Edith Hansen of Port Neville marries Harold Bendickson of Hardwicke Island in 1940 aboard the mission ship

Historic Port Neville: Calm port in a story

The latest story on the area's history provided by the Museum at Campbell River

By Catherine Gilbert

It isn’t until you get to Port Neville, on the mainland side of Johnstone Strait and the next stop along the coast heading north from Kelsey Bay, that you realize why Norwegian settler Hans Hansen would have chosen this place to build a homestead.

Not only does the 13- kilometre-long Port Neville inlet offer shelter from the winds and strong currents of Johnstone Strait, but it is pristine and beautiful.

This is the spot where Hansen chose to build his home – on the south side with long, white sandy beaches stretching in either direction.

Today, a large government dock remains that boaters can easily access, and at the end of the dock, the sturdy old log Hansen home, built in 1920, still stands as a tribute to Hansen and his ingenuity.

For more than a century, Port Neville was an important community on the coast and over the years operated as a fuel depot, post office, general store and gathering place.

Hansen began building cabins on his property in 1891, and by 1892, the port became a stop for the Union Steamships, enabling Hansen to ship to Vancouver and to receive supplies.

It wasn’t long before he began trading with local natives and offering services to other settlers and loggers.

By 1895, he became the first postmaster for Port Neville.

The Port Neville post office was, in fact, the oldest continually operating post office in B.C., with Hansen’s granddaughter, Lorna Chesluk, being the last postmistress when it closed in 2010.

Hansen had six children, an adopted son Billy from his first wife Elizabeth who had passed away in 1898 and five children with his Norwegian wife Kathinka – Karen, Olaf, Edith, Lilly and Arthur.

His daughter Edith married Harold Bendickson of Hardwicke Island in 1940 aboard the Columbia, (see photo) one of the fleet of Columbia Coast Mission vessels, and three years earlier, Harold’s only sister Lilly married Olaf Hansen at the Bendickson home on Hardwicke Island.

Edith (Hansen) Bendickson wrote several articles on the Hansen family history, which are available in the Museum at Campbell River archives.

Also in the archives are Hansen family photos and correspondence, and Hans Hansen’s diary.  Most recently, an artifact from the Port Neville store, a McCaskey Account Register, was donated to the Museum.

The Museum at Campbell River is offering two guided historic boat cruises to Port Neville this summer, on Sunday, Aug. 11, and Aug. 25.

The cruise includes Kelsey Bay, Hardwicke Island and passes by Yorke Island, once site of a Second World War defence installation.

Call 250-287-3103 to sign up or to learn more about these trips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill C-283 would establish a National Food Waste Awareness Day. File photo
Anti-Food Waste bill introduced by North Island-Powell River MP

Bill would establish awareness day, ask Minister of Agriculture to work towards ending food waste

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: Thieves steal truck from Black Creek car lot by towing it away

Have you seen a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 in your neighbourhood in… Continue reading

Police pup in training: Nugget. RCMP photo
Police Service Dog Nugget gets golden opportunity to learn with veteran Gator

Newest recruit to train with Campbell River RCMP service dog and handler

Campbell River RCMP. RCMP photo
Man arrested after firearm pointing incident on Campbell River street

Campbell River RCMP have arrested a local man following a firearms pointing… Continue reading

FILE - This Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, file photo shows the dashboard of the Tesla Model X car, at the company's headquarters in Fremont, Calif. Newer cars that connect to the internet are capable of collecting vast amounts of data about their drivers. Tesla Motors has used data to reveal, sometimes within hours of a crash, how fast the driver was going and whether or not the company’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system was engaged. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Test of vehicle’s self drive features results in being mistaken for impaired driving

Campbell River RCMP warn busy roadway no place to check out a vehicle’s new features

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park sends one to hospital

Police say man confronted another over airsoft shooting, then was attacked with a weapon

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Most Read