Brandon Davies with the set of train wheels found around the Diversion Dam area out in Jordan River. In 1907 a railway line was built in Jordan River to haul logs out of the bush.

Big wheels keep on turnin’….

Pieces of history still being found in the woods around Jordan River

Local finds pioneer-era train wheels in wild bush

Ever wondered what historic mementos lie in that cluttered-up old attic? Or how that rusty 1930’s Ford got in that thick ravine right by your house?

Funny enough, Sooke’s deep forests, rocky rivers and vast beaches are brimming with history; and for some passionate Sookies, digging it all up is just a good sport.

Brandon Davies, a local collector of antique and historical objects, stumbled upon something strange while wandering deep in the woods one day.

“I was venturing out below Diversion Dam, looking at old pictures and on Google satellite images to find out where all the workers were living and staying while they were building the dam there,” Davies said.

He initially set off in search of an old bridge about a kilometre below, albeit through pure wilderness.

“There was no trail at all; I was hiking through the bush and going down cliffs to try and find that bridge to cross over to the other side,” he said.

But his journey took an unexpected turn; he stumbled upon a set of train wheels abandoned in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere.

“I noticed these were sticking out of the ferns criss-crossed at an angle down a steeper embankment,” Davies said. “I pulled the bushes away and figured out what they were; it was a whole cart and everything sitting there. No wood around or nothing, that was all rotten away.”

Excited by his find, Davies picked up the wheels and took them to his truck; but since each axle weighs around 150 lbs., it was easier said than done.“This was the biggest find for me, but also the hardest day hauling it all out of there,” he said. “Took me around an hour and a half to haul each one to get to the truck.”

Still, Davies was all smiles. He’d caught himself a piece of history in a place that goes quite-a-way back.

“I camped around Diversion Dam a lot growing up, so I’ve always wanted to go further into the bush, see what’s all around there,” he said, adding that he definitely wants to go back for more historic swag.

“There’s a bunch of trashed-up old iron down the river from the old construction of the dam, it’s pretty neat,” he said.

Working as a tradesman by profession, Davies does it all for fun; with the use of a metal detector, a GPS/phone and a good bit of intuition, he just loves to check out old historic sites.

“The oldest coin I have is a silver nickel I found in Port Renfrew dated 1940; then from an old hydro plant in Jordan River I got a porcelain thing that says 1901, so that’s the oldest dated object I’ve found,” he said, adding that he’s found piles of stuff over the years, including coins and knives, pick-axes and hammers, as well as an old 1870’s frying skillet from Leechtown.

As for the train wheels, how they got there or what kind of rail-based vehicle they belonged to remains a mystery; but that’s just part of the fun, says Davies.

According to the book, The Sooke Story, The History and the Heartbeat, published by the Sooke Region Museum, work on the Diversion Dam began in 1909 by the V.I. Power Company. The dam was built to provide power to light up the City of Victoria. The dam was completed in 1911. In 1907 logging operations began in Jordan River and one-and-one-half miles of standard railway grade was built with picks and shovels.

Just Posted

Vaping a growing problem in Sooke school district

Island’s chief medical officer raises the alarm

West Shore RCMP bust drug lab after fire caused by production of cannabis shatter

View Royal lab near parks and children’s playgrounds, evidence of children in home

Downtown Victoria sees 10-fold increase in condo units since 2016

A report by the Downtown Victoria Business Association details ongoing construction trends

Saanich farm hosts birthday party as wetland turns 10

The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project invites community to 10th birthday for wetland

Sunset Cinema brings free family film under the stars in Colwood

Sunset Cinema hosts events on the Island from July 23 to 27

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

40 cats, kittens surrendered in apparent animal hoarding at Vancouver home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Campers hailed heroes in rock face rescue at Vancouver Island provincial park

The campers quickly noticed the man in distress and jumped into the river to swim across.

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Stz’uminus dies from injuries

A male pedestrian was struck in the early morning of June 25

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

Most Read