After the Barkerville Fire

Leather fire bucket at Barkerville

Less than a week after fire destroyed the town of Barkerville on September 16, 1868, more than twenty buildings were erected.

In order to make sure that the Great Fire of Barkerville was never to be repeated, the Williams Creek Fire Brigade was formed.

A firehall was set up in the back of the newly rebuilt Theatre Royal and twenty Williams Creek Fire Brigade members and many volunteers gathered here to meet.

Two bells, one on St. Saviour’s Church and the other on the Theatre Royal, served as the fire alarm.

Water tanks were built on the hillside well above Barkerville and piped down to hydrants which were housed along with hose and equipment in special sheds around town.

The hoses and buckets were both made from leather. Having leather buckets meant that they could be tossed down onto the ground without sustaining damage.

There was also an additional fire brigade set up by the Chinese citizens. They crafted a fire-pump from hollow bamboo. Water was poured into one end while someone operated the pump forcing the water to shoot out quite a distance.