Logging crew standing around the yarder (steam donkey) on side 2 at Camp 3 (later known as Nitinat Camp)

Logging crew standing around the yarder (steam donkey) on side 2 at Camp 3 (later known as Nitinat Camp)

Gold’s photographs chronicle local history

What is believed to be the largest logging and saw milling photo collection in BC will be on display, for the first time ever, at the Kaatza Station Museum this coming Saturday, May 21.

What is believed to be the largest logging and saw milling photo collection in BC will be on display, for the first time ever, at the Kaatza Station Museum this coming Saturday, May 21.

The event is set to coincide with Lake Cowichan’s annual Heritage Days Celebrations, which takes place the same weekend.

The opportunity for the public to view these photos was made possible as a result of a recently signed agreement between the Steel Workers Local 1-1937 and the Kaatza Historical Society to have the entire IWA Local 1- 80 Collection, which includes the Wilmer Gold Collection, placed on extended loan to the museum.

The grand opening of the historic collection, which dates from the 1890’s to 2009, will take place at the Lake Cowichan Centennial Hall on Saturday, May 21st at 1 p.m.

The collection will be on display at the museum beginning this weekend.

Photographer Wilmer H. Gold, who is most memorable for his photographs of logging on Vancouver Island, lived for many decades in Youbou, where he and his wife Margaret raised their son.

Gold’s photos, which appeared in many magazines, including Time and Life, were showcased in his pictorial book, Logging As it Was, which was released in 1985.

After his death in 1996 at age 99, Lucille Smith, late of Youbou, recalled that when her family moved to Camp 6 (many decades prior), Gold came and stayed with them for a month  to take pictures of logging and community life. Every day, he headed out to the bush, riding on logs when there was no crummy (bus) and walking long distances, all the while taking pictures of logging and anything associated that was happening in the area.

As he usually did, he would later go home, develop his photos then trudge back to sell them to the individuals or companies that he had photographed.

In a last tribute to Gold, Smith said of him “In his lifetime he saw the world go from horse and buggy to space travel. With his photography he created an invaluable record of the world and especially of the people around him.”

These priceless photographs and others from the large collection, numbering in the thousands, will make this Heritage Days weekend a memorable affair.  The Steel Workers Local 1-1937, Kaatza Historical Society and the Lake Cowichan Heritage Commission will sponsor the weekend events and are hoping for a large turnout from the Lake communities and beyond.