Blog 269 More from Barkerville – June 2013


Theatre to Cornish wheels – Barkerville 10th June 2013

We had only explored a little more than half of Barkerville and we had plenty more to see. This time round we were recognised by some of the ‘locals’ and we were able to engage with them and exchange pleasantries. We passed the bed and breakfast, a local jewelers and the school-house on our route up main street.

Karen with the stage coach.

Karen with the stage-coach.

IMG_0132IMG_0092

IMG_0426

Schoolhouse

Schoolhouse

IMG_0553 IMG_0478

The houses became less opulent and more functional the further up main street we travelled.

IMG_0170

IMG_0486

Trappers cabin

Trappers cabin

IMG_0126IMG_0284IMG_0534IMG_0109  IMG_0104

The gold fever bought out boat loads of Chinese too and Barkerville had its own Chinatown, one end of the town was exclusively Chinese. It was the opium wars in 1840-1860 that allowed the Chinese to leave their homeland, prior to this laws prohibited emigration of people from the empire. It would have been mainly men in Barkerville as the laws were still stringent for women.

IMG_0241 IMG_0549

Chinatown

Chinatown

IMG_0482

The Chinese had their own medicine stores filled with herbs, plants and spices and even grew some plants in terraced gardens here at Barkerville. They also had their own restaurants and shops.

IMG_0535

Chinese medicine shop

Chinese medicine shop

Chinatown

Kwong sang wing store

Chinese restaurant

Lung Duck Tong restaurant

They were mostly from a poverty ridden area and were willing to work for $4 a day when the white men could earn $7. The Chinese shared as many as six to a cabin and by mining carefully took over worthless claims and recovered enough gold to profit.

IMG_0258 IMG_0492

At the other end of town there were theatres and entertainment. This building had many uses and was once the fire station but is now the theatre. We went to a show in the Theatre Royal and Kev even got pulled up on stage to join in a song.

Theatre Royal

Theatre Royal

IMG_0162

Inside Theatre Royal

Inside Theatre Royal

Kev performing

Kev performing

Kev on stage

Kev on stage

IMG_0474

The cast

A great fire swept through Barkerville in 1868, it was thought to have begun when a miner knocked over the stove-pipe in the saloon in pursuit of a kiss from a lady. The fire destroyed 116 buildings in an hour and a half. Rebuilding began in earnest the next morning, this fire hall was probably one of the first buildings that they finished.

The fire hall, built after the great fire.

The fire hall, built after the great fire.

IMG_0242

This carpenters shop was in high demand for repairs on the local buildings. There is also a picture of a trappers cabin below.

The carpenters shop

The carpenter’s shop

IMG_0607 IMG_0647

Sawmills like this one were widely in use in north America,  it’s likely Barkerville had one for use in building and mining.

sawmill

sawmill

IMG_0509

This stamp mill came from somewhere else and was re erected here. Their purpose is to smash gold-bearing rock to powder to allow the gold to be extracted. We have seen one running and they are incredibly noisy.

IMG_0527

IMG_0277

This overshot waterwheel is 16ft in diameter and modeled after wheels and pumps used in Cornish tin mines (in England). The early miners often found the paydirt lay 40 – 100 ft under the surface. The wheels were used to pump water from the shafts and lift the gravel to the surface.

Cornish wheel

Cornish wheel

Cornish wheel

Cornish wheel

Paydirt or gold

Paydirt or gold

It's mine

It’s mine

Here we had a most entertaining demonstration on its workings from these two Barkerville residents.

IMG_0586 IMG_0579

Cornish wheel

Cornish wheel

Barkerville is a credit to the Canadian parks authority well preserved but not over restored, the living aspect brings the town alive with the colourful characters, actors and the store keepers. If you have the time it is well worth taking the detour to visit it. We loved it.

 

Next  up – Fort St James

 

 

 

 

 

  1. #1 by David Mildwater on October 3, 2013 - 9:23 am

    Hi Karen & Kev,

    Hope you are both keeping well. I’m just back from USA/Canada where I was riding Pete Roper’s Cali 1400. If I had known we were so close I would have ridden up to see you. My fault for not staying abreast of your exploits.

    I was wondering, now that you have had a fair bit of time riding and living with your Guzzi and the modifications made to it which ones you would a.) not do again; and; b.) what modifications you wish you had carried out? Just interested to hear if you think the weight penalty has been worth the changes made. Thanks.

    Kind regards,

    David Mildwater
    (we met at Bungendore Hotel)

(will not be published)