Series GR-0892 - Miscellaneous papers referring to pre-emptions on Vancouver Island

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Title proper

Miscellaneous papers referring to pre-emptions on Vancouver Island

General material designation

  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of the series.

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Series

Reference code

GR-0892

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1861-1873 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

0.5 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1849-1866)

Biographical history

Name of creator

(1859-1871)

Biographical history

The Lands and Works Dept. of the Colony of British Columbia was established in 1859 when Colonel Richard Clement Moody, commanding officer of the Royal Engineers, was sworn in as Chief Commissioner and Surveyor-General for the Colony of British Columbia. Prior to 1858, the territories of the new colony, known then as New Caledonia, were under grant to the Hudson’s Bay Company. Moody and the Royal Engineers were sent to the lower Fraser Valley by the Colonial Office in England to provide a military presence in the new colony, and also to survey land for settlement and to provide engineering expertise and manpower for the building of roads and bridges. In 1863, the Colonial Office implemented constitutional changes to the Colony of British Columbia to encourage more settlement and a representative government. The contingent of Royal Engineers was disbanded and Chartres Brew, Chief Inspector of Police for the colony, was designated as Acting Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works until Joseph Trutch was appointed to the position of Surveyor-General in 1864. From 1864 to 1871, the Surveyor-General was an elected official who also held the title of Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and was a member of the Executive Council. Trutch continued the job Moody had started, with a personal emphasis on Crown lands and aboriginal claims. Trutch was the Surveyor-General when British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, at which time he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the new province. Most of the colonial officials remained in their positions, under his authority, until an election was held in November and a new government was sworn in. During this transitional period, first Peter O’Reilly and then Benjamin Pearse, served as Acting Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor-General. After the election, 1871, Henry Holbrook was appointed the Acting Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor-General in the first ministry. A few months later, George A. B. Walkem took over as the first Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor-General in the new Dept. of Lands and Works.

Name of creator

(1871-1908)

Biographical history

The Dept. of Lands and Works was established in 1871 under the Constitution Act (SBC 1871, c. 147). Prior to that, the origins of the department were in the offices of the Surveyor General for the Colony of Vancouver Island (1859-1866) and the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor General for the Colony of British Columbia (1859-1871).

The mandate of the department was to grant permission for the pre-emption of unoccupied, unsurveyed, and unreserved Crown lands, issue Crown grants and grant leases of Crown lands, oversee all survey and map functions, and construct and repair roads, bridges and buildings for public services. It was also responsible for promoting immigration. The Dept. of Lands and Works was headed by the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Surveyor General.

By 1899, the department was organized into two branches: Lands Branch and Works Branch. In 1908 the Dept. of Lands and Works was disestablished with an amendment to the Constitution Act (SBC 1908, c. 12). Its functions were assigned to two new departments: the Dept. of Lands (SBC 1908, c. 31) and the Dept. of Public Works (SBC 1908, c. 41).

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series consist of miscellaneous papers referring to pre-emptions on Vancouver Island (mainly letters inward), 1861-1873.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred from Land Management Branch, 1980.

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There are no access restrictions.

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General note

Accession number(s): GR-0892

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