The lights go on

Homemade hydroelectric power modernizes the farm


Farming in the 1920's required manpower and in the beginning there was only Robert, Robert Jr., and helping neighbours. Following the arduous task of clearing the land to allowing planting, there was the next set of challenges including ploughing, seeding, and harvesting. There was no local building supply or hardware store. Our grandfather made his own nuts and bolts, milled his own timber, and fixed anything that broke down. His success was based on ingenuity and determination. 


The challenges of extreme cold in winter and a short growing season, along with a remote location tested the resolve and determination of Robert Blackwood. But the promise of the opportunity to be his own man and have his own farm outweighed any doubts.  It was his idea to build a farm out of the wilderness and therefore his responsibility to make it work.


Dunster was named in 1913 after a small town in England which happened to be the hometown of one of the railway workers. It was launched with arrival of the Grand Trunk railway. 

A story of struggle, survival and inspiration

The farm in Dunster

Building a family

Amanda Blackwood with babies Marjorie and Beatrice and big brother Robert Blackwood Jr. It seems the tractor was the focus of this day's photographs. 

History of the Blackwood family in Dunster, British Columbia
  • Purchasing the land
  • Clearing the land
  • Building the home and barn
  • Making a living
  • Raising the children

Now the farm begins

With the land cleared a 3 horse team ploughs 

Steam power arrives

A steam powered tractor provides mobile power

Circa 1920 Amanda rides the plough horse to cultivate for potatoes. The Blackwoods relied heavily on root vegetables which kept well over winter in the root cellar.