Malaspina Galleries c. 1920

Preemption Document James Degnen, c. 1878

Collections and Research

Archives, Photos and Museum Publications


Artifacts are as varied as the residents of the island

The Museum Archives are located in the Gabriola Museum at 505 South Road, Gabriola Island and are open to the public.

Artifacts are as varied as the residents of the island and include ferry tickets from the 1960s, a dainty china cup that was a treasured possession of an early settler, and a leather oxen yoke used by local farmers. Larger artifacts such as the dismantled foghorns from Entrance Island lighthouse are on display on the Museum grounds.

The Archives, maintained by a volunteer archivist, include:

  • Census records, 1880-1901
  • Voters’ lists
  • Pre-emptions records 1874-1880
  • Family records and genealogies
  • Personal Memoirs
  • Cemetery records
  • School records
  • Gabriola business and industrial records
  • Newspapers (Flying Shingle, Sounder and Island Times and Sandstone News)
  • Maps from late 1800’s
  • Photographs from the late 1800’s
  • Oral histories provided by early residents of Gabriola

Donations of archival materials are most welcome.

If you wish to visit the Archives, or to donate material, make an appointment with the Archivist.

Before you toss out photographs, letters, emails, maps or pictures, ask yourself if these materials could “tell a story of Gabriola”.

A SOUNDER article, For the Record: Archiving the Past in the Present demonstrates this.

All documents and items donated to the Museum archives are available to the public subject to the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Newspaper Articles

Nanaimo Free Press, Gabriola Articles, 1874 – 1894

There never was a Gabriola edition of the Nanaimo Free Press, so far as we know.

We have collected articles about Gabriola and its people from microfilm of the old Free Press and put them together in our own “Gabriola Editions” – a mixture of shipping news and farm news, births, marriages and deaths, celebrations and disasters, courtships and court cases – to give the flavour of the times. Nine Gabriola editions have been created so far.

  • May, 1874 –  Gabriola described.
  • Jan-July, 1879 –  Politics, school report, a sharp salesman, and shipping news.
  • Oct-Dec, 1881 –  Taxes, farming tips, shipwrecks, and entertainment.
  • Jan-Feb, 1883 –  Disobedient children, school report, and the telegraph.
  • July-Aug, 1885 –  Brush fires, biology, and another teacher married.
  • January, 1886 –  Death in the mines, building roads, and a silver wedding anniversary.
  • October, 1888 –  Farm news, county court, and several perilous journeys.
  • June, 1889 –  Elections, looking for coal, and kicked by a horse.
  • July-Sep, 1891 –  Wealth on Texada, two inquests, and a Gabriola pic-nic.

Documents and Studies

Gabriola’s Geological Past

Gabriola’s Climate and Environmental Past

The Coast Salish

Spanish, Russians and English Before 1860

European Settlement in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

The Growth of Gabriola’s Infrastructure


Gabriola’s Industrial Past

Gabriola Society

Gabriola’s Cultural Past