ice. The Ministry of Transportation and Highways has plans to bypass Car
Wash Rock within the next few years, but as
usual, the time frame will depend on funding available.
Since its construction, the highway between Prince Rupert and Terrace has been
upgraded, repaired, re-routed, paved, widened, straightened, improved with overpasses
and curbing until it was practically rebuilt.
Today, 50 years after the official opening,
the original highway has almost been totally
rebuilt. It is almost impossible to recognize
the narrow, winding roadway constructed
during the war years. Some old-time residents
still wonder whether this road would have been
through had there not been World War II.
Bio: The author who resides near Telkwa, researches local history and Canadian aviation
1. Annual Report 1929-30 Districr Engineer Prince Rupert ro
Chief Engineer, November 14, 1930, p. 2;
2. Letter, July 2,1938, G.S. Andrews to J.C. Brady;
3. Letter, March 14, 1942, Districr Engineer Prince Rupert ro
Chief Engineer;
4. Omineca Herald, June 9, 1950;
5. Bowman, Phylis. 1981. Road, Rail and River;
6. Ministry of Transportation and Highways. 1980. Snow
avalanche atlas Terrace-Tyee;
7. The Herald, March 9,1972;
8. Prince Rupert Daily News, October 22, 1955;
9. Terrace Omineca Herald, September 3,1969
10. The Daily News, June 21, 1974;
11. The Dairy News, January 20,1975;
12. The Daily News, July 12,1976.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 James Cronin: Mining Pioneer
by Dirk Septer
For many years, Cronin and Babine
Bonanza have been well known names
in the mining world. James Cronin,
who made his home in Spokane, Wash.,
was well known for his pioneer mining
work in both Canada and the U.S. Born
in Bantry, Ireland, Cronin came to
America at the age of 18. Soon after arriving in New York in 1870, he moved
out west. In the Nevada silver mines he
learned all there was to be learned in
the mining trade. There was not much
about a mine, underground or above,
that Cronin did not know. He could
build a shaft or timber a mine, and he
was his own draftsman and mining engineer. His judgement on the value of
ore bodies was uncanny.
In the 1890's, Cronin came up north
to Alaska and British Columbia. During one of these exploration trips in the
East Kootenay, he located the St. Eugene
Mine near Moyie Lake, B.C. The discovery of this mine would establish
Cronin's lasting fame in the mining
world. The actual discovery was made
by an Indian named Peter, who brought
some samples to Father Coccola at the
St. Eugene Mission. Cronin happened to stop
in at that mission and was shown the samples. Subsequently he was taken out to the
showing, and the St. Eugene, St. James, and
St. Paul claims were staked.
This property would turn into one ofthe
biggest lead and silver mines in British Columbia. Around $25 million (1925 prices)
worth of ore was taken out ofthe St. Eugene
Soon after that, Cronin rediscovered the
War Eagle and Centre Star mines near
Rossland, B.C. These properties had been
abandoned, but thanks to Cronin, 18 years
of production were added to the life of the
War Eagle and many million dollars worth
of ore was taken out.
Just after the turn of the century, Cronin
began exploring northern British Columbia.
He explored the Stewart River and the lakes
in that area to their source, and also the
With his partner Charles Theis, Cronin
bought the Babine-Bonanza group of min-
Mr. and Mrs. James Cronin at the main portal ofthe St. Eugene
Courtesy Cominco Magazine. May 1961
eral claims in 1907. This property is situated
in the Babine mountains, some 45 km northeast of Smithers, B.C. It was located in 1906
by M.J. Brewer and Jas. Dibble. For the next
15 years, Cronin would spend considerable
effort in the development and promotion of
this property. In 1909, the claims ofthe
Babine Bonanza Mining and Milling Co., of
which Cronin was general manager and major shareholder, were Crown Granted.
For many years access to the mine was via
the Moricetown Trail. This trail started from
the Telkwa High Road south of Moricetown
and ran almost straight west, just north of
the 55th parallel.
The arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific
brought many changes to the Bulkley Valley.
Until the summer of 1914, Hazelton had
been the supply town for the Babine mine.
On completion ofthe railway, Smithers became the nearest town carrying mine supplies. Consequently this town was picked as
the supply centre for the mine.
In order to cut the distance to the mine by
about 30 km, the Moricetown Trail was
abandoned in favour ofthe Driftwood
Trail. On the request of a number of
other prospectors owning mining
claims in the area, the provincial government upgraded the old Indian trail
into a good trail up to the head of Driftwood Creek in 1910. To get to the
Babine Bonanza property, an old Indian trail had to be followed to the
Babine Range Divide. Here within a
distance of about 1200 m the elevation
increases about 500 m. From this point,
still quite a bit of road work was required to get a passable trail to the property. Though the mountain side is very
steep, the soft material allowed easy
building of a number of switchbacks
whose grades had to assure safe foothold for the horses. Following the east
slope ofthe mountain for the distance
of about 3 km, the trail towards the
mine required some patching-up work.
This would bring it to a point from
which several other trails diverged to
different properties.
There is only one known low pass
which cuts the Babine Range, about 8
km southeast of the Driftwood Creek Pass
and cuts the mountain some 650 m lower.
The Driftwood Trail as described above,
was only a packtrail. Due to deep snow conditions during most ofthe year, it could only
be used for horse travel about three or four
months a year.
It would take Cronin much lobbying before the provincial government put up some
money to build a sleigh- and later wagon road
to the mine.
In 1917, Cronin proposed a novel method
of transporting from the mountain to the
railroad. It was towards the end ofWorld War
I and the price of metals was very high. In a
letter to Sir Richard McBride, one of Cronin's
investors and at one time premier of British
Columbia, Cronin expressed interest in obtaining one of the German Zeppelins captured in England. "Transportation of ore was
the only thing these machines were good for"
and then no roads would be required.
The battle to raise money for development
work was never ending. Cronin sank much
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 of his own money into the mine. In 1920,
he was even forced to lose, some 3,000 acres
of land he owned elsewhere in British Columbia due to his inability to pay the taxes.
However, he was a strong believer in the
potential of the property, and he never gave
up. In a letter to Sir Richard McBride he
wrote in 1915:
The opening of this mine has proved to be
the most tedious undertaking of my life, and
having staked everything on the finding of a
paying mine, the undertaking is also the most
serious, ffeel quite determined to stay with it
until the full value of the property is fairly determined.
Four years later he states:
To win in mining, the game must be played
to a finish and this we are now trying to do.
Despite all the setbacks, Cronin never lost
his sense of humour. When in 1923 a local
newspaper inadvertently reported on the sale
ofthe Babine Bonanza property, he wrote to
the editor:
The reported sale was an interesting surprise
to me. If you should have occasion to sell the
property again, I wish you should let me in on
the deal.
At the end of September 1923, Cronin was
plagued by the usual financial problems and
lack of encouraging results. He finally decided one morning to close everything down.
After laying off two of his men, he went to
examine the results of the blasting done the
evening before. To his delight he discovered
some good ore. There were some broken
chunks and more on the hanging wall. At
last he had a chance to quit and leave ore in
sight in the face ofthe drift!
He picked up the broken pieces of ore and
put these back around the ore in place. A
few hours later he got a surprise' visit from
the government district engineer. After looking over some other locations, they came to
the spot described above. The district engineer started picking at the ore with his light
The ledge, being cracked during the blasting, did not stand up to this very long. Soon
every piece that had an attractive appearance
came down!
In a letter to his partner Charles Theis a
few days later, Cronin writes:
/ could see $ 50,000 disappear with his pick
work and I shall always remember that it was
the greatest effort of my life to hold myself using
the pick on this man's head. In a few minutes
all my prospects were spoiled and new plans were
formed just as quick.
Cronin had two men and the cook left.
He decided to drive the face at least another
10 feet. He reasoned that if they should happen to be at the near end of an ore chute, it
would take 10 feet or more to reach the average. If it proved to be nothing but a punch,
it would be better that they would find that
out themselves than to have a stranger discover that.
He finishes his letter stating:
With me it is a question of now or never. I
am not coming back to do more development
work. There is plenty of ore developed here now
to justify the building of a 100 ton mill. A time
will come when there will be a better market.
Cronin felt that the work completed during the summer of 1923 had proven the existence of enough ore to justify a mill.
Though already in his 70 s, he had hoped to
install the equipment and operate the mine
himself, but his plans were never realized.
Cronin never did return to the mine. In August 1918, on the way out from the mine he
was thrown off his horse. The injury, though
painful, did not seem serious and was forgotten. The next couple of years he was often in pain and underwent a successful
operation in November, 1921. In January
1924, he underwent another operation, and
from then on his health was steadily on the
decline. He died on March 3, 1925.
After the death of Cronin, it was decided
by the estate to sell the property. During the
years 1925-28, many mining companies,
agents and brokers were approached. However, it was not until the end of 1928 that
there was a taker. The deal struck with Anglo
London Mining Company was not an out
right sale. Through an option this company
gained a 51 percent control in the Babine
Bonanza Company. But again the constant
lack of money plagued further development
at the mine. Due to depressed metal prices
and a continued lack of market improvement,
Anglo London had extreme difficulties to
come up with more money. Besides the problem of not honouring financial commitments, there were disagreements about how
to run the mine. Consequently in November 1930, Babine Bonanza cancelled the
Anglo London contract, something it had
wanted to do for a long time.
Wth Cronin's death we lost the last ofthe
great mining pioneers of the Pacific coast,
and his long association with the mining
world came to an end.
Cronin was deeply religious; a man with
high values and a good sense of humour. He
spent half his life in tents or cabins and was
an expert cook and fisherman. Cronin was
very well liked by those who worked for him
or with him. He believed in what he did, especially in the potential of the Babine Bonanza mine. Unfortunately he never saw that
mill working. His efforts finally paid off, but
it would take many years before his dreams
would be realized. In later years, a number
of different outfits operated a small mine on
the site. The property is still considered a viable small scale option but it never became a
second St. Eugene.
Dirk Septer, now living and working in the
Bulkley Valley, was trained in engineering in
the Netherlands
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Schooling on Lasqueti
by Elda Mason
The article about rural school teachers in
a recent B.C. Historical News Magazine,
(Volume 28:1 - Robert Wright - p. 26) in its
bare bones simplicity, fills me with the desire to recount the bright and tender memories of my personal acquaintance with the
schooling of that era (the 1920's).
Picture an island - Lasqueti - twelve miles
long; it is either timbered or recently logged;
there are a few large meadows; the land is
surveyed into conventional quarter sections.
The settlers' homes with their small clearings are seldom visible to each other. A few
people do have horses to ride, but most walk.
Wooden sleighs are used for freight as many
ofthe roads which often follow old logging
roads are not yet suitable for wagons; these
are usually very muddy in winter. Many people have boats which are very useful but completely subject to the weather.
At the time I was five years old, the only
school was at the opposite end ofthe Island
from my parents' home. My father tried to
remedy this situation by teaching my sister
and me to write and to know our letters. My
mother helped us write letters to our grandmother. She also taught us to sing while she
accompanied us on her guitar. We were encouraged to gather wild flowers and to call
them by name, however local these names
might be.
When I was eight years old, my parents and
a neighbouring family were able to arrange
with a retired teacher, Mrs. Katherine Grant,
for their daughter and my sister and me, to
go to her home for three hours each day. She
provided us with instruction for several
months. This wonderful lady introduced me
to phonics. In a very short time I was reading
the first Primer; soon I was into the magic of
BOOKS. We began Arithmetic - the fundamentals of adding, subtracting and simple
times tables. Mrs. Grant introduced us to art
- the world around us, painting flowers and
butterflies with water colors. She taught us
the songs of her childhood, "Buttercups and
Daisies," "The Sandman." I am eternally
grateful to my wonderful first teacher.
In time we took a Government Correspondence Course. Except for the grade two
Reader, I remember very little. I am afraid we
did not study very assiduously.
Maple Grove School, 1924. Front: Buth Boldthen, Violet
Norrish, Bertha Cook, Edith Norrish, Lucretia Copley,
Geneva Copley, Fred Cook. Middle: Beatrice Copley,
Dorothy Pettingett, Doris Reitz, Elda Copley, Jack White,
Maurice Reitz, George Curran, Art White, Alfred Copley,
Frank White. Standing behind: Miss Florence Eagel and
Rev. George Pringle.
About that time the settlers began building
a school for the end of the island where we
lived. Upright logs and handsplit shakes kept
the cost to a minimum. The Government supplied shiplap and fir flooring as well as three
windows for the south wall. Of course these
expenditures along with desks, chalk, new
books etc. were applied to the setders' taxes.
In 1923 when I was eleven, Lasqueti Island's
Maple Grove School officially opened. Miss
Madeline Elvira Nelems was the first teacher.
She was young, and to us children, very beautiful. She boarded with my Aunt and Uncle,
Birdie and Fred Copley in their comfortable
home beside the ocean. She had a separate
bedroom but of course there was no indoor
plumbing. This was not expected in country
homes. She walked the one mile to school with
my cousins.
Our school had eighteen pupils ranging in
age from barely six to fourteen years. Very few
had ever attended a regular school. Miss
Nelems sorted us into workable grades and
organized janitorial duties. She read us fascinating stories and taught us to write short
compositions, emphasizing oral reading. We
moved into multiplication and division; she
organized spelling bees; we began drawing still
life (salal leaves). Many of us were in tears
when she told us she would be leaving at
After Christmas, Miss Florence Theresa
Eagel came. She was also a very capable
young woman and soon had the situation
in hand. Our education progressed. Composition became more meaningful (the Life
Story of the Pansy.) Math involved problem solving with formal statements. Miss
Eagel taught us music, the notes and the
scales, the basis ofthe tonic sol-fa. For some
of the children this was very boring but
for me and my sister, it was the best part of
the day.
Miss Eagel paid us three generous dollars a month to do the janitorial work. We
cleaned the blackboards and brushes and
swept the floors each day. She also encouraged sports. The older boys felled the alders and with the help of parents we were
able to make our playground large enough
to play ball.
In the fall Miss Edith Kay came to Maple Grove. She brought her mandolin and continued our musical education. Then on top
of all the other duties of reading, writing
(MacLean Method) and arithmetic she organized a Christmas Concert and another concert in the spring. Thus drama, singing and
recitation became part of our experience. We
continued playing baseball and the revenue
from our second concert was used to buy
sports equipment.
These young teachers were respected members ofthe community. They were welcomed
to all social events and were entertained in
the homes. It is true that a few hearts beat
faster with the prospect of dancing with the
teacher or possibly taking her for a boat ride,
but this was all part ofthe excitement of having another young person with new ideas to
enlighten our lives.
Thus, though these young teachers did not
have any letters after their names, though they
were inexperienced and often had to make do
in difficult circumstances, their sincerity and
enthusiasm made up for it. They left a fine
and priceless legacy for those of my generation who had the benefit of their instruction.
Elda Mason now lives in Nanaimo. She recently
published Lasqueti Island, History and
Memory. If any descendants of Miss Eagel read
this, will they please contact Mrs. Mason.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 Making B. C. History: The Native Sons
of British Columbia
by Robert Leece
When the Native Sons of
British Columbia was first
formed in 1899, British Columbia was still in its infancy
as a province.1 Victoria, the
provincial capital, had been
founded fifty-six years before,
while Vancouver had been in
existence for only thirteen
years. As the senior city, Victoria was the province's leading force through its early
history, it was here that the
Native Sons was originally organised. In this initial formation, an identity for the
province and its inhabitants
was recorded that reflected the
social dominance of Victoria.
Over the next generation,
however, the Native Sons
would develop a new vision of the province
and in doing so they would record the development of Vancouver as British Columbia's
social centre. An interesting feature of the
Native Sons is the visual records they have
left. Emblems, badges, paintings, and photographs provide useful additions to the written records of the organisation. As a result,
this exercise will include visual material in
association with written records in studying
the Native Sons vision of themselves and the
While the Native Sons of British Columbia was a small, secret organisation,2 its activities were often reported in local
newspapers. As a result, it can be argued that
its members' visions of a British Columbian
identity extended beyond the confines of
their closed meetings. Also, as members of
the community at large, the opinions ofthe
community would have had their own influences on the members ofthe organisation.
With this in mind, it is reasonable to suggest
that the development ofthe Native Sons of
British Columbia can be viewed as a model
of the developing identity of the Province
itself. In considering evidence of this developing identity there will be a particular em-
The Native Sons ofB. C entered this float in the Victoria Day parade, May 1900.
BCARS H-2435
phasis on representations of the province's
Aboriginal population. This emphasis reflects
the view that a vision of Self is dependent on
the defining contrast represented by an
Other.3 In British Columbia, it was the Aboriginal population that would come to function as this Other.
The Native Sons of British Columbia was
first formed following the model ofthe Native Sons of the Golden West, a California
organisation.4 In announcing details ofthe
formation of the Native Sons, the Daily
Colonist reported that the objects ofthe organisation were "social and recreative and for
mutual help."5 A short time later, when the
election ofthe officers ofthe organisation was
reported, the Daily Colonist applauded the
use of Hudson's Bay Company titles for the
officers as "a happy and appropriate idea."6
Another aspect of the Native Sons was revealed when the Daily Colonist reported
that the organisation was intended to "unite
the young men of all nationalities, religious
convictions and political creeds under the
banner of love of the home province."7 As
for the Native Sons itself, its original constitution and by-laws listed the maintenance of
an awareness ofthe accomplishments ofthe
pioneers and the mutual economic benefit of its members
as being among its primary
Initially, the Victoria post
ofthe Native Sons appears to
have dominated the organisation, with the result that the
Native Sons' vision of the
province was Victoria's vision
of the province.9 In respect
to identity, Victoria presents
an interesting case as some of
the city's leading citizens were
the children of fur traders,
some of whom had Aboriginal or metis wives.10 Though
it cannot be pursued here, it
is possible that this aspect of
Victoria's society influenced
the course of self identification. In many respects there is no effort towards a distinctively British Columbian self
identification in the early years ofthe organisation. Outside of maintaining a memory of
the pioneers and references to the Hudson's
Bay Company, the overwhelming measure of
identity for the Victoria Native Sons was the
connection to the British Empire.
One particularly telling example of the
Native Sons' early self image is their official
seal. Initially, this seal was medallion shaped
and had at its centre a crown surmounted by
a lion, along with a wreath of oak and some
other unidentified foliage. Circling the edge
of the seal was the motto "Conjunctio
Firmat" and the name "Native Sons of B.C.".
Aside from the inclusion ofthe name ofthe
organisation, there is nothing to associate the
imagery of this seal with British Columbia,
though there is much to associate it with the
Empire. Similarly, the badge of Victoria's Post
No. 1 fails to include much that would distinguish it as being British Columbian."
Arranged on a red, white, and blue ribbon is
the seal described above, the words "Justice
Mercy Humility", the Union Jack and the
Canadian Red Ensign, and a shield bearing
the pattern ofthe Union Jack. Both of these
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 objects speak of Britain and the Empire. The
name British Columbia is simply a label attached to one of its many parts.
Along with the absence
of a British Columbian aspect to the identity ofthe
Native Sons there are very
few references to the province's Aboriginal population. One example is a
Daily Colonist report on
a 1902 Native Sons excur-
sion to Mayne Island
where the results of a "race
for Indians" is included
with the outcome of other
sporting events.12 Similarly, a series of photographs identified as
showing the Native Sons
in the 1900 May 24 parade also suggests some
form of association between the Native Sons
and these Aboriginal 'natives' (see end of document).13 One of these photographs shows the
Native Sons' float,14 manned by young boys
in sailor suits and young girls in white dresses
while another is of two Aboriginal men."
With no available written documentation of
the Native Sons intentions in this association, the only option is to speculate.
Aside from the archives' catalogue there is
little to connect these two photographs.
There is no overlapping content, though
judging by the camera angles the Aboriginal
men likely marched ahead ofthe float. What
is intended by their presence is more difficult to determine. One possibility is that they
were intended to represent a defining contrast between the Aboriginal character ofthe
province and the future of the province as
represented by the children on the float.
There is nothing, however, about these children that is particularly British Columbian.
Though there may be an awareness of race
indicated here, there is no other material contemporary with these photographs that
would indicate the Native Sons were consciously attempting to define themselves as
British Columbians in this manner in 1900.16
Instead, considering the organisation's emphasis on Empire, it might be more reasonable to view these two men, and similarly the
Aboriginal participants in the Mayne Island
excursion, not as aspects of identity but instead as indicators of locale. Aboriginal participants are, in association with the Native
Sons, presented as exotic subjects of the
Empire and reflect the all-consuming dominance ofthe British Empire.
Alexander McKenzie was the first white man to cross North America north of Mexico. Travelling
for the Northwest Company he crossed the Rockies and landed at sea water near BeUa Coola.
While Victoria's Post No. 1 guided the early
history ofthe Native Sons, a differing view
ofthe province and its character can be found
in slightly later activities of the mainland
posts. In particular, it appears that New Westminster's Post No. 4 took the lead in contributing to the development of a distinctively
British Columbian identity for the Native
Sons. One indication of this is developments
in the initiation ritual that probably originated with Post No. 4. Appearing in the minutes ofthe annual meeting ofthe Grand Post
in 1911, is a comment by the Grand Factor
concerning Post No. 4's purchase of "an initiation outfit both interesting and varied,
eliminating however all rough and dangerous features."17 Though there is no actual
description ofthe outfit in these minutes, it
is probably the same as the initiation costume
that became standard for the organisation in
the 1914 revised ritual.
The original ritual of the Native Sons included an initiation that involved a "hoodwinked" initiate enduring an ordeal of
entrance into the society.18 The initiate was
guided through a series of obstacles indicating entrance to the post and afterwards was
instructed as to the good conduct of a Native Son. Likely formulated at the time of
the organisation's founding in Victoria, the
ritual makes vague references to the fur trade
but otherwise has little to associate it with
British Columbia. The 1914 version ofthe
ritual differs considerably on this point. As
in the original initiation ritual, the initiate
was subjected to a "hoodwinked" ordeal.
Now, however, the initiate
had his "trousers rolled up
to the knees, [and] a pack of
a blanket, pick, shovel, axe,
and pans strapped to [his]
back."19 It is most probable
that this is the costume developed by Post No. 4.
Wearing this costume, the
initiate was led through his
ordeal while the Chief
Guide recited the following
My Brother, you are now
travelling over the Carriboo
(sic) Trail. This Trail is rough
and dangerous, and requires
great nerve and endurance to
overcome. But our Forefathers
successfully passed through
hardships, which proved
themselves worthy as Pioneers,
and it is to be hoped that you
will prove equally worthy as a Native Son.20
Following his ordeal, the initiate was addressed by the Post Chief Factor who detailed
the accomplishments of the pioneers. Included in these comments on the pioneers
was a reference to the "wild and often hostile
Natives," who represented one of the "difficulties" these pioneers "met and overcame."21
This appears to be the first reference to
the Native Sons actually identifying with a
specifically British Columbian experience.
Unlike the fur trade, which through the
Hudson's Bay Company was as much a connection to Britain as it was to any specific
region ofthe company's domain, the Cariboo
gold rush could only be associated with British Columbia. For the Native Sons it was a
defining moment for the province as well as
for themselves. Added to this is the reference
to overcoming the "hostile Natives." The pioneers are thus portrayed as having won the
right to claim this province as their own. In
the minds of the Native Sons, the result of
this was the founding of "this Glorious Province of which we [the Native Sons] are the
Inheritors."22 It seems that Post No. 4 was
the origin of another development of the
Native sons ritual. In 1915, the Grand Factor applauded Post No. 4's use ofthe Chinook
jargon in their initiation ceremony. It would,
he thought, "help to perpetuate the days
when our Forefathers had to do with the then
Savage tribes of Early British Columbia."23
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 As will be shown, this comment on the use
of the Chinook jargon is important in understanding the Native Sons identity.
Though it received only
brief mention in the 1914
ritual and the 1915 minutes ofthe Grand Post, the
issue of making reference
to the province's aboriginal
population is important in
considering the development of the Native Sons'
view of themselves as being distinctively British
Columbian. In a discussion
of Australian nationalism,
Andrew Lattas has written
that in the development of
a national consciousness
"concepts of time (of the
past and the future) are integral, and certain social
groups are invoked as the
embodiments of different
times."24 The past and the
future, the overcome and
the inheritors, only in 1914 was a sense of
provincial 'nationalism' beginning to develop
in British Columbia. Originating on the
mainland, the use of references to Aboriginal peoples and the identification of the
Chinook jargon as an aspect ofthe pioneers'
accomplishments in dealing with these peoples was becoming a significant part of the
Native Sons' identity. As part of the Native
Sons' ritual, however, these features remained
secret. It was only later, following the development of a nationalistic mood in the province at large, that these aspects of ritual would
become part of the public persona of the
Native Sons.
As in British Columbia, a "natives" association was formed in New Zealand in the
late nineteenth century.25 Primarily a middle-class social organisation, the New Zealand Natives Association did not survive the
transition to the twentieth century. In discussing this aspect of New Zealand's history,
Keith Sinclair has suggested that the NZNA
was ultimately swept aside by the events of
the Anglo-Boer war which created a unifying sense of patriotism independent of the
limited influence of a social club.26 In British Columbia, it was the First World War that
served as the catalyst of patriotism. Though
the Native Sons was not swept aside by these
events, it was very much changed by them.
Following reorganisation in 1922, the Native Sons, now with Vancouver's Post No. 2
in the lead, would seek to play a public role
in defining the meaning of being a British
Columbian. Of particular interest is the fact
Crown Colony of British Columbia was proclaimed at Fort Langley and James Douglas took the
oath of Lieutenant Governor by Matthew Baillie Begbie, Chief Justice appointed by British law in
that Victoria's Post No. 1 generally excludes
itself from these developments, possibly uncomfortable with the idea of following in
Vancouver's shadow.27
With its reorganisation, the Native Sons
adopted the new purpose of pointing "the
way to a clearer and more definite appreciation ofthe values of citizenship."28 Accompanying this new purpose was a new emblem
for the organisation. Unlike the original seal,
with its absence of references to British Columbia, the new emblem reflected an awareness of place that had been developing in the
pre-war ritual of Post No. 4 in New Westminster. Showing the Nanaimo Bastion, built
by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1853, the
emblem included the name ofthe organisation and a banner bearing the word
Tilikum.29 The inclusion of this word from
the Chinook jargon is interesting when it is
considered in relation to the comments made
about the use of Chinook in the ritual of Post
No. 4. It is representative ofthe accomplishments of the pioneers in dealing with the
Aboriginal peoples of the province; peoples
who had been overcome by these pioneers.
Increasingly, the Native Sons would choose
to define the province's Aboriginal population as an aspect ofthe past. Although they
would seek to collect evidence of this Aboriginal past, it was only for use as a scale
against which the province's progress could
be measured.
Between 1922 and 1928 the collection and
preservation ofthe early history ofthe province was a primary occupation ofthe Native
Sons.30 Artifacts were collected and the organisation participated in the
creation of a provincial
Historic Objects Act.
Central to this act were
provisions for the protection of "rock carvings,
totem poles, and other
works of Indian art or historic interest."31 The Native Sons' participation in
the passage of this act can
be seen as being rooted in
their desire to "preserve
the relics of a passing age,"
much in keeping with the
practice of viewing the
Aboriginal identity of
British Columbia as the
past.32 Though frivolous
and possibly even demeaning, the 1900 parade
and the 1902 excursion included living Aboriginal participants who were a continuing
part of British Columbia's existence. In the
1920's, these people were replaced by objects
that were used to define the past. It is also
possible to see another element of exploitation at work here, as the Native Sons excluded
the Aboriginal identity from the province's
future while at the same time using it in attempts to create greater interest in the "romance" of British Columbia's history.33
The Native Sons 1920s view of history is
well represented in a series of paintings commissioned by the organisation and the Hudson's Bay Company. Accompanied by the title
"Making B.C. History by recording B.C.
History," these paintings were presented in
Progress of British Columbia, a publication produced by Post No. 2.34 Given as a
gift to the University of British Columbia,
the eight paintings were of: Simon Fraser
Making His Way Through the Canyon of
the Fraser; Overland Expedition of 1862
Coming Through Rockies; Alexander Mackenzie recording his arrival at the Rock of
Elcho; Governor Douglas taking Oath of
Office at Fort Langley, November 19,1859;
Discovery of Gold at Williams Creek; The
Building of Fort Victoria; The Hudson's Bay
Fur Brigade passing Lake Okanagan; and
Capt. George Vancouver meeting the Spaniards Galiano and Valdez, off Point Grey.
Though all of these paintings reflect the Na-
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 tive Sons view of British Columbia, the depiction of Alexander Mackenzie is most relevant to this discussion as it is in this painting
that the Aboriginal presence is most
While the Aboriginal presence might be
obvious in this painting, it is also notably
diminished. Mackenzie is the focus of this
image, with the Aboriginal participants serving only as witnesses to his actions. They are
shown below Mackenzie, looking up to him
as he records his arrival and seems to gesture
towards a new future for the territory. Similarly, all ofthe paintings speak ofthe transition to and the development of British
control of the territory that would become
British Columbia. The Aboriginal inclusion
as witnesses to Mackenzie's 1793 arrival is
all the more revealing when taken in association with their absence from the painting of
the 1858 creation ofthe colony. In this view
of history the Aboriginal presence, and its
subsequent absence, is a measure of the development of the colony that would ultimately become the province of British
The Native Sons' struggles with defining
themselves reveal a number of aspects ofthe
development of British Columbia. Most obvious is the transition of influence from Victoria to the mainland and ultimately to
Vancouver. Also revealed, and possibly relating to issues of security, is the growing vision
of British Columbia as a distinctive entity.
At the turn ofthe century the province looked
to the Empire for its definition and probably for reassurance. British Columbia was
still on the frontier of'civilisation', only able
to claim clear authority through the support
ofthe Empire. Steadily, and most notably on
the mainland, this dependence was replaced
by a confidence that was openly displayed
following the First World War. As the apparent focus of this confidence, Vancouver took
over the role of defining the province and
determining its future identity. Meanwhile,
the image of the Aboriginal inhabitants of
the province was increasingly marginalized.
The Aboriginal identity became the past,
surpassed and consumed by the identity of
the new 'natives' of British Columbia.
Bio Note: The author was a student at the University of Victoria where he prepared this essay
for instructor John Lutz.
1. Victoria Daily Colonist, March 9, 1899, p. 2.
2. Victoria DaUy Colonist, March 9, 1899, p. 2.
3. Bain Arrwood and John Arnold, Rjwer, Knowledge and
Aborigines: Special edition ofJournal of Australian
Studies, (Bundoora: LaTrobe University Press, 1992), p. iii.
4. Victoria Daily Colonist, March 9,1899, p. 2.
5. Victoria Daily Colonist, March 9, 1899, p. 2.
6. Victoria Daily Colonist, March 23, 1899, p. 2.
7. Victoria Daily Colonist, August 6, 1899, p. 6.
8. Native Sons of British Columbia, Constitution And By-
Laws Of The Native Sons Of British Columbia
(Victoria: Greenwood, Smith & Randolf, 1899), p. 3,
British Columbia Archives and Records Service
(hereafter BCARS).
9. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 6, Minutes of Grand Post and
Executive Grand Post, 1907-1915, City of Victoria
Archives and Records Division (hereafter VARD).
According to membership numbers listed in these
minutes, it was not until 1915 that the Vancouver and
New Westminster posts had a combined membership
that exceeded the size of Victoria Post No. 1.
10. Personal communication, Elizabeth Vibert. Some possible
examples are: McNeill, Helmcken, Finlayson, McTavish,
Tolmie, Ross, and Todd. Names from, Native Sons, Post
No. 1: List of Members, their Vocations and Business
Addresses (Victoria, 1900), BCARS.
11. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD, contains six
examples of this badge as well as a box of seals from Post
No. 1.
12. Victoria Daily Colonist, August 15, 1902, p. 2. The
names ofthe three top finishers in this race are listed and
suggest, on comparison with the 1900 membership list,
that outside ofthe already mentioned metis individuals
the Native sons did not have Aboriginal members.
13. Photographs courtesy ofthe BCARS.
14. Photograph H-2435, May 24, 1900, BCARS.
15. Photograph H-2431, May 24, 1900, BCARS.
16. There are some examples of race being used as a defining
characteristic for the pioneers, but this is still not a clear
reference to a distinctively British Columbian identity.
One example of this can be found in: Ritual ofthe
Native Sons of British Columbia (Revised 1914), p. 19,
98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD.
17. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 6, Minutes of Grand Post
and Executive Grand Post, July 25, 1911, VARD.
18. Ritual ofthe Native Sons of British Columbia (no date),
p.7, 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD. Though
undated, the content of this ritual can only suggest that
it represents an early stage of its development.
19. Ritual ofthe Native Sons of British Columbia (Revised
1914), p.12, 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD.
20. Ritual ofthe Native Sons of British Columbia (Revised
1914), p.13, 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD.
21. Ritual ofthe Native Sons of British Columbia (Revised
1914), p. 20, 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD.
22. Ritual ofthe Native Sons of British Columbia (Revised
1914), p.20, 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD.
23. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 6, Minutes of Grand Post
and Executive Grand Post, July 27, 1915, VARD.
24. Andrew Lattas, "Primitivism, Nationalism, and
Individualism in Australian Popular Culture," Power,
Knowledge and Aborigines: Special edition of Journal
of Australian Studies, (Bundoora: La Trobe University
Press, 1992), p.45.
25. Keith Sinclair, A Destiny Apart New Zealand's Search
For National Identity, (London: Allen &c Unwin Ltd.,
1986), p.45.
26. Keith Sinclair, A Destiny Apart: New Zealand's Search
For National Identity, (London: Allen & Unwin Ltd.,
1986), p.45.
27. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 6, Minutes of Grand Post
and Executive Grand Post, May 7-8, 1926, VARD. By
this date, B.A. Mckelvie of Post No. 2 was complai ning
that Post No. 1 would not even respond to Native Sons
28. The Native Sons of British Columbia: Bruce A. Mckelvie's
Comments on the History of the Native Sons,98811-03
Native Sons, 29 B 7, Grand Post Historian's Reports and
Notes, no date, VARD.
29. The Grand Post accepted the new emblem on May 12,
1922. Hand written notes, 98811-03 Native Sons,
29 B 7, Grand Post Historians Reports and Notes, no date,
VARD. Description ofthe emblem in Ritual ofthe
Native Sons of British Columbia (Revised 1947), p. 6,
98811-03 Native Sons, 29 C 4, VARD.
30. It is not possible to go into every example, but the Grand
Post Historian's Reports list a number of purchases of
artifacts and donations to the Vancouver Museum.
j                     jg|
i J
I ] 1
m W '
"i       ^^  n
SUfB     BSrffi
.<**\   ^HFvSYLft ]
In 1808 Simon Fraser followed this river to the sea,
thus proving that this was not the Columbia. These
three reproductions ofthe original paintings by John
Innes which were commissioned by the Native Sons,
Post No. 2, are available in postcard form sold by the
Native Daughters ofB. C
Courtesy Native Daughters of B.C.
98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 7, Grand Post Historian's
Reports and Notes, VARD.
31. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 6, Minutes of Grand Post
and Executive Grand Post, May 7-8, 1926, VARD.
32. This quote is taken from a newspaper article in the
BCARS vertical files. It is incorrectly labelled as being
from the June 17, 1923 Vancouver Province. However,
its content does place it in the general period ofthe mid
33. 98811-03 Native Sons, 29 B 7, Grand Post Historian's
Reports and Notes, May 7 and 8, 1926, VARD.
34. Native Sons of British Columbia, Progress of British
Columbia: Lumbering, Agriculture, Mining, Fishing,
Shipping and Transportation, (Vancouver: Post No. 2
Native Sons of British Columbia, 1928), p.49.
Secondary Sources:
Bain Attwood and John Arnold, Power Knowledge and
Aborigines: Special edition of Journal of Australian
Studies. Bundoora: La Trobe University Press, 1992.
Sinclair, Keith. A Destiny Apart: New Zealand's Search For
National Identity. London: Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1986.
Primary Sources:
Native Sons of British Columbia collection. 98811-03 Native
Sons. VARD.
Native Sons of British Columbia. Progress of British
Columbia: Lumbering Agriculture, Mining, Fishing,
Shipping, and Transportation. Vancouver: Post No. 2
Native Sons of British Columbia, 1928. BCARS.
Native Sons of British Columbia, Post No. 1: List of
Members, their Vocations and Business Addresses.
Victoria:, 1900. BCARS.
Native Sons of British Columbia. Constitution And By-
Laws Of The Native Sons Of British Columbia. Victoria:
Greenwood, Smith & Randolf, 1899. BCARS.
Vancouver. Daily Province. Various dates.
Victoria. Daily Colonist. Various dates.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 NEWS & NOTES
Heritage Day 1996
Heritage Canada established in 1974 that the
third Monday in February be set aside to
celebrate the roots of each Canadian and our
collective heritage. Heritage Canada is
presently working closely with the Embassies
of Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and
Finland, with Nordic-Canadian organizations
and various corporate sponsors to ensure that
celebrations on February 19,1996 befit the
contributions of Nordic-Canadians to our -
Canadian identity.
For further information about Heritage Day
1996 contact Helene Fortin (Youth Services) or
Douglas Franklin (Government Relations),
Heritage Canada, P.O. Box 1358, Station B,
Ottawa, ON. K1P 5R4 or Phone (613) 237-
The Canadian Heritage Information Network
(CHIN) is a federal agency whose mandate is
to broker effective access to Canadian and
international heritage information for public
education and for the collective benefit of
Canadian museums. On October 1st, 1995
CHIN has launched a "New Look" on the
Internet. For those with access to the Internet
contact Internet Home Page: http:/www. chin,
Anne Stevenson : 1903-1995
Anne and Douglas Stevenson hosted the
BCHF conference held in Williams Lake in
1968. Mrs. Stevenson was the much loved
Honorary President of the B.C. Historical
Association/Federation from 1978 to 1983. This
retired high school teacher served on many
boards and committees including Chairing the
Board of Directors of Cariboo College. In 1982
she was presented with an Honorary Doctor of
Laws; George Pederson said, 'Wherever you
have served you have done so with distinction,
devotion, perception, and charm. You have
taught in, helped found, governed and served
the education system of British Columbia from
First Grade to Graduate School."
Anne Stevenson passed away on August 6,
1995. Memorial donations may be made to the
University College of the Cariboo, P.O. Box
3283, Kamloops, B.C., V2C 6B8
In "Balloon Bombs: Japan to North America"
(Summer 1995 p.22) Alastair Reeves, a retired
B.C. Forest Service officer now living in
Montreal, notes that 9300 (not 93000) balloons
were launched. On page 23 the author
apologizes for placing Klamath Falls in Idaho
rather than in Oregon.
And in the Fall 1995 "Bookshelf" page 38 - the
author of Roaring Days is Jeremy Mouat.
Scholarship Winners
The 1995 winner of the Burnaby Historical
Society Scholarship is Daryl Wong of Vancouver. This student at the University of British
Columbia is studying to prepare himself as a
teacher of History and Social Studies.
The winner ofthe 1995 BCHF Scholarship is a
Penticton resident who is nearing completion of
a degree in History at the Okanagan University
College in Kelowna. Chris Bogan grew up in
Nelson, B.C. and took his first year of post
secondary studies at Selkirk College in
Castlegar. He enthusiastically reported
enjoying courses in Early B.C. history, studies
of the Hudson's Bay Company, Ethno (First
Nations) history and Mediaeval European
history. He aspires to further studies leading to
a Masters in Archival Management.
Ray Nohels-1924-1995
The East Kootenay area lost a dedicated
community worker on September 15,1995.
Ray Nohels of Jaffray had led a group writing
and publishing the history of Sand Creek and
Jaffray; this book came off the press in time for
a reunion in August. He frequently spoke to
groups or school children on the history of
"South Country" and he had traced the original
1860s Kalispell Trail, marking this in two
locations. He died suddenly when taking his
prize winning vegetables to the Jaffray Fall Fair.
Recognizing Teaching
Canada's National History Society is launching
an awards program to honor teachers of
Canadian history. The teacher may be teaching
any Grade from 1 to 12. Nominations for
teaching excellence in Canadian history should
be sent in January 1996 to: Laird Rankin,
Canada's National History Society, 478 167
Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B
History 225-Open Learning
This correspondence course featuring Jean
Barman's textbook The West Beyond the West
received enthusiastic endorsation from a
Hedley resident who recently completed her
course. She describes the assistance of a tutor
on the telephone, carefully laid out learning
units and reading lists, and a 1-800 number to
request books from the SFU library. "University
was never this easy! I recommend that BCHF
Members take this course!" Phone 1-800-663-
9711 to get your registration information.
CGIT and Girl Guides
Both these organizations are observing special
anniversaries in 1995. Canadian Girls in
Training was launched in 1915 by the YWCA
and continues to function as an organization for
teen-aged girls in some Protestant churches
across Canada today. Brownies, Guides,
Pathfinders, Rangers, leaders and Sparks (the
newest group which involves girls aged five to
seven) are holding 85th Anniversary celebrations. British Columbia Guiding has 28000 girls
and 6900 adults currently participating in the
varied program. In July 1996 some of B.C.'s
adult members will be part of the welcoming/
working committees at the World Association of
Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Conference being
held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Gerald B. Timleck
The president of the Vancouver Historical Society died suddenly on September 26, 1995. Gerry, a long time
history buff, was a pharmacist who
practiced for 50 years, owning Magee
Pharmacy for twenty years prior to his
retirement in 1985.
Joseph Arthur Lower
The Honorary President of the British Columbia Historical Federation died
as a result of an accident on October
26, 1995. He is survived by his wife
Thelma, two sons and four grandchildren. Arthur Lower is remembered as
a teacher and as the author of several
books on Canadian history that are
widely recognized references. Canada;
An Outline History, 1966, with its second, revised edition in 1991, is particularly noteworthy.
Donations in memory of Mr. Lower
may be sent to: Vancouver Maritime
Museum, 1905 Ogden Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1A3
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 BOOKSHELF
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the Book Review Editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
The Queen's Law is Better than Yours:
International Homicide in Early British
By Hamar Foster, in Crime and Criminal Justice; Essays in the History of Canadian Law;
ed. Jim Phillips, Tina Loo and Susan
Lewthwaite. Toronto, University of Toronto
Press, 1994. $70 cloth; $45 paper.
The clash of native and European cultures is
dramatically portrayed by Professor Foster in
this brief exposition of homicides in the fur trading and colonial era. The essay examines a
number of prosecutions from each era and
notes the tribal law relative to murder and the
justification for same. An interesting comparison is made between the fur trader's 'justice' in
killing one or more members of the family of a
suspected native murderer, and native law approving of similar actions. In the pre-colonial
era, the author suggests that the fur traders may
themselves have been influenced by tribal customs of retribution.
One key theme of the essay involves the tying of many acts of native violence to the European's encroachment upon native territory.
The Bute Inlet Massacre of 1864 was viewed
by the natives under Klatsassin as an act of war
to prevent completion of a road over native
lands and as retribution for other grievances.
When the perpetrators of the massacre are captured and tried, Judge Begbie, with some regret, orders five natives hanged, stating that
"...the blood of twenty-one whites calls for retribution. "
The essay further chronicles the disadvantages which a native faced under the colonial
court process - seldom represented by a lawyer, often unable to understand the testimony
against him, and given virtually no time to prepare a defence in advance by arranging to call
witnesses for his defence. Yet it is conceded that
Judge Begbie, unlike his counterpart on Vancouver Island, did many times show compassion and fairness in dealing with native
The author quite rightly asserts that natives
were, after 1858, far more concerned with their
loss of hunting, fishing and territorial rights than
the imposition of the Queen's Law. Native anger over injustice colouring murder trials of tribal
members was linked moreover to the handicaps of the native defendant in the dock - not
least of which was the frequent tendency of a
native enemy falsely testifying against him. This
sense of injustice is exacerbated against the
backdrop of steadily encroaching European settlement.
In general though one may question the emphasis which the author places in his conclusion to a sense of betrayal by natives regarding
the criminal justice system in terms of the natives loss of 'wealth and power'. Natives in some
parts of the province indeed feel a sense of
betrayal - but surely more in relation to the false
promises and bigotry of politicians, including
Indian Affairs Commissioners. What is glossed
over here is that pre-colonial native society was
violent; brute force and survival of the fittest
One has only to read of the murderous raids
which the Yucultas made on the peaceful Stolo
of the Fraser Valley to realize how unreal is the
myth of homogeneous, peaceful co-habiting of
native tribes in the pre-colonial era. Native
women as well were physically abused in a
manner often permitted by tribal custom.
The European invaders brought many evils
to the natives and perpetrated many wrongs.
But the advent of the rule of law, in the form of
the Queen's Writ in British Columbia, with all
of its early imperfections of administration was
surely welcomed by most natives and not just
some, as the author suggests.
Professor Hamar concedes in fact that natives were frequently eager to hunt down a fleeing murderer and bring him to justice. The new
rule of law I suggest was widely accepted by
natives, even by the crude, gun-happy American gold miners in 1858: murder and violence
were not to be tolerated in the new colony and
the specific offender would, subject to mitigating circumstances and a trial, invariably pay for
his deed.
In summary, this is an important, well written essay in analysing both the application of
the criminal law in pre and post colonial British
Columbia and the effects of same on native
and colonial social relationships. Fairness and
balance in the essay could have been enhanced
by a frank expose of the lack of uniformity between native tribal legal systems, the uncertainties which that created when natives of different
tribes encountered one another, and the degree of violence permeating native culture in
pre-colonial society.
John A. Cherrington
John Cherrington, a Langley lawyer
is the author of
The Fraser Valley; A History, 1992.
The Road from Bute Island: Crime and Colonial Identity in British Columbia
By Tina Loo; in Crime and Criminal Justice:
Essays in the History of Canadian Law...
This essay examines the background to the
most famous colonial era clash between Europeans and natives. The European settlers are
portrayed as viewing natives as 'savages' lacking an appreciation of the individualistic ideals
of Victorian liberalism and Darwinian theory,
justifying colonialism and paternalism.
When twenty-one road builders penetrating
Chilcotin 'wilderness' from Bute Inlet are massacred in 1864, howls of outrage for retribution emerged from Victoria and New
Westminster newspapers, politicians, and the
public. Governor Seymour organized two parties of militia and volunteers who bungled their
way into unknown territory and were fortunate
enough to have eight Chilcotin natives turn
themselves in to one of the parties under misapprehension of holding a conference with
Governor Seymour and not being arrested.
Certainly Judge Begbie was troubled by the
circumstances of the natives' "surrender", so
much so that he interviewed their leader
Klatsassin in jail after the trial, and was much
The essay is most effective in revealing how
European British Columbians viewed themselves not only in relation to native justice, but
in comparison to American tactics and methods. The crassness and more blood-thirsty nature of American volunteers serving in one of
Governor Seymour's militia parties made the
British establishment determined to emphasize
treatment of the accused according to the strict
rule of law, and to avoid unnecessary bloodshed so characteristic of the American west.
Ms. Loo writes, "Meting out justice according
to the law was thus what separated British
Columbians from Americans, and a failure to
do so would surely mark the beginnings of
'Califomization' and a descent into savagery."
The author concludes that with the hanging
of five Chilcotin ringleaders, British Columbians
felt smugly content that they had dispensed British justice as opposed to the 'savage' treatment
Americans would have dealt the Chilcotin people. Thus the European establishment established its identity - rational, God-fearing, and
fair, even when dealing with the lowly savage.
The one weakness of this essay is the pointed
innuendo throughout that the hanging of the
five Chilcotins was both unfair and reflective of
typical "British justice toward natives". The author writes, "The Chilcotin's otherness, it
seemed, prevailed; the need for terror outweighed the need for British justice". Yet she
fails to delineate how justice here miscarried. It
is true that one of the five accused was only
found guilty of attempted murder and for such
a capital offence, Judge Begbie in fact had a
personal habit of recording the death sentence
in his Assize Book, but not pronouncing death,
thus allowing for life imprisonment But other
judges could and did pronounce the death sentence for attempted murder.
As for twinges of conscience, Begbie felt badly
that Cox had entrapped Klatsassin and his men
into giving themselves up and making confession. However, the law barring confessions induced by false promises from evidence was not
well developed. As legal author David Williams
commented on this point in A Man for a New
Country, " the 19th century, in spite of the
existence of the exclusionary rule, the courts
did not so often apply it to the protection of
accused persons; Begbie, in ruling that the evidence could be heard by the juries, perhaps
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 BOOKSHELF
correctly as the law then stood, experienced
nonetheless twinges of conscience."
What the author fails to disclose is the fact
that Begbie only convicted and pronounced
the death penalty after he was convinced by
evidence other than the confessions as to the
guilt of the accused. Ironically, the principal
Crown witnesses were native - not whites.
Begbie in fact would have been enraged by
Cox's conduct in entrapping Klat to surrender
and confess because he had made a life-long
career of instilling in natives a sense of British
justice and fair play. Contrary to the author's
innuendoes, Begbie was remarkably lenient towards accused - and particularly natives. In
1859, Begbie repeatedly dismissed charges
against natives accused of murdering American miners, stating that only "hard evidence"
would suffice. In 1860 at Hope a white miner
savagely assaulted a native. Begbie convicted
the miner on the evidence of native witnesses
alone. The miners raised such an outcry they
sent a delegation to Douglas in Victoria to complain about 'mere native' testimony. Douglas
sent the miners packing.
Perhaps the most astounding example of
Begbie's compassion towards natives involved
the Metlakatla affair. In 1872, four natives from
Metlakatla pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of four white men (who in fact died when
their canoes were overturned). Begbie, instead
of ordering death or life imprisonment, committed the natives to the charge of Rev. William
Duncan at Metlakatla for five years. Another
native, Qtl-Noh, convicted that same day of
murdering a fellow native whom he thought
was an evil medicine man who had had sexual
relations with his wife, was similarly committed
to Duncan's care. Begbie's words to the convicted natives would be remarkably unique
even in a late 20th century courtroom:
"There is a rock at Metlakatla and a rock at
Victoria, upon which your canoe will split You
have been sailing in an old broken canoe. When
a canoe is old and broken, men take a new
canoe if it is offered to them freely. There is a
new canoe at Metlakatla, and a new and much
better way of life."
Bench Books, Volume VIII, July 6,1872
At Bute Inlet, the facts were different Whatever their legitimate grievances, Klatsassin and
others had pre-meditated the murder of 21 civilians who had no history of hostile acts towards the Chilcotin. Every society has a right
to protect itself, and deterrence continues to
be an important factor in our law. I suggest that
the native law prevalent among the Chilcotin
and other First Nations of the colony would
have supported the convicting and punishment
of the ringleaders. The tarnishing feature which
coloured the episode was Cox's false inducements - not the ultimate fairness of result
John A. Cherrington
John A. Cherrington is a Langley lawyer.
The Place Between. Aldergrove & Communities. Alder Grove Heritage Society, 1993.
640 p., illus., maps. $55.
The Place Between is a difficult book to read
because, like many other local histories, it has
no real focus. Even the title is vague, though
the foreword suggests it means "the highlands
placed between two large prairies, both prone
to flooding (of the Fraser River) during the early
years." But still no specific mention of one of
the communities on this higher ground. A better title might have been "Aldergrove: The Place
Between, 1860-1939". Or whichever community the reader deems most important But why
Aldergrove in some places and Alder Grove in
The overall organisation also creates problems. It presents details first and then generalities, a direction opposite to the one readers
usually go. After an eight-page collection of
politicians' letters and of pictures of the people
who worked on the book, it jumps into a few
pages on non-Europeans and then into 388
pages of "Family Stories" — A to Z with the
exception of Q, X and Y — most written by
descendants of the settlers, and then presents
360 pages of little essays on some aspects of
the nineteen different communities in the district many with maps, but unfortunately not
aU. These little essays are so short and diverse,
so undeveloped and unrelated one to another
that they give no sense of there being a "community" to encase in this one volume.
Because of this organisation, one reads about
a family settling in Aberdeen or in Sperling but
reads without really knowing where Aberdeen
and Sperling are, and without knowing until
the end of the book why the places came into
being in the first place and why — but not always — they were so named. Readers also pick
up details at random. They learn on page 87,
in Family Stories, that Fenwick Fatkin planted
a half acre of bulbs in 1914, but do not learn
until page 497 that in 1928 he began the
Bradner Flower Show which "put Bradner on
the map". Evidence of a need for strong editing occurs elsewhere throughout the book: on
page 3 we learn that "In 1885 another large
number of Chinese came to B.C. for the construction of the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways" — interesting because
the CN had not yet even been thought of —
and that "Moving east along the Yale Road were
two Japanese families. ...", a statement that
gives no idea of where we or they are moving
east from.
The book may, however, be seen as a mini-
archives, as a gathering together of unrelated
manuscripts of concern to families and
communities in the area, but one leaving readers themselves to give the collection a unity.
Accepted in this way, the book can give great
pleasure to those interested in the variety of
peoples who came and where they worked and
how they lived, about education and about tragedy, and about how they escaped the same
ness of their day to day living.
The collection begins with notes on a few
non-Europeans. The local Indians, the Sto:lo
of Matsqui, appear in a column or two, but
soon disappear with hardly a trace, even though
there must have been more intermarriages than
those of Moses Graff, Henry West and William
Veanen. The Chinese get little space; in comparison, the Japanese are handsomely treated
both here and in the family stories later. The
item on the East Indians mentions the
Komagata Maru and, later, that Jiwan Singh
Gill, a Punjab man, jumped from that ship in
Hong Kong and made his way back to the
Fraser Valley where he became a hero in the
Sikh community.
The bulk of the book is taken up by the Family Stories of "European" settlers. They came
from Canada's eastern provinces and from the
northern United States, from England, Ireland
and Wales, from Finland and Denmark, from
Norway and Sweden, from France and Belgium and Switzerland, from Romania and
Galicia, from Russia, the Ukraine, and Siberia,
from Hungary and Italy and Jugoslavia. Mrs.
Moses John Jackson came from India; Laura
Jane Goldsmith had been bom in Ceylon. An
ancestor of John Jackman, the Book Committee Chairman, came around the Horn from
England in 1859, a Sapper in the Royal Engineers. Around the Horn, too, came the first
mules to the district, brought in 1868 by Matthew Archibald from Truro, Nova Scotia.
Knight Johnson and Joe Valente came together
and thinking they were in Canada settled side
by side in the southern part of the district, but
when governments drew the boundary line
Valente lived in the U.S. and Johnson in a hollow tree in Canada.
They came mainly to grub their fortunes out
of that new land. As often happened on the
frontier, relatives from elsewhere, from "home",
later joined a settled family; after World War 1
the Soldiers' Settlement Board encouraged veterans to move to the district. Butchers, bakers, candlestick makers; doctors, lawyers, Indian
chiefs; rich men and poor men, but apparently
not one thief. After all, family members writing
the stories probably could not admit to anything untoward in their backgrounds. In The
Place Between there were no villains; only
heroes. Nor was there any racial conflict or
religious nastiness. All was love and tolerance.
They came also to work on the river, in logging, in sawmills, to fish on the river, to construct telegraph lines, to open small stores, to
act as peddlers of small goods and groceries,
to supply services, to develop the transportation system on river, rail, and road, to pave
those roads when built, naming some of them
after the settlers themselves. They came to develop the hop industry and the flower beds,
the bulb farms. Jesse Throssell "became famous, but not rich" by winning prizes with his
turkeys, one prize a forty-year subscription to
a magazine, another a year's supply of fig bars.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 BOOKSHELF
Because of the dangers inherent in their
work, these people seem to have become accustomed to dealing with constant tragedy of
one kind or another. Even settlers on higher
ground faced both fire and flood, floods from
raging rivers and creeks, and fire because of
the woodbuming stoves in their tarpaper shacks
or little log huts far from neighbours and stores,
and because the spark-emitting smudges created fires that could not be fought with the limited water in the wells. These people witnessed
others' tragedies too: criminals working on the
chain gang; the unemployed in Relief Camp
207 at Patricia; one man being kicked in the
head by a horse, another crushed by a rolling
log. In 1931, when the heat-dried wooden-
spoked wheel of a car collapsed and caused
the car to roll, a woman's young son, also a
passenger, saw the broken glass cut his mother's jugular vein; two weeks later the family
house burned because of an air-tight heater.
When the riverboat Ramona exploded two
women drowned, one of them widowed earlier when a mine explosion killed her husband;
she left a six-year old daughter to be taken in
by generous neighbours. Some 342 pages later
readers learn that the explosion occurred at
West's Landing and that four, not two, had died.
Not all the collection is, however, about work
and tragedy. A careful gleaning reveals much
about the provincial educational system and
reminds us of Pro-Rec, that early idea of public
fitness. And about those school Christmas concerts which fostered both creativity and competition, but also pleasure and pride. After
weeks of students' practice, just a few days before the big day, fire destroyed a school and
forced the cancellation of the concert. Most of
these students walked a fair distance to school
every day, but went willingly because of their
teachers, those dedicated enthusiasts who
brought new ideas to the community every
year. At a time when young women had few
opportunities, those who could follow their
models often did so and became teachers, or
secretaries, or nurses in order to escape the
frontier hardships of the place between hell and
high water, the one between a rock and a hard
And there was music — for weddings and
funerals and parades, and for any other celebration marking a special occasion. Local
players grouped themselves into dance bands,
some of them extremely good; one picture
shows Helena Gutteridge playing a mandolin.
One band in particular became popular
throughout the valley and in Vancouver: Curley
Chittenden and his Harmony Pals; he is also
credited with having originated the idea of the
Abbotsford Air Show. Every Saturday night
somewhere there was a dance which allowed
the young and old to meet and mix, and in an
area where raising chickens was a major source
of revenue, one great site for a dance would be
a newly erected chicken house before it had
been fouled. Dances also promoted the mix
ing of second-generation young people from
the many different backgrounds, meetings
which could lead to marriage. Caesar Anderlini
of Italian background met and married Louisa
Swanson born in Manitoba of Swedish-English parents.
All such gleanings are interesting, but they
require meticulous organising to create an overall historical view. Curious readers go to such
books to find answers to their questions, but
here too often readers cannot even find answers to the many questions which rise naturally from the text Why was the name Glen
Valley chosen over others? Why did the change
come in the pattern of hereditary chiefs? Why
did the Anderlinis give the backseat of their
Hudson over to their goat when they went visiting friends?
A couple of articles illustrate some useful techniques when using this family-story format to
write the history of an area. Frank Erickson
came to Vancouver from Finland to farm in
1913 and in 1921, after working as a logger up
the coast in order to make some money, he
bought a stump ranch at Aldergrove and then
married Bertha Sjoholm from Sweden whom
he had met in Vancouver. They first raised
chickens and, after removing the stumps, added
dairy cattle. Of their three daughters, one became a secretary and two became schoolteachers. For this book one of the teachers, Ruth,
wrote about the family, and about the early
Scandinavians in the Aldergrove area. They
were the largest minority group, and her article
points out their stress on education, on community life and responsibility, and their building Vasa Hall to help promote their beliefs and
their joyful Scandinavian traditions.
These passages are probably the best in the
book, and are the best because they are organised: they have a beginning, a middle, and
an end; they tell us immediately who and why
and what and where and how and when. They
leave no loose ends. And instead of forcing a
reader to guess the answers to rapidly forming
questions, they answer the questions before the
reader has really had time to ask them.
Gordon Elliott, Professor Emeritus,
Simon Fraser University is the author of
Quesnel's Commercial Centre ofthe
Cariboo Gold Rush, 1958.
Blackouts to Bright Lights; Canadian War
Bride Stories:
Barbara Ladouceur and Phyllis Spence, eds,
Vancouver Ronsdale Press, 1995.299 p. illus.
This morning's newspaper cheers us with a
fifty-year-old wedding photo of Arnold and
Irene. Arnold wears a Canadian army uniform,
not particularly well fitting but brightened with
a large boutonniere. Irene wears white, with
many flounces and an elaborate headdress, and
carries roses enhanced with trails of maidenhair fern.   The faces of both wear what can
only be described as smirks. The time is August, 1945, the place, London, England. Today is Arnold and Irene's Golden Anniversary.
We have seen many delightful wedding photos in 1995. Sometimes the bride is in uniform.
Few wear gowns as elaborate as Irene's, which
probably was not bought off the rack, but could
have been borrowed, inherited, made with love
from whatever was at hand, or searched out
through lucky contacts on the black market
The couples do not always smirk, but appear
unanimously and understandably pleased with
More than 48,000 war brides came to
Canada during and after World War II. They
were "teachers, barmaids,... chorus girls, fresh-
cheeked young women and plump matrons, a
pot-pourri of Britain's daughters." During the
war they became "ambulance drivers, balloon
barrage workers, nurses, fire fighters, air-raid
wardens, factory workers and members of the
armed forces, including the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service), Land Army (farm work) and
Air Force."
At the invitation of the Vancouver Island War
Brides, the editors met thirty-six weir brides, and
tape-recorded their reminiscences. The resulting book gives us the coming-of-age stories of
girls living through the basic wartime atrocity -
the total disruption of the daily lives of ordinary
people. Amidst the bombs, they got on with
things, worked, danced and fell in love. After
the weddings, they endured long separations,
bureaucratic hassles, and interminable journeys
by boat and train, to be met by husbands unrecognizable in civilian clothes. The pockets of
the civilian suits were often sadly empty. Most
though not all, of these marriages survived.
Unfortunately, the editors have chosen to
record, transcribe and print these oral histories
with no framework other than the briefest of
prologues and epilogues, no connecting links,
and no attempt to weave the separate and unavoidably disjointed transcriptions into a narrative. Five brides presented their stories as
written, rather than oral, histories. These more
crafted sections, especially the last, by Rosemary Bauchman, give us a taste of the book
this might have been.
Members of thirty-six families will buy this
book and read the one chapter most meaningful to them. If the editors truly believe, as they
claim, "in the importance of recording and publishing women's life stories", they will shape the
wonderful material which they have collected
into a coherent whole to be read by the rest of
us. Our war brides deserve no less.
Phyllis Reeve.
Phyllis Reeve lives on Gabriola Island,
where the beautiful new Gabriola Museum
and Art Gallery opened on September 16th.
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 BOOKSHELF
Becoming Canadians: Pioneer Sikhs in
Their Own Words:
Sarjeet Singh Jagpal, Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park & Vancouver, British Columbia,
1994, pp.167 Hard cover. $29.95
Becoming Canadians, is a superbly illustrated book that succinctly describes the social
history of the Sikh population in Canada, focusing on their struggles, hardships, and perseverance to live in British Columbia. The author,
Sarjeet Singh Jagpal, outlines the history commencing with the first immigrants arriving in
British Columbia in 1904 and ending with peoples' recollections and photographs of the late
1940s and early 1950s, but he leaves his last
chapter, The Challenge Continues, with many
unanswered questions that both Canadians and
Sikhs must try to solve together. Sarjeet believes that the answers to these questions partially lie with the elders of our communities.
Jean Barman mentions in a foreword to the
book that Sarjeet's determination was displayed
in his "willingness to listen and his passion to
understand that opened up the Sikh community to him" which allowed Sarjeet to successfully develop and write this splendid book. The
author spent several years interviewing Sikh
pioneers and gathering photographs and documents that delineated their experiences when
travelling to Canada and their working, and living conditions in British Columbia.
From the time the first Sikh immigrants
landed in British Columbia between 1904-08
the mores for their survival in this country and
for them becoming Canadians were established
upon hard work and the social cohesiveness of
their population, the Khalsa or brotherhood,
The key to this idealism lay in their commitment to their religion centering around the
gurdwara, their temple. The new immigrants
experienced many obstacles in this new land
which included new cultures, laws, and language. The gurdwara assisted them in these
times. Similar to the Chinese Benevolent societies in BC, the gurdwara provided spiritual
salvation, housing, employment, health and
welfare to the new immigrants and those who
needed assistance.
There was little time for socializing. The men
spent their time working, saving money, communicating with family members in India and
sending money home to assist with social problems. It was not until the 1920s and 1930s that
family reunification and community building
occurred with the arrival of the wives and children. Prior to their joining of unions and affiliations with political parties, the men experienced
racism and poor wages, and working conditions. From their commitment and dedication
to their religion and life style they were able to
establish a number of robust communities near
lumber mills on Vancouver Island such as Paldi,
and around Vancouver and New Westminster
as well as the fruit orchards and vegetable farms
of the interior. Despite the many obstacles and
deep racial animosity that these immigrants en
countered, many individuals were not deterred
from becoming successful business men and
community leaders, such as the lumber barons Mayo Singh and Kapoor Singh.
While racist attitudes towards all Asiatic peoples were prolific in BC during the first half of
the twentieth century, there were a few philanthropists, such as Carlton Stone, owner of the
Hill Crest Mill near Duncan, who assisted the
Sikh work force at his mill. He allowed and assisted them in building a gurdwara that made
their life in the new land more hospitable.
Regardless of the restrictions imposed upon
them, with examples such as the educated Sikhs
not being allowed to enter professional fields
early on and then not being allowed to vote
until 1947, the valiant Sikh communities of
Canada have made major contributions to all
sectors of society as a result of their strong belief in educating their young people, working
hard, and assisting each other in times of need.
In 1947 the Sikhs, after many meetings and
petitions with government officials, were
granted the franchise, giving them a voice within
Canadian society. They were no longer second class citizens. However, another obstacle
for them to overcome was the strict immigration laws that had improved gradually from
1947 to 1962, when the quota system was
completely dropped.
Some short comings of the book included a
number of inconsistencies between pictures and
text. For example on page 18, a caption to a
picture described Sikh soldiers visiting Vancouver in 1897 en route to London and in the text
on the same page Sarjeet says the soldiers were
"travelling through Canada after" the celebration in London. Another concern that I had
was the date and the turning point that gave
the Sikhs the right to vote. On page 136 he
uses quotes from one of his informants who
recollected the time in 1947 when a number
of Sikh business men and leaders attended a
meeting in Harrison Hot Springs and were
given the right to vote in municipal elections.
Eight pages later, the author describes a brief
that was presented to the federal Elections Act
Committee in 1946 by Dr. Randia that was seen
as the impetus for the Sikhs receiving the municipal franchise in 1947.1 assume that it was a
combination of events and individual efforts that
eventually led to the Sikhs receiving the right
to vote in 1947, but which event was the turning point is not clear in the book. Sarjeet should
have provided more reasons for the intrinsic
and extrinsic factors leading to the immigration
from the province of Punjab to Canada. When
describing a social history of an ethnic group it
would have been beneficial to have a map
outlining the route that the pioneer people took
and/or charts delineating the regions of Punjab
and the number of immigrants that came from
each area. Additional charts in an appendix
could have provided some statistics of Sikh
immigration, people bom, and occupations in
Canada. Another personal preference would
have been for the author to include a chronological chart describing all of the significant
events affecting the Sikh people in British Columbia.
Becoming Canadians, despite the minor
flaws, was well written using a great combination of quotes from the Sikh elders. Incredible
photographs accompanied these oral accounts
of events providing much colour, zeal and life
to a history about a people. Sarjeet says that
"There is no substitute for the living history that
only our elders can offer us." This is a must
read for interested people who are unfamiliar
with the Sikh history in Canada. It was very
enlightening. Sarjeet's book provides the voice
of the history of the Sikh communities in
Canada, one illustrious chapter in Canada's
multicultural album.
Werner Kaschel
Werner Kaschel is a Vancouver School
Shaping Spokane: Jay P. Graves and His
John Fahey. Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1995. 144 p. illus. $25 (US)
North-South links between the Boundary-
Kootenay regions of Southeastern British Columbia and the Inland Empire were particularly
strong around the turn of the century. In fact,
a great deal of the economic wealth of Spokane,
Washington's entrepreneurs was generated
north of the border.
Jay P. Graves (1860-1948) was one of these
successful businessmen. He was a real estate
broker, land developer, owner of the urban trolley system and builder of a suburban railway.
These Spokane activities were made possible
by his investments in Granby Consolidated Mining, Smelting and Power Company Ltd. at
Grand Forks (at one time the largest copper
smelter in the British Empire) and the massive
copper mines at Phoenix. Two chapters,
"Boundary" (Chapter 1) and "Granby" (Chapter 5) detail Graves' skillful exploitation of Canadian patriotism to entice bankers and
railwaymen to support his British Columbia
ventures - the consummate American capitalist
This shprt book includes 48 historic photographs. It is well documented with a comprehensive bibliography.
Ron Welwood
Ron Welwood is Vice-President of the
The Accidental Airline; Spilsbury's QCA:
Howard White and Jim Spilsbury. Madeira
Park, Harbour Pub. 1994. 246 p. illus. paper.
Ostensibly a joint authorship, this autobiographical account of Jim Spilsbury was first
published in 1988. Now this paperback edition is a welcome reminder of the part played
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 BOOKSHELF
by Queen Charlotte Airlines in opening up the
BC Coast and interior in the immediate post
second world war days, as well as of its place
in the history of Canadian Air Transport
What its customers affectionately called a
Queer Collection of Aircraft was started, as the
title implies, quite by accident by Spilsbury who,
with his partner Hepburn, had in the '30's pioneered a radio business serving fish boats and
plants, and logging camps, all up the Straits of
Georgia and on Vancouver Island. It grew so
much that their service, using an old boat, was
inadequate and too slow. Eventually Spilsbury
had the idea of supplementing it by aircraft.
It was 1943, the worst time of the war, and
he knew nothing about the air. Somehow he
managed to obtain an aircraft from the East,
get it to Vancouver and persuade Ottawa his
contracts for coastal defence radios merited a
gas allocation. A pilot was hired and without
breaking too many rules the new venture
It soon made sense to use the Waco from
time to time also to carry people. At the end of
the war this caused the first of his serious
brushes with authority. Even then close regulation of air transport was recognised as essential for the general safety. Scheduled routes
needed special permits - one only per route to
prevent cutthroat and unsafe competition.
Meanwhile there were numerous enthusiastic undercapitalised enterprises started. Many
were to fail, the rest to be either absorbed by
or to take over others. It took perhaps forty years
before it was all sorted out and today's more
solid and ordered structure of the airline business achieved. At the same time, as Spilsbury
found to his cost, the regional office of the Department of Transport was at that time particularly renowned for its nitpicking application of
rules and lack of both business sense and humanity.
However, despite what seems to have been
an especially unhappy relationship with the authorities, QCA was an airline that grew and
eventually prospered, overcoming on the way
all the problems associated with growing from
a one man seat-of-the-pants operation to a
properly organised air transport company of
some size. At one time it was the fourth largest
airline in Canada.
In the process, partly through ignorance,
partly through lack of ready cash, it flew a remarkable variety of aeroplanes, many of them
quite unsuitable. QCA will always be particularly remembered for the old Stranraer biplane
flying-boats it used to start up the Queen Charlotte Islands and Prince Rupert service. It also
flew Norsemen, Dominies, Cansos, Ansons and
DC3's, DC4's, and C47's and had flirtations
along the way with Cessna Cranes and a
In those wheeler dealing days Spilsbury
seems to have tried to run a gentlemanly company and not stoop to the worst cut-throat practices of some competitors. This did not deter
him from indulging in sharp practice when necessary or from bending, at least, the rules when
it seemed sensible to do so.
Along with success and growth came the fair
proportion of bad luck, and crashes. On at least
one occasion deaths were caused by over zeal-
ousness in making a mercy flight in unsuitable
conditions. Never much of a pilot himself, he
had to rely on others and found this difficult
Half way through the book Spilsbury's real
bete-noire appears. Added to the problems of
officialdom, his competition and suspect lobbying methods now made QCA' s task much
harder. However the narrative now protests
rather too much about the unfair influence of
these outside factors. In retrospect, for the book
was written many years later when Spilsbury
was over 80, the injustices may well have become exaggerated in his mind, if understandably so. In contrast some other contemporary
views, as for instance those recorded in Pioneering Aviation In The West (Hancock
House/ Canadian Museum of Flight, BC), give
a much less jaundiced view of Spilsbury's pet
Whatever the correct balance, in 1955 QCA
found itself stronger than ever but nonetheless
with its best prospect being to sell out to the
now weaker company run by the hated rival.
There is no doubt the latter then behaved
abominably to Spilsbury and the QCA staff he
had taken over. Many people did not regret
that he did not long survive, unlike Spilsbury
who, with a reasonable capital sum from the
proceeds, as well as later from his radio business, has continued to live a fruitful life, sailing,
painting, writing (he has written two earlier
books) and travelling.
This book is important history of the 1940-
60 period. There is BC aviation itself and the
way it opened up the Province, particularly the
Then there is the no-holds barred business
climate of those wheeler-dealing times. If neither aspect of history appeals, read the book
as a simple story of the good clean country boy
who grows and fights the big baddies and overcomes terrible odds to triumph in the end.
Jack Meadows
Jack Meadows is a 1937 vintage pilot,
retired businessman, and aviation historian.
Canada's Forgotten Highway:
Ralph Hunter Brine. Galiano, B.C. Whaler
Bay press, 1995. 260 p., maps. $27.95
Whenever I travel across Canada I invariably find myself wondering how people crossed
this vastness (especially the impenetrable barrier of the western mountains) before the advent of rail or road.
Yet it was done. In 1811 David Thompson
succeeded in his canoe expedition across North
America from Montreal to the Pacific. This journey established a 4300-mile water route that
for about half a century, became an almost rou
tine way of transport across Canada. After the
coming of the railroad, however, this wilderness "highway" was very quickly almost completely forgotten.
In Canada's Forgotten Highway, Ralph
Brine describes the 1967 "Eastward Ho" Expedition, in which he and three companions in
a big voyageur canoe retraced the entire length
of the old waterway.
The gruelling details of this crossing of the
continent are at times almost incredible. The
expedition's first real test was the struggle upstream through the rapids of the Fraser Canyon. Even more daunting was hand towing of
the heavy canoe over snow-choked passes in
the Rockies, about which one expedition member groaned: "Now I know how the Egyptian
slaves felt, pulling those two-ton blocks to the
pyramids." After the ascent (and descent) of
the Divide, the canoeists found themselves battling ice on the North Saskatchewan River,
We are reminded of a forgotten fact: such
challenges were daily realities during "routine"
crossings of Canada through much of the nineteenth century.
A bonus in Canada's Forgotten Highway
is the author/expeditioner's neat technique of
including a 'fifth man' on the voyage. During
each leg of the crossing the extra man is the
historic explorer who originally surveyed that
part of the route. Thus we have Fraser,
Thompson, La Verendrye and Champlain giving their impressions, each of them speaking
through his own logbook or diary. The observations of these passengers, very smoothly integrated into the present-day narrative, give us
a lot of the history of exploration in a painless
Philip Teece
Greater Victoria Public Library
Time & Tide: a History of Telegraph Cove:
Pat Wastell Norris. (Raincoast Chronicles 16)
Madeira Park, Harbour Publishing, 1995
Community histories are often mere patchworks of unconnected anecdote. This one is
different it is the well planned, dramatically narrated history of a British Columbia place that is
unique and yet also typical of many early coastal
The author is a daughter of the builder of
the original Telegraph Cove sawmill and hamlet, and granddaughter of the man who in 1909
named the remote northern Vancouver Island
Of the isolated place where she grew up, the
author says: "We were fifty men women and
children cut off from the rest of humanity by
forest and ocean." It is because of the small-
ness of this community and its unique geographic self-containment that Rat Norris' story
has its pleasing unity of plot and character.
When the economic crash of 1929 wiped
out dozens of coastal jobs through the demise
B.C. Historical News - Winter 1995/96 BOOKSHELF
of the B.C. Fishing and Packing Company's
plant at Alert Bay, the Wastell family built the
mill and village at Telegraph Cove. The story
of this tiny settlement's struggle to survive
through the Depression is a tale of high adventure: the romance of early day lumbering and
sawmilling, and the perilous endeavour of log-
towing with underpowered tugs in the ferocious
tidal streams of the inside passage.
Perhaps the greatest strength of this fine history is the author's great skill at drawing her
cast of characters. The isolation of the place
creates a stage on which the strong personalities of Fred and Emma Wastell and their neighbours develop, as in a well crafted play.
Some of Pat Norris' memories of these people and the tough era in which they lived are
comical. Chong the camp cook emerges as a
minor hero in his battle (hampered by a limited command of the English language) to obtain supplies that meet his high standards. Fred
Wastell's own stoicism is illustrated best in a classic struggle against the elements— his conflict
with a crate of escaped frogs during a gale in
the Straits. People's desperation in hard times
is poignantly illustrated in the tale of Blackie,
whom the Telegraph Cove mill crew attempted
to dissuade from suicide. (In the end he shot
himself—but missed.)
The close of Telegraph Cove's great pioneer
days typifies the end of a similar way of life in
many isolated Vancouver Island settlements. It
was the influx of people and marine traffic during the 1939-1945 war that changed the community from a kind of outer space colony to
the busy stopover visited by yachtsmen in the
Time & Tide is an excellent historical narrative. The challenge faced by the pioneers of
Telegraph Cove are those that confronted all
early settlers on British Columbia's remote
coastal fringes.
Philip Teece
Greater Victoria Public Library
The Institutionalized Cabinet: Governing
the Western Provinces
Christopher Dunn. The Institute of Public
Administration of Canada, Kingston. McGill-
Queen's University Press, 1995. 333 pages,
At first glance, this volume appears to be yet
another written by an academic for fellow
academics - or more accurately, written for tenure and promotion committees. On closer inspection, however, it has for students of British
Columbia political history a perspective on the
regimes of W.A.C. Bennett, David Barrett and
WR. Bennett not available elsewhere.
Dunn's argument is that in common with
other governments of Canada, the provincial
cabinets of Western Canada underwent a transformation that began in Saskatchewan in the
late 1940's but did not reach British Columbia
until the accession of the younger Bennett in
1976. In Dunn's words this transition "witnessed the replacement of the unaided (or tra
ditional) cabinet by the institutionalized (or structured) cabinet". The main effect of this shift, he
argues, was in the role of the premier which
moved "from that of mere personnel choice to
that of organizational architect". Seeing the premier's role as crucial and each premier as different in style, he goes on to analyze for three
western provinces (Alberta would not co-operate! ) the tenures of various premiers from the
1940's to the 1980s.
Anyone who knows anything about W. A.C.
Bennett's 20-year rule from 1952 can easily
accept Dunn's conclusion that Bennett's was a
traditional cabinet with the premier in full control. It was also an "unaided" cabinet. For most
of the period, Bennett was assisted by only two
senior staff - the deputy Minister of Finance and
the deputy provincial Secretary - he had no
executive assistant
That David Barrett continued the Bennett
system after 1972 is surprising, given the role
models of CCF/NDP governments in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Dunn attributes this
lack of change to Barrett's personality - he operated on concensus unlike his predecessor. But
the absolute unreadiness to govern of the incoming NDP should also be noted - they had
not prepared themselves to be the administration, and were in fact flabbergasted at their victory. This unreadiness is perhaps the reason
that it took most of "1000 days" and the pushing of Marc Eliasen, fresh from his cabinet support role with the Manitoba NDP, to begin to
change. Nevertheless when the Barrett government was defeated at the end of 1975, patterns were still essentially those of the previous
Bennett era.
The creation of the current institutionalized
cabinet in British Columbia was W.R. "Bill"
Bennett who came to power without any previous experience in government and only a
short service in the legislature. Thus unhampered by precedent he proceeded as (to quote
Dunn again) the "organizational architect [of]
the structure and decision-making processes of
cabinet" to bring the cabinet of British Columbia belatedly no line with those of the federal
government and the other provinces.
So we are left with this paradox - in style of
governance, it was Dave Barrett, not Bill
Bennett, who was "son of W.A.C." All those
years facing Bennett senior across the floor
made Barrett into something of a mirror image
of the older man. But considering the relations
between actual fathers and sons, it is maybe to
be expected that it would be Bill Bennett, rather
than Dave Barrett, who would break the traditional cabinet model in British Columbia.
Keith Ralston
Vancouver Historical Society
Children, Teachers and Schools in the
History of British Columbia.
Jean Barman, Neil Sutherland and J. Donald
Wilson, eds. Calgary, Detselig Enterprises Ltd.,
1995. 425 p., illus. $28.95.
Initially, readers may well be drawn to this
book solely by the delightful front cover painting, Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C., by the
well-known British Columbia artist, E.J.
Hughes. But this is not a book about life on the
British Columbia coast Rather, it is a potpourri
of scholarly writings loosely connected to the
general theme of the history of primary and
secondary education in British Columbia.
This anthology is very much a product of
the Social and Educational Studies Department
in the Faculty of Education at the University of
British Columbia. The three anthology editors
and principal authors are all members of that
department and several of the other authors
are former graduate students. The anthology's
contents reflect their research interests in the
history of childhood, classroom life from the perspectives of pupils and teachers and the educational system which structured those
Children, Teachers and Schools is a useful mix of original and reprinted theoretical
works and personal or anecdotal accounts. The
anthology's contents are of interest to scholars
and students of educational history, the history
of childhood, social history, British Columbia
history, the professionalization of teaching,
women's history, etc. Tim Stanley's careful
analysis "White supremacy and the rhetoric of
educational indoctrination: a Canadian case
study" is an excellent example of an academic
investigation of the perpetuation of cultural
norms. In a similarly rigorous academic approach, Jean Barman's article "Schooled for
inequality: the education of British Columbia's
aboriginal children" explores the issue of the
residential school as an agent of social assimilation. While recognizing that the articles in this
anthology have been written for an academic
audience, much of the material is also of interest to general readers. Particularly appealing in
this category are the accounts of the everyday
lives of children and teachers. Neil Sutherland's
compelling articles "Everyone seemed happy
in those days" and "I can't recall when I didn't
help" come immediately to mind, as does
Thomas Fleming and Carolyn Smyly's engaging account of a teacher's life at Mud Flats, "The
Diary of Mary Williams". There is much more
here. If you are curious about the history of
children, teachers and schools in British Columbia, there will be something for you.
Linda Hale
Instructor, History, Latin and Political
Science Department, Langara College,
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Writing Competition
(Lieutenant Governor's
Pixie McGeachie
3450 West 20th Ave, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
7953 Rosewood St, Burnaby, B.C. V5E 2H4
(NOTE: All phone numbers listed use the area code 604) The British Columbia Historical News
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Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the thirteenth annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1995, is eligible. This may be a community
history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections giving a glimpse of the
past. Names, dates and places, with relevant maps or pictures, turn a story into "history."
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included, with appropriate
illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate index, table of contents and bibliography, from first-time writers as well as established authors.
NOTE: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.*
The Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual writer whose
book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other awards will be made as
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This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than 3,000 words, typed double
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