Wally Knott on saw and his partner Red Meyers at Meades Creek Oct. 1945 by W.H.Gold PhotoMOFM Logo  
 
 
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Loggers have been stereotyped as hard drinking, rowdy and uneducated. That image is about to be challenged! In this fascinating exploration of the roots of the forest industry, many of the men and women who worked in the woods during the 1930's to 1960’s give voice to the industry that built and sustained our province.  What they say might be a bit surprising: they loved their work, were dedicated to the communities they lived in, and are as disappointed by the forest practices that eventually led to its demise as anyone else. 

While reading these stories, you may note that some words have been highlighted. When you find a word that is highlighted, you may click on it to bring up a pop-up box that will give you a description of the word or phrase that you have selected. We hope this will create another dimension to your reading experience!

Dave Anderson
Cecil Ashley
Wally Carlson
John Coupland
Peter Davies
CECIL ASHLEY
Mill Worker
WALLY CARLSON
Machine Operator
JOHN COUPLAND
Cat Operator
PETE DAVIES
CAT Operator
Bruce Devitt
Howard Donahue
Jim Eddy
Thelma Godkin
Tom Gordon
BRUCE DEVITT
Forester
HOWARD DONAHUE
Machine Operator
JIM EDDY
Faller
THELMA GODKIN
Whistle Punk
TOM GORDON
Power Engineer
Trevor Green
Ken Hallberg
Ernie Harrison
Bob Hayes
Wally Hughes
TREVOR GREEN
CLRS Employee
KEN HALLBERG
Superintendant
ERNIE HARRISON
Machine Operator
BOB HEYES
Mill Worker
WALLY HUGHES
Forester
Jim Kerrone
Ken Kerrone
Gordy Knott
Ted Knott
Jenji Konishi
JIM KERRONE
Rigger
GORDY KNOTT
Faller
TED KNOTT
Faller
JENJI KONISHI
Forester
Al Lundgren
Margaret McGowan
Dick McQuinn
Bikar Mann
Al Margetish
MARGARET McGOWAN
Caycuse Resident
DICK McQUINN
Machine Operator
BIKAR MANN
Mill Worker
AL MARGETISH
Machine Operator
Garnet Margetish
Art Neiser
Bob Norcross
Rob Norman
Nels Olson
GARNET MARGETISH
Machine Operator
ART NEISER
Faller
BOB NORCROSS
Woods Foreman
THE NORMANS
Three Generations
NELS OLSON
Faller
John Olteanu
Mike Paton
Rick Phye
Leona Portelance
Gord & Barb Robertson
JOHN OLTEANU
Mill Worker
MIKE PATON
Machine Operator
RICK PHYE
Head Loader
LEONA PORTELANCE
Hillcrest Resident
THE ROBERTSONS
Caycuse Residents
Bill Routley
Ralph Schmidt
Jim Shillito
George Smart
Howard Smith
BILL ROUTLEY
Mill Worker
RALPH SCHMIDT
Forester
JIM SHILLITO
High Rigger
GEORGE SMART
High Rigger
Lucille Smith
Roger Stanyer
Frank Vanyo
Bob & Barb Veitch
Bob Vessey
LUCILLE SMITH
Caycuse Resident
ROGER STANYER
Hook Tender
FRANK VANYO
Cat Operator
THE VEITCHS
Head Rigger
BOB VESSEY
Machine Operator
Barry Volkers
Vern Wellburn
Archie White
Merv Wilkinson
Memoriam
BARRY VOLKERS
Mill Worker
VERN WELLBURN
Forest Engineer
ARCHIE WHITE
Head Loader
MERV WILKINSON
Eco Forester
               
   
VANCOUVER ISLAND AUTHORS
   
Never Chop Your Rope by Joe GarnerMany Flowers by Al Lundgren
Island Timber by Richard MackieCarlton Stone's Hillcrest by Ian McInnes
Still Counting The Rings by Gerry BurchPaldi Remembered by Joan Mayo
Those Lake People by Lynne BowenScenes from a Life by Frank Vanyo

Excerpt from “Those Lake People ”
Lynne Bowen 1995®

Twenty-six miles of fresh water teeming with fish and surrounded by old-growth forest: this was Cowichan Lake at the end of the nineteenth century. Home to trappers, hunters and a handful of remittance men, the lake was also the favourite holiday destination for dukes and duchesses, Hollywood actresses and New York tycoons.  Soon the giant trees began to fall to the crosscut saws of immigrant loggers from Finland, Norway, Sweden, India, Japan and China.

As technology advanced in the logging industry and the woods became a killing ground for loggers, the camps around the lake became the testing ground for union organizers whose clandestine activities contrasted remarkably with those of rhododendron and alpine flower growers who have left their mark on gardens throughout the Pacific Northwest.

 

Excerpt from “Carlton Stone’s Hillcrest”
Ian MacInnes 2003®

The collapse Oct.24, 1929, of the New York stock market marked the beginning of what became known as the Great Depression. Conditions that led to this event must have been obvious for weeks, but with no forewarning of imminent economic disaster in the Cowichan Leader, the suddenness and severity of its arrival appear to have surprised everyone. Before the day now known as Black Friday, people went about their business as they had throughout the ‘20s, most in blissful ignorance of the market’s alarming ups and downs, or of the situation that would soon bring bankers, brokers, businessmen and many ordinary folk to ruin.


When the collapse came, those who had gambled on the market rushed to the banks in Duncan, where some learned they had lost their all. In desperate straits and without hope of redeeming themselves, a few eventually took their own lives. But for those who had not gambled on the market but simply worked for a living, the bitter realization that they no longer had means of supporting their families, and that the depression was here to stay, was still a few months away.

 

Excerpt from “Never Chop Your Rope ”
Joe Garner 1998 ®

Loggers are tough, independant. Bill Lloyd operated a grade shovel, and told me about the time he quit the VL&M Camp. The railroad they were working on was through a swampy area. He told the superintendant he needed some mats (timbers bolted together) so the shovel wouldn't get mired in the swamps. Highball Isbister, the superintendant, told him to keep going without the mats. Bill Lloyd argued that he'd get stuck in the mud, but, 'if that's the way you want it, that's the way you'll get it,' and stomped out of the office, back to the shovel. He worked until the thing was hopelessly mired up over the tracks and partway up the cab out there in the slough. Then he walked back to camp and demanded his pay. Isbister was there and wanted to know how badly the shovel was bogged in. 'Bill with his usual drawl said, 'Well , just to help you find it, I cut a 20ft pole and stuck it in the mud where the shovel was last seen'. It turned out to be a very expensive decision for Isbister. Most good loggers were extremely independent. Any unnecessary interference from a boss and they'd just quit.