Hardwicke Island

Hardwicke Island, BC
The Bendickson’s Of Hardwicke Island

Hardwicke Island is across the strait from Kelsey Bay. When I was 16 years old, it was 1971. I was employed by Bendickson logging on the Island. The camp was built many years back and was the first logging camp that I worked in. The buildings were very old but bloody awesome. It was like stepping back into time. The old schoolhouse was still in use but as our union hall, I was the union rep there for a while. There still were a number of families living on the Island then and the camp was more like a small community than a logging camp.

I remember the wash house where we would clean up for supper when you walked in, there were enamel washbasins hanging on the wall. You would take one to the tap and fill it with water, you then took it to a long counter with round holes cut into the top. you would place the basin into a hole and then do your wash-up, then you emptied out your basin and return it to its hanger.

The Bendickson’s were great guys to work for, I remember our yarder burnt up one day, and it was going to be maybe a month before we could replace it and continue logging. Instead of laying us off, the boys put some of us on the other yarder that was operating and put me on an old rock crusher. Basically, made work for us.

Now running that old rock crusher was in a word “scary” you had to hand crank a small gas engine just like an old model t ford, If it kicked back it could almost take your arm off. Once you had that engine going, you would use it to start the big diesel engine that ran the jaws in the crusher.

Hardwicke Island, BC
The Cook Shack, Hardwicke Island, BC

In 1918, a Norwegian named Hans Bendickson moved his camp from Jervis Inlet to Hardwicke Island where he made a home for his family.

Hans had been hand logging on various islands since 1904 and owned a towing and logging company, so he was well-equipped to make the move.

Hans moved his family from Jarvis Inlet on a big boom he had built for the move, complete with a full complement of buildings, machinery, seven children, a teacher, and the logging crew.

Today it is impossible to think of Hardwicke Island without thinking of the Bendickson’s, the family has been part of the Islands’ history for the past 90 years. I know it is one of my good memories from a different time indeed.

Would you buy us a coffee?

7 thoughts on “Hardwicke Island”

  1. My grandparents lived further down the island from the camp ( Jack and Rose Smith ) and my grandfather worked for Bendicksons for many years. I went to the one room school , spent summers swimming and enjoying life.In later years people always said..No TV you must have been bored but I never was.
    Hardwicke island will always remain close to my heart. Everybody knew everybody else. Further down from my grandparents house is where the Edwards lived then us and the next house was old Jeff.
    Between us and the camp were the Carmichaels and Old Berts house. I guess that was about it for those who lived on the island but not in the camp.
    It was a wonderful life and I will never forget people like Hug Carmichaelwho had a heart the size of Texas. A different time, a different life and amazing memories..
    Belle Straker.

    1. We would love to hear more about Jack and Rose and your family memories
      Judy Bendickson Erickson
      Hardwicke Island

      1. Hello Judy;
        The happiest and most carefree days of my life were spent on Hardwicke and my greatest regret is that my sons will never know or enjoy the Hardwicke Island experience. After I moved away we would go back to visit Gram and Gramps (Rose & Jack Smith ) and we always arrived tired but ready to eat because we knew Gram would have plenty of venison steaks and a pot of hot coffee waiting for us. My grandfather was the gentlest and kindest man and I miss him terribly. So many amazing memories. I am now a great grandmother and still cherish those years.

  2. Yes the Bendickson family is very much still part of Hardwicke Island, non as full time residents but mostly using their homes on a part time basis as recreational properties. In the summer of 2018 we had a family gathering to celebrate the centennial of the family arriving from Jervis Inlet as mentioned in the above article. I started my working life on the Island in the early sixties, first tree planting, then helping with log booming and then on road construction. I also worked with the rock crusher as mentioned which is now becoming hidden in the new growth where last used. lots of history on the Island.

  3. Yes Darlene! A few do and other family members from the camp days. Also some “new” but long time residents (40 years) I work on Hardwicke now. It is a pretty cool place. Amazing that we have sustainabley logged this island for over 100 years. I do believe the crusher abandoned in the bush is the crusher spoke of in this memory!

  4. Fascinating article. In around 1918-1920- my maternal swedish grandma, Selma Halvorsen arrived on Hardwicke Island with her two young sons. She had recently been widowed , her husband Sigurd Halvorsen died in 1918 from the Spanish Flu, while they were living in Revelstoke. So Selma packed up and headed for a cooking job on Hardwicke Island. She would have been about 24 years old . Our family thinks it was her husband’s Norwegian connections and the good reputation of the Bendickson’s that led her there. Selma hailed from around the 64th parallel on the eastern coast of Sweden. She was no stranger to hard work and rough conditions. She did leave after a short while, landed in Vancouver, and remarried there, and raised a large family during the depression years, my Mom being one of them. I wonder if the Bendickson family lives on at Hardwicke Island?

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