This came about as I’d wanted to visit Morden (Coal) Mine, which I thought would be interesting; but the miner’s cottage and artefacts are in Nanaimo museum …
|Morden Colliery as marked - slither of green in centre - |
while Boat Harbour is under the 'pin'.
… the tipple though is all there – well that’s a tale unto itself. It’s a concrete tipple … not quite what I was expecting … but then the early 1900s was an innovative period for building, at a time when the technology of reinforced concrete was becoming increasingly identified with construction …
… so it’s difficult to comprehend that in 1913, when this tipple was being constructed, reinforced concrete was a novelty. The pithead has been fenced off, but …
|This noticeboard was all the information|
available ...and only viewed through this type
of chainlink fencing ... difficult at best
- the old railway line is now a 1.2 km trail down to the river
- a wooden trestle took the railway over the river
- which then wound its way to Boat Harbour
- where coal would be unloaded, but on one occasion ‘scabs’ (men) were loaded in a box car to break the Union’s line …
- it didn’t work – the ‘scabs’ joined their fellow miners on strike
- the small park covers some of the mine workers’ web of tunnels
|The trail is marked in red: the board wasn't clean, the|
chain-link enclosure didn't help, nor did the reflections!
- in 1913 they started the mine having struck an eight foot seam of coal at a depth of 600 feet ...
- … which went down as far as 900 feet once the shoreline (map above) was reached
- the men would use the railway line further up as a path to get to work … for a few kilometres from their dank, dreary, living quarters to the tipple …
|Shows the railway line superimposed on|
the sketch of the maze of sub-terranean
- guided only by their headlamps, once down in the cage … from which the coal had been tipped … then walk 2 or 3 kilometres through the maze of subterranean tunnels to the coal face …
- after their shift they would then turn about face and repeat the journey to get ‘home’ to wash the coal dust off … probably with freezing water …
- before the morrow dawned and the day would start over …
- but as one lad described: “It wasn’t such a great mine. It was terrifically gassy. For the first couple of hours you went down there you’d be absolutely sick until, I guess, your bloodstream got the gas mixed in and you were back on your feet again … my brother lasted seven hours and was working so slow they fired him”
|This is what is left - sorry! difficult to see because of|
the light - you can just make the info board ... its roof is at
the top of the fence ... with the detail underneath.
The strike provided the management with an opportunity to erect a concrete tipple replacing the wooden one … this method had been pioneered in Britain, Europe, South Africa and Australia … so Northern America was catching up.
|Kinsol Trestle near us in Cobble Hill -|
recently repaired and restored
After the strike ended in 1914 … experienced workers, who had been blacklisted by other mines, were welcomed to work at Morden. For a while all was well … but financial problems plagued the company, soon closing the mine.
Life in the early 1920s was not easy … and at some stage I’ll get to see the museum in Nanaimo, which I’d like to combine with a visit to a marine park on one of the islands.
|Miner's Memorial at side of tipple|
It was not so long ago … about a hundred years ... when life here was so different … yet those were the times when the miners’ camaraderie was their common bond …
... with the knowledge that each time they went to work, they might not come up … and knowing that they were there to help each other out of difficult situations.
|I visited twice - each visit only for a few|
minutes ...I'd been hoping there'd be more to
see ... the slide show does a very good job.
The early pioneers in all trades started off the provisions for the health and safety standards that we have today … for which I know we are all grateful ...
Here’s an interestingslide show which let us see some great pictures of the Morden Mine and its tipple …
There is more history at this Historic Places site ...
A short video (3:21) on a coal tipple line - provided by Lenny - thanks so much ... it's a good watch with some 'cool music' as Lenny advises ... very true!
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories