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Audio recording of Parker Williams' September 2007 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about ships that were important to the city of Nanaimo. Because the society is interested in expanding their commemorative plaque series at the waterfront about influential vessels in Nanaimo’s harbour, Williams, who is both an NHS member and a former marine engineer, has researched vessels that could be candidates for future plaques. He introduces the following vessels to the group for consideration: the Spanish schooners Sutil and Mexicana, which in 1792 explored local waters, including the Nanaimo harbour; the Hudson's Bay Company steamers, Beaver and Otter, which had long, interesting histories on the coast, and also the HBC schooner Cadboro, which carried the first load of coal out of Nanaimo in 1852; the Alpha, which was the first vessel built in Nanaimo; the Quadra, a government patrol vessel; City of Nanaimo, Joan, and the Robert Dunsmuir, three passenger ships owned by Robert Dunsmuir and operated in conjunction with the schedule of the E&N Railway; Princess Elaine, the CPR passenger vessel which travelled between Nanaimo and Vancouver; Atrevida, which was the first regular passenger ferry to Gabriola Island; Maude, Cariboo Fly, and Isabel, which were all small mail and passenger vessels making stops in Nanaimo; the Kahloke, which was a passenger ferry operated by Black Ball Ferries; the H.M.S. Virago, a warship of the British Royal Navy, which spent time in the Pacific maintaining law and order; the Egeria, which surveyed the east coast of Vancouver Island; the Carolina, the schooner in which the infamous Captain Jemmy Jones made a record setting coal run from Nanaimo to Victoria; the SS Oscar, which exploded in the Nanaimo harbour in 1913; the tugboats Nanaimo Chief, which was known for winning tug races in Seattle, Estelle, which was built by Andrew Haslam and sank off Cape Mudge with all hands lost, and Rainbow, which towed barges of miners over to Protection Island to work; and the naval vessel H.M.S Sparrowhawk, which was stationed in Esquimalt from 1866-1872, and was sent to Nanaimo in 1870 because of labour unrest.
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Audio recording of Shari Lindsay's April 2005 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about the atlas she's created featuring the underground workings of coal mines in the Nanaimo area, from Cassidy to Lantzville. A fifth generation Nanaimoite, Lindsay combined her interest in history with her expertise in GIS to produce the "Coal Mine Underground Workings Atlas" in 2004. Lindsay describes how she used data from various sources, including: information from the Ministry of Mines and the City of Nanaimo, fire reports and original company coal mine maps found in the Nanaimo Community Archives, and GPS readings taken during her own field work. Lindsay then used GIS tools to compile the data and create the maps, which feature details about the abandoned mines like spot depths and upper and lower workings.
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Audio recording of Paul Rankin's November 2004 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about military air crashes on Vancouver Island during the Second World War. Rankin describes a project he has been working on for several years to research the November 10, 1944 crash of a RCAF B-24 Liberator bomber (serial number KH108) near Nitinat Lake. Rankin explains how he got started on the project, gives a brief history of the RCAF on the West Coast, talks about the night navigation mission which took off from Abbotsford that the aircraft was participating in on the night of the crash, gives details about the crash and the crash site, and chronicles what has been done since to honour the 10 crew members who died as a result of the crash. Rankin also gives information about other Vancouver Island military air crash sites, including one in the Nanaimo River watershed which occurred in May 1944.
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Audio recording of Parker Williams' presentation about the history of Protection Island to the Nanaimo Historical Society in 1996. Williams, a longtime Protection Island resident, begins his talk with an explanation of how the Protection Island museum was established in one of the former lighthouse keeper's residences. He then goes on to talk about early exploration of the area by Spanish explorers in the 1790s, who named it Winthuysen Inlet. Williams then gives the history of Gallows Point, which was known as Execution Point until about 1900. It was the site of the January 17, 1853 execution of two First Nations men who were found guilt of the murder of Hudson's Bay Company shepherd Peter Brown in the first trial by judge and jury under English law to be held on the B.C. coast. The next section of Williams' presentation covers the coal mining history of Protection Island, including: early exploratory boring; the link with Nanaimo's No.1 Mine under the Nanaimo harbour; and the sinking of Protection Island's own shaft in 1891, with its accompanying headframe, powerplant, wharf, and railway. Williams explains how after eight hour workday legislation was enacted in 1904 due to the efforts of two Socialist members of the provincial legislature - his own grandfather, also named Parker Williams, and James Hawthornthwaite, the Protection Island shaft was used to enter and exit the combined Protection Island/No.1 Mine because the entrance was significantly closer to the workings than the entrance on the Nanaimo side. Williams explains how miners were transported to Protection by a tug pulling a scow, and gives details about the tugs and scows used for this purpose. Williams then goes on to describe several accidents related to the Protection Island Mine, including: an out of control grass fire which blew up the powder house in 1911; the explosion of the Oscar in 1913, which badly damaged the nearby headframe and other mine buildings; and the tragic accident on September 10, 1918, in which 16 miners died when the cage hoisting cable broke. After closing down in 1938, the pithead stood as a derelict landmark for many years until it was burned by Nanaimoites to celebrate the end of World War II. Williams then covers Protection Island's early recreation history, and its eventual sale to Nanaimo Realty in 1959 for $130,000. Williams describes how the island was then divided into 344 lots, a development that was heavily marketed by Frank J. Ney. In 1974, Protection Island became part of the City of Nanaimo, and Williams ends his talk with some of the challenges that came with this change.
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Audio recording of Lynne Bowen's November 1996 presentation to the Nanaimo Historical Society about her 1995 book, "Those Lake People: Stories of Cowichan Lake." Bowen reads several excerpts from her book to illustrate some of the stories which highlight the social history of the Cowichan Lake region. Excerpts include: details about the area's first settlers, such as Angus Fraser who moved to the area in 1889 and attempted the first log drive down the Cowichan River; the arrival of the very proper Ashburnham family in 1913; a background history of "boss logger" Mathias Hemmingsen, about whom many legends are often told; the history of Lot 29, including background details and anecdotes about three of the families which lived there: the Stokers, the Simpsons, and the Clarkes. Bowen also talks about American author Negley Farson's time in the area, and how the local residents became thinly veiled characters featured in both his autobiography, "The Way of a Transgresser," and in one of his novels, "The Story of a Lake." Bowen concludes her talk with an excerpt that features Lillian Godfrey, Edna Brown, and Eva Wilson, three Cowichan Lake women who were active in the development of the loggers' union through their membership and work in the supporting ladies auxiliary.
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Audio recording of Jerry Berry's presentation in 1996 to the Nanaimo Historical Society in which he describes a walk through Nanaimo's downtown as he remembers it from earlier days. Born in 1929, many of Berry's memories are from the 1930s, '40s, '50s, and '60s. With the help of audience members, he reminisces about different businesses that operated in downtown Nanaimo throughout the years, and he also recounts some of the people who worked at them.
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Audio recording of Anne Royle's presentation in 1993 to the Nanaimo Historical Society in which she reads excerpts from the city's newspaper, The Nanaimo Free Press, from the year 1900. The Boer War in South Africa is frequently mentioned throughout the year, with Nanaimoites' celebrations of the both the relief of Ladysmith and the relief of Mafikeng being described in detail in the newspaper. Other notable stories from 1900 include: James Dunsmuir developing Oyster Harbour (which later grew into the town of Ladysmith); Nanaimo receiving its new ambulance, the first vehicle of its type on the Pacific coast north of Oregon; the destructive fire at the Empire Brewery; and a visit to Nanaimo by Lord and Lady Minto, the serving governor general and his wife. Royle also details an event at Nanaimo's Hotel Wilson that celebrated the 46th anniversary of the landing of the Hudson's Bay Company barque, the Princess Royal, at Nanaimo.
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Audio recording of Anne Royle's presentation in 1992 to the Nanaimo Historical Society in which she reads excerpts from the city's newspaper, The Nanaimo Free Press, from the year 1875. Royle highlights several frequently mentioned news stories throughout the year of 1875, Nanaimo's first year as a city after being incorporated in December of 1874. Notable stories include: the city's interest and disappointment in the progress of the construction an Island railway; the building of the Ravine Bridge at Bastion and Fitzwilliam Streets; the desire for a lighthouse at Entrance Island, and the subsequent delays in its being built; and the operations of local coal mines, including those in Harewood and Wellington. Other building projects in the city include: the new John Hirst warehouse built of sandstone, the aerial tramway for the Harewood Mine, and new wharves to better accommodate coal ship loading at both Departure Bay and the Nanaimo harbour. Royle also details how the "Old Stone House," previously owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, was converted into a new City Hall, and how Robert Dunsmuir was to receive a locomotive for use at the Wellington Colliery. As well as reading several editorials from throughout the year, Royle also reads advertisements, jokes, business notices, and council and accident reports from the paper in this chronicle of Nanaimo during the year 1875.
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