Steam Donkey At Work

Mural #1

Steam Donkey At Work, Mural #1 by Frank Lewis and Nancy Lagana1M X 3M (27’ X 10’), Willow Street
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Artists: Frank Lewis and Nancy Lagana
Painted in 1982. Resto
red in 1994 by Frank Lewis, assisted by Jan Morgan. Restored in 2014 by Cim MacDonald.

For the steam donkey and its crew, hauling a log from the forest was an obstacle course of the worst kind, fighting rocks, gullies and stumps every inch of the way.

“Charlie”, the line horse, waits patiently in the background, ready to pull the 20 millimetre (0.79 in) cable to the next felled log.

The steam donkey was invented by John Dolbeer in 1882. This particular one was built by Murray Bros, in San Francisco and started work for the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (V L & M) in Chemainus in 1885.

The painting is based on a photograph from 1902.

The man controlling the lever on the steam donkey is Herbert M. Olsen, who was later to become prominent in world-wide lumbering ventures.

Now restored, the Dolbeer steam donkey has been retired to the BC Forest Discovery Centre in the Cowichan Valley.

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