Author Tags: Local History
Richard Goodacre (b. 1949), executive director of the B.C. Heritage Society, was project manager for the B.C. Forest Museum and the Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys Ecomuseum. His Dunsmuir's Dream: Laysmith, The First Fifty Years (Orca, 1991) won the B.C. Heritage Recognition Award in 1991.
[BCBW 1992] "Local History"
Dunsmuir's Dream: Ladysmith, The First Fifty Years (Porcepic $9.95)
ROBERT DUNSMUIR ARRIVED IN B.C' AS A Scottish labourer in 1851. Overcoming bloody protests and strikes about lethal working conditions, he fashioned a fortune in coal and railways. His son James became premier and lieutenant-governor; his other son Alexander died an alcoholic. James' eight daughters married fortune hunters. One financed and acted in the first 'talkies' shot in B.C. Another was a lesbian who gambled away her life in Monte Carlo. Another married Parisian couturier Edward Molyneux. Still another devoted herself to serving Tallulah Bankhead. James's two privileged sons fared equally poorly. One went to his watery grave on the Lusitania; the other drank himself to death in Singapore. Terry Reksten has followed her book on Craigdarroch, the Dunsmuir family castle in Victoria, with a forthcoming multi-generational study, The Dunsmuir Saga (D&M $29.95), which promises to serve as a definitive reference text.' Playwright Rod Langley has already proven the popular appeal of the Dunsmuir clan by fashioning a trilogy of highly successful Dunsmuir plays for the Nanaimo Theatre Festival. The Dunsmuirs: Alone at the Edge (Talon $10.95) chronicles the disgrace and exile of Robbie Dunsmuir, his scab labour tactics in the Nanaimo coal fields and his scramble to control the lucrative Wellington Mine. The Dunsmuir dynasty naturally appears prominently in Dunsmuir's Dream: Ladysmith, The First Fifty Years (Porcepic $9.95), a local history project undertaken for Ladysmith by Richard Goodacre, executive director of the B.C. Heritage Society. Covering some of the same terrain is Ellen Mackay's Places of Worship: In the Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys (Sono Nis $18.95), a study of more than 100 places of worship from a wide ethno-religious variety. When you worked in a Dunsmuir mine, you had plenty to pray about. With millions of dollars being spent to bolster B.C.'s film industry, it's surprising that the saga of the Dunsmuirs has remained under wraps. It's the stuff of a mini-series. Power, greed, jealousy, sex. The proof can be found in scores of books and pamphlets beyond these four new releases. Lynne Bowen's award-winning oral histories of Vancouver Island coal miners and Susan Mayse's biography of labour organizer Ginger Goodwin are among the essential source materials for anyone interested in the Dunsmuir family and how their tale of exploitation and corruption serves as an essential reflection on the evolution of B.C. society as a whole. Langley ISBN 0-88922-297-5 Reksten ISBN 0-88894-742-9 Goodacre ISBN 0-88878-302-7 Mackay ISBN 1-55039-021-X
[BCBW 1991] “History”