Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke region.

Cycling dandies at Blueberry Flats

Elida Peers writes about the history of the Sooke Region

This photo seems quite unexpected to me, taken almost 100 years ago in Otter Point, showing that it was not all work and no play, after all. Just look at these young dandies in their stylish head wear, fine suits, watch fobs and could that be boutonnieres or handkerchiefs in their lapels?

One assumes it was a Sunday and we believe it was around the start of World War I. The group is cycling near a stand of charred trees left from a forest fire that swept the area, which appears to be Blueberry Flats.  On the left is George Goudie, who later served overseas in the war, and who is grandfather to our well-known Sooke logger sports champion/truck driver Norman Goudie.

Next is Bill Davidson, whose dad Andrew Davidson came to the Pacific coast around the Horn from Nova Scotia on the fast cutter Agnes MacDonald, built at Lunenberg for the Revenue Protective Service. This vessel had been bought by a group of Sooke men, including the Poirier brothers, Oscar Scarf, Bill Sheilds and Captain MF Cutler, for use as a sealer.

The next two fellows appear to be Frank and Ted Harris, of the historic Harris house on Otter Point Road. Next in line is Harry Kirby, youngest of three sons of “Ma” and “Pa” Kirby, settlers at Kirby Creek, Shirley district.  Harry’s brother Ralph became a steam engineer and ran a shingle mill on what became known as Kirby Road in Sooke, off Sooke River Road.  Years later, the house that had belonged to the Ralph Kirbys was bought by Ed Macgregor, who became Sooke’s first mayor.

Herbert Anderson is second from the right. His father W.H. Anderson built Malahat Farmhouse and his sister Margaret Anderson married Percy Clark of Shirley.  Margaret and Percy leave many descendants in the community, with one of the best-known names being Laurie Szadkowski, current principal of Ecole Poirier.

Farthest right, the other Kirby brother, Austin, married “Joey” Gordon, daughter of Ted and Kitty Gordon of the historic Gordon’s beach farm.  In the 1920s Austin Kirby ran his own bus service between the town of Jordan River and the city of Victoria.  Dandies they may have looked on their holiday outing, but their legacy of building a community endures.

Elida Peers,

Historian

Sooke Region Museum