Located in South Wellington, a small community on the south side
of Nanaimo, Morden Colliery Provincial Historic Park has been designated
as a Class A heritage park since 1974.
To get there from Nanaimo,
travel on Hwy 1 approximately 10 km (6 miles) south to the traffic
lights at Morden Road. Once on Morden Road, drive about 1 km (.6
mile) to the entrance of the park.
Pacific Coal Company
The remaining structure at Morden Colliery Provincial Historic Park
was built in 1913 by the Pacific Coal Company and is the last remaining
head frame from over 80 years of coal mining on Vancouver Island.
The only other remaining concrete structure of this type in North
America is located in Saline County at the Muddy Coal Mine in Muddy,
Illinois. This structure is protected by state law and serves as
an example of American mining history from the mid-1900s.
At Morden Colliery Provincial Historic Park, you can find an information
sign and the remains of the tipple, a concrete structure used to
load the coal onto rail cars. The only other facility found here
is a picnic area with no toilets or drinking water available. There
is no provincial campground located here.
of Morden Mine
Unfortunately, the concrete head frame at Morden Colliery has been
ignored by a series of successive provincial governments and is
in bad repair. The site has a chain linked fence around it for public
safety because of falling structural debris. A non-profit society
called the "Friends of the Morden Mine" has been putting
on fund raisers and bringing more attention to this fine example
of British Columbia mining heritage.
Besides the concrete tipple at Nanaimo Morden Colliery Provincial
Historic Park, there is also a one-way nature trail that leads you
to the Nanaimo River. The approximately 1 km (.6 mile) trail uses
a historic railway right-of-way that once linked the Morden and
Fiddick Mines to the coast at Boat Harbour. The Morden Colliery
Trail is maintained by the Regional District of Nanaimo and takes
you over Thatcher Creek by a couple of small wooden bridges through
some wetlands to the banks of the Nanaimo River. There is no swimming
or lifeguards here.