The Friends of the Morden Mine Society in cooperation with the Parksville branch of BC Parks created a fitting memorial to the Vancouver Island coal miners and their families at the site of the Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park. It took a year of diligent work, planning and dedication by a small group of people, members and former board members of the society, to erect this solid stone with a message commemorating the people that played an essential role in our heritage.
It was installed a few days ago, and I went to the site during a break between rain showers as I was curious to see the latest development at this park that is dear to me. Over the years I spend many hours sketching or painting the old mining structures.
The actual memorial is comprised of a solid stone from an Island quarry that is permanently anchored to a conrete pedestal positioned in this forested environment with the old mining structure in the background. A matching stone bench provides a spot for visitors to pause and to read the text on the marble panels, to reminisce or to make a quick sketch like I did.
The essential part of this memorial is the text engraved on the marble panel as shown in this close-up photograph
Several local writers and historians produced fascinating stories about the coal mining era in Nanaimo, printed in books which can be found in the library and in bookstores.
Unfortunately this magnificent and last remaining sentinel of our local history, the more than 100 year old concrete tipple and headframe, has been neglected and left to deteriorate, apparently ever since it became a park in the 1970’s. When it is gone there is hardly any authentic physical evidence left of our coal mining heritage for future generations to look at other then plaques, memorials and photographs.