The Europeans had arrived in the late 1700s on the west coast of continental America, including Vancouver Island, while slowly bullying their colonial European way of life …
The First Nations had been in these waters and on these lands since the last Ice Age and possibly earlier … they knew the area with its local riches … calling it ‘Quw’utsun’ – meaning Warm Lands.
|A Robert Bateman painting of|
a canoe made by Bill Reid -
a Haida Canadian artist
A surveying coaster, the Hecate, landed in the tiny sheltered waters of Cowichan Bay and thus began the settlement in the Valley … mining, forestry, shipping, fishing and agriculture being those early occupations – a way for Europeans to exist.
The Hecate, originally a 4-gun paddle sloop, was launched in 1839 from Chatham Dockyard, Kent. She had a brief 25 years or so history. Her first assignment was the Syrian War in 1840; the Mediterranean came next, followed by serving in the West Africa Squadron.
|The Hecate aground in 1861|
In the 1860s, after conversion to undertaking surveys, she worked the seas off Australia before being assigned to the Pacific to the ‘island infested’ waters off British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii ...
|Showing some of the islands|
at the southern
end of Vancouver Island
In 1865 she was paid off and sold for breaking.
What should have been a fresh-faced lad of 18 years, was a crusty mariner named William Shearing who, in 1862, had arrived by way of India …
… he and a few others disembarked at Cowichan Bay – the only stop the Hecate made on the island on her way north … that stop set the wheels in motion for settlement in the Duncan/Cobble Hill area on Vancouver Island.
|Victoria looking north 'up island' - today|
|When the route over the Malahat was tolerable -|
probably in the 1960s/70s
More on the Malahat as we open the valley up ... and an ice up ... interesting times ...
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