Item AAAB2285 - Murray Dobrilla interview

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Murray Dobrilla interview

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  • sound recording

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  • 1976-03-26 [date recorded] (Creation)

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Custodial history

The Richmond Arts Centre oral history collection comprises two sets of tapes that were loaned to the Provincial Archives of British Columbia for copying in 1973 and 1976 respectively. The first set of tapes, recorded in 1972-1973, consists of 16 interviews; the second set, recorded in 1976, consists of 57 interviews. The originals are held by the City of Richmond Archives.

Scope and content

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Murray Dobrilla RECORDED: Ladner (B.C.), 1976-03-26 SUMMARY: Murray Dobrilla was born in Austria in 1908, left there at age 3 with parents. Came to Vancouver and then Ladner for school. Father was a gillnet fisherman on the Fraser River. Murray fished with his uncle and dad for smelts in Port Moody and English Bay. Fished in a "one lunger" or one cylinder boat. Everything done by hand including rowing and pulling in the nets. Always a market for smelts, sold mostly to Chinese men and fish markets. Uncle fished for salmon around the Point Grey area and the Gulf. Helped father fish during summers from 10 years old. Fished 5 days a week. Lots of fish but low prices. Because the canneries paid by the fish, they would let the big fish go and keep the small fish, so they could carry more. Canneries didn't like that. Long, narrow boats, but with little equipment. Discusses living quarters. Worked mostly for B.C. Packers. Discusses unions, and what it was like when they came in. Discusses payment and income. Discusses salmon spawning and the river being closed to allow it. Compares old and modern equipment. Discusses Japanese fishermen, and how companies preferred them. In the early 1900s you could fish anywhere you wanted, except the Japanese were restricted at one time. The impact of gas engines. Early fisheries regulations. Collector boats. Caring for linen nets; soaking in blue stone solution and then mending. Discusses superstitions he and other fishermen had. He had a lucky hat: if he had the hat on he would catch fish, if he didn't have it on, no fish. Wouldn't open a can upside down, that was really bad luck. If you whistle in the morning, bad luck. Was on a seine for 3 years, fished for salmon and pilchards on the west coast. Discusses pollution in river, and its impact on the fishing industry. Discusses engine use in fishing and how sailboats would be towed out and in by company boats.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Richmond Arts Centre, 1972-73 & 1976


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Originals held by the City of Richmond Archives.

Availability of other formats

  • Outline in documentation file.
  • Reference cassette copy available in container 000443-127.

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No access restrictions apply.

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  • Copying Restriction: Undetermined.
  • Use Restriction: Undetermined.
  • Copyright Status: Copyright Richmond Arts Centre?

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General note

Accession number(s): T2093

Credits note

speaker: Murray Dobrilla, interviewer: Darlene Clyne

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