South Wellington and Area Commuity Association
South Wellington & Area History

South Wellington: Stories from the Past

A book published in May 2010 by the South Wellington Historical Committee tells the story of how our town grew from the little coal mining camp of Alexandra (South Wellington’s original name) to a community with several stores, a hotel, a sawmill, a shoe repair, Chinese laundry, a dance hall, three schools, three churches, a bank and eventually four more coal mines.

Spanning the late 1800s to the early 1950s when the last coal mine closed, the book, at 406 pages, has over 500 historical black and white photos. Stories are told by 70 families of what it was like living and working in South Wellington during the early years. Their memories are of the good times and the bad times as well as how they lived through the Depression, mine disasters, strikes, wars, fires and murders.

There are stories told by members of the early pioneer families about how their families first settled here. Maps show where they lived and where the local businesses, schools, coal mines and other landmarks were.

In the book you will discover that South Wellington had some outstanding football teams and prize-winning mine rescue and first aid teams. May Day celebrations included a parade with the South Wellington brass band leading the way. You will also find out that, after the big fire of 1914, many families in the Dick and Minto Avenue area of South Wellington lived in tents after their houses burned down. Of course, you must have already heard about the cow that wandered into the Ruckledge Store!

Our book, besides being for sale at the Nanaimo Museum, is also available at the South Wellington community markets, held at the hall on Morden Road in the spring, fall, and near Christmas. You can also arrange to purchase a copy from South Wellington Historical committee member, Helen Tilley; The price is $24.95.

Read an excerpt from South Wellington: Stories From the Past, photos and text of which may not be reproduced without permission.