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1892 - Settling on Shawnigan Lake

“My father, Richard Beauchamp Halhed, had lived for some years in New Zealand, where my two brothers and I were born. He then returned to England, but I suppose found life too restricted and suddenly announced to my mother that he was going to Canada. As in those days wives meekly followed their husbands, my poor mother had no say in the matter, and so it was arranged that he would go first and find a home for his family, my mother to follow with my brothers aged three and five years and I, a baby of one year, and a maid.

Not long after Father left, Mother found she was pregnant and would have to leave as soon as possible. A girl from the village was taken into my grandmother's home and trained in cooking and housework, and Mother commenced making arrangements for the journey to Vancouver Island.

My Father had led her to believe that they would live in the little town of Victoria, but when she arrived she found that he had bought land miles from anywhere, at Shawnigan Lake — the attraction being “the shooting and fishing”.

Some time in November, 1892 we moved to the Lake, and I remember years later my mother telling me that as she stood beside the railway tracks with her baby in her arms, I clinging to her coat and the two little boys holding Emily's hands, and surrounded by mountains of luggage, and learned that her home, dimly seen through snowflakes, and perched up on a rocky point with trees everywhere, could only be reached by row boat, with no road, no neighbours, no shops, she felt life had ended for her and burst into tears. My Mother was a brilliant woman, a magnificent pianist, having studied in Leipzig, and was used to a busy social and musical world.”

Excerpted from a letter written by Beryl Cryer (nee Halhed)

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