Morden Black Track Tour

Morden Colliery Historic Provincial ParkThe Friends of Morden Mine is organizing a "Black Track" walking tour of the Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park at 10 am on Sunday, May 4, 2008, to coincide with South Wellington Day. The tour will be led by historian and newspaper columnist Tom Paterson. The term “Black Track” harks back to the days of the South Wellington coal mining railway whose route became blackened with coal dust over time. The old line from the mine site to the Nanaimo River is now the 1.2-kilometer Morden Colliery Regional Trail.

The Morden Mine operated from 1912 to 1921. The head frame and coal tipple pictured here were built of reinforced concrete in 1913 and are one of the best preserved above-ground relics of the coal mining era on Vancouver Island. Tom Paterson’s tour will also visit nearby South Wellington, where many of the original mining cottages can still be seen. Other sights on the tour include the No. 5 South Wellington Mine’s slack pile, Fiddick’s Junction where two railways crossed, and the South Wellington No. 10 mine site. The tour end at South Wellington Fire Hall where South Wellington Day celebrations will be taking place.

The Morden Mine site is between Nanaimo and Ladysmith off Highway 19 just south of the Duke Point Highway turnoff. At the stoplights turn east onto Morden Road and drive to the end. On May 4 BC Parks will be presenting Friends of Morden Mine with a $4,000 cheque to fund a long-overdue site plan of the park. Admission to the "Black Track" walking tour is $30 single or $50 double. For more information, call 250-714-0377.

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