Deep in the heart of British Columbia, Canada is the fascinating heritage town of Barkerville. Here, 125 buildings have been reconstructed to portray the history of this town which sprang up in the Gold rush, after one of the miners, Billy Barker, nicknamed Cornish Bill chose to mine an area thought worthless by other gold diggers and found himself a fortune. Bill’s huge gold haul in 1862 resulted in the town springing up.
“Cornish water wheel technology was an integral part of the placer mining that took place when William Barker struck gold in 1862, and there were many Cornish miners with experience from the earlier California gold rush who made their way north to the Cariboo region.” Explains Dirk Van Stralen of Barkerville Historic Town. “Their mining experience and engineering expertise were greatly valued during these rushes, and some found great success here.” Today you can see the reconstructed homes of the miners, watch a Cornish water wheel show and hear colourful tales of the gold rush history. Although many of the miners in Bakerville had true Kernow heritage, the true Cornishness of Billy Barker has since been cast into doubt, but any man with that much skill at mining, must have Cornish drop or two in spirit at least.
For more information visit barkerville.ca.
With thanks to Graham Gibbs of Ottawa for the photos.