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Golden logging past unveiled at the lake

Former Youbou mill worker Gordon Austin views a selection of black-and-white logging photographs in the Bell Tower School, part of Wilmer Gold Photography collection unveiled during the annual Heritage Days celebration in Lake Cowichan on Saturday May 21. - Andrew Leong
Former Youbou mill worker Gordon Austin views a selection of black-and-white logging photographs in the Bell Tower School, part of Wilmer Gold Photography collection unveiled during the annual Heritage Days celebration in Lake Cowichan on Saturday May 21.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Sometimes dangerous, always exciting; the Cowichan Lake area’s history has been well chronicled.

This is, in large part, thanks to the efforts of well-known photographer Wilmer Gold.

His photographs now line the walls of the Kaatza Station Museum’s Bell Tower School building, and were unveiled during a grand opening presentation at last weekend’s Heritage Days celebrations.

From Gold’s camera to the International Woodworkers of America 1-80, union archives steward Al Lundgren took attendees on a journey through the photos’ past.

“The union was essentially born right here,” he said. “Come down to the Kaatza Station Museum and see what all the fuss was about.”

A slide show took attendees on a trip around the Cowichan Lake of yesterday, including a glimpse at the hard-working loggers and their work.

The collection also includes early photos of Lake Cowichan’s 100 houses area of town, and various other places around Cowichan Lake that now look drastically different.

“This collection is amazing,” curator Barbara Simkins said. “It shows the hardships of the men and women before the union.”

“You must go to the museum. You can see it a couple dozen times and still see new things,” Lake Cowichan Heritage Commission chair Pat Weaver said.

The exhibit continues the Kaatza Station Museum.

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