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.
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.