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Waterloo Mountain 1865

From the British Colonist, August 5, 1865, p. 3. and Victoria Daily Colonist October 13, 1957. p. 13.

Exploration of the Kokesailah River 1865

From Mr. Hector McPherson who, with Mr. Robertson, has been prospecting for gold since June 1st, on Kokesailah River, Cowichan district, we learn the following particulars: The party ascended the river about 35 miles, prospecting all the way up and finding color everywhere. At a distance of 35 miles they were encouraged from the appearance of the stream to sink a shaft in the high bank, which they did to the depth of 12 feet, finding several colors. They were obliged, however, through the water coming in and the grub becoming scarce, to give up for the present. They intend, they say, to return at once with supplies and materials for rigging a temporary pump. The country is very rough, with occasional flats, heavily timbered. On the 18th June the party ascended a mountain near the head of the waters of the river, after four and a half hours hard climbing. It was named by the explorers Mount Waterloo. They discovered a remarkable lake in that vicinity, at an elevation of about 1000 feet above the river, and from which a fine stream descended in a series of beautiful waterfalls. The party intends to go to the source of the river and prospect it thoroughly.

Early Day Climbers named Mt. Waterloo

Two of Vancouver Island's early settlers, who explored much of the country, as well as the Gulf Islands, and sections of the mainland of B.C., were Hector MacPherson and William A. Robertson. It was these two who named Waterloo Mountain [1027m] in 1865, on the 50th anniversary of Napoleon's shattering defeat at the hands of Marshal Blucher and his Prussian divisions, the Duke of Wellington and his British-Belgian-Dutch forces.

In 1865 the memory of Napoleon was still fresh in the minds of British people, and it was on June 8 that MacPherson and Robertson reached the summit of the mountain, the same date that the French were routed at Waterloo. They thought it fitting that the crest should perpetuate the victory of British and allied arms.

Waterloo Mountain is in the Koksilah Range and overlooks Grant Lake.

Of the naming of the peak, Florence M. Draper writes:

"The purpose of their climb I do not know unless it was just to spend a happy day in each other's company, studying the geography of this island of ours. However, when Mr. MacPherson and Mr. Robertson reached the summit and looked around … they then and there decided to cal the mountain Waterloo, in memory of that famous battle, and accordingly marked a tree with their own names. Later a proper marker was placed near the spot.

"They also made a pact with each other that should they be alive on the 100th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo they would climb the mountain again.

"Unfortunately, when that time came Mr. MacPherson had passed on and Mr. Robertson, then an old man in his 90's, together with his son and daughter-in-law and friends from Victoria undertook the climb. But they used George Frayne's pack horses [of Mill Bay] for part of the trip."





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