Swedish visitors celebrate steam donkey at McLean Mill—without the steam

A pair of volunteers try their hand at the cross cut saw. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO
David Hooper addresses the crowd at a JJ Logging show on Aug. 29. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO
Mayor Sharie Minions joins in cutting the birthday cake. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO
The JJ Logging show on Aug. 29 demonstrates old-time logging. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

MIKE YOUDS

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

McLean Mill pulled out all the stops for a steam-era logging show without the steam.

Hosting a busload of Swedish visitors on Aug. 29, site volunteers with the JJ Logging Crew used the occasion to mark two 90th birthdays, those of longtime volunteer Sven Josefson and the mill’s vintage steam donkey.

The donkey hadn’t been fired up for a regular show for a year; the last show in 2018 was coincidentally for the Swedish visitors.

The steam donkey was fired up in March 2019 for a British film crew visiting Port Alberni to film steam technology at McLean Mill National Historic Site.

The Industrial Heritage Society, which operates the steam donkey, requires an engineer with a steam ticket to oversee operation of the boiler. Unfortunately the boiler’s certificate had run out so volunteers weren’t allowed to fire it up for the Swedes’ visit.

Instead of relying on steam, the logging show crew hooked up an air compressor to power the “air donkey,” using the rig to demonstrate high lead logging the old-fashioned way.

“It’s the only operating donkey rigged to a standing spar tree,” said Dave Hooper. “That’s what makes it unique.”

“We’ve all done this before,” Hooper said, wrapping up a safety meeting before the show.

Skogsresor, a Swedish company that runs forestry tours around the world, has visited the historic site on each of its B.C. excursions in the last four years.

“You need to understand the history to understand how it looks today and how it will look in the future,” said tour leader Jan Hedberg said.

“We really value the Swedes,” Hooper explained. “There were so many Swedes in the logging industry on the coast.”

A cake-cutting with Mayor Sharie Minions kicked off the show, which went off without a hitch.

“This is something that, as a community, really represents our heritage and history, and we’re really proud to show it off to visitors,” Minions said.

If you missed this event, McLean Mill will be hosting another logging show on Sunday, Sept. 29 from noon to 5 p.m. There will be activities for the whole family, including music from the Old Time Fiddlers, a blacksmith demonstration, a guided tour, an axe throwing demonstration and more.

With files from Susie Quinn, Alberni Valley News

Just Posted

Celebrated storyteller Mike Downie brings Secret Path to Port Alberni

Presentation takes place at Alberni District Secondary School on Oct. 25

Canadian folk singer returns to Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

Seth Anderson prepares to release latest album, We Could Be

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Most Read