General · 2nd December 2009
Below is a ballad about a famous Quadra Island gold mine near Granite Bay which peaked during 1911. The Lucky Jim Mine was a 1910 gold, copper, and silver mine, just off Granite Bay Road, Quadra Island, British Columbia. A steam engine pump ventilated the shafts, pumped air down to the miners’ rock drills, and pumped water from the mine. This steam engine is still at the mine site; its huge cast iron flywheel weighs tons and is about 12 feet diameter. Finns from Sointula Island, B.C., worked the mine. Their log cabins are derelict, rotting, and moss-covered; but still visible near the mine site; now an historic site. The following ballad was researched thoroughly in the Campbell River Museum archives before being written, to give accuracy to its details.
' The Ballad of The Lucky Jim Mine '
by Gregory Ross
Into Quadra Island granite, they sank deep shafts, bold men;
To build the Lucky Jim Mine; the year was 1910.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; life was different then.
Lucky Jim was mined by Finns, in British Columbia’s rain;
Immigrant Canadians, they mined Lucky Jim’s ore vein.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gold, silver, copper; theirs to gain.
In Lucky Jim’s wet darkness, the miners mined each day;
Left forest, lakes, and birds; went deep to earn their pay.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; Canada’s people from far away.
“Old Curley” locomotive, met miners at mineshaft;
Emerging into sunlight, those miners smiled and laughed.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; precious metal from deep shaft.
They shipped their ore to Ladysmith, for final preparation;
Crushed the rock then smelted it; three metals separation.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; helped build Canadian nation.
The Union Steamship steamed, to Granite Bay each week;
Steamed Lucky Jim supplies, past Ripple Rock’s dire peak.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; good fortune they did seek.
Fire the pump’s boiler! Pump water from the mine!
Mine that hard rock hard! We need rich ore to refine.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; they climbed mine’s steep incline.
They hammered into granite, they hammered into quartz;
They made the boiler boil, give hot hisses, and short snorts.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; that steam sent sharp reports.
They drilled into white quartz; they drilled into gray granite;
They tended the pump boiler closely; to stoke it and fan it.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; small gold mine on large planet.
They fed the boiler’s firebox, till steam was hissing well;
Then piston pushed, flywheel spun; and push rod rose and fell.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; smell that wood smoke smell.
In log cabin’s cast-iron cook stove, the mine cook baked good bread;
With salmon, and fresh venison; to keep them all well fed.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; their woodstoves glowed orange-red.
They sawed fir for their fires; while jays and squirrels would scold;
Spent nights in warm log cabins, away from wet and cold.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; at nights their tales they told.
Gold mining costs were high…year 1911 proved too thin…
Lucky Jim shut down…and cold water flooded in.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gone was miner’s grin.
Quadra’s 1925 forest fire, burned the Lucky Jim;
Any chance for revival, became rather slim.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gone was gold mine vim.
Year 2006, brought bright end to damp decline;
When fresh Canadian life, woke this mossy forest mine.
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; recovery just in time.
Dull for almost a century; now free from any mystery;
Lucky Jim, the Lucky Jim; gleam on Canadian history.
Great history lesson
Comment by Debbie on 2nd December 2009
Great history lesson. Thanks for sharing.