Opinion: Time for another Roberts Creek Kodak moment

It might be hard to believe, but after more than three decades in the media I’ve only been on a magazine cover once and, sadly, it wasn’t Rolling Stone.

It was the Spring 2016 issue of British Columbia History, and you’ll need a pretty good magnifying glass to pick me out. That’s because I share the cover with dozens of other Creekers.

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The magazine used the last group photo taken in front of the Roberts Creek Community Hall as the cover shot for a volume of stories about the province’s historic community halls.

Creekers will gather on June 2 for a new picture to mark the 85th anniversary of the hall’s opening, and it comes at a time when Roberts Creek history is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. 

Jeff Newman, who lived on Crowe Road in the 1930s and 40s, has been sharing his incredible collection of photos on the Roberts Creek Speaks and Roberts Creek BC Community History Facebook groups.

Coast Reporter contributor Hugh Macaulay and Ed Lands have embarked on a project to collect the stories of Roberts Creek in the 60s, 70s and 80s, at robertscreekunincorporated.org, building on the work of the Roberts Creek Historical Committee that published Remembering Roberts Creek: 1889-1955 more than 40 years ago.

Having grown up in the Creek in the decades Hugh and Ed are interested in, I should probably stop procrastinating and contribute a story or two, but that’s a column (or columns) for another time.

Back then I wasn’t all that aware, or all that curious, about the history of the Creek, but by the time I moved back in 2006 after studying history and marrying a fellow historian who’s also a keen genealogical researcher, my awareness and curiosity had been piqued.

And now, thanks to the Internet and huge advances in digitization technology, it’s easier to dive into the history of places like Roberts Creek. 

The Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives, for example, includes an online database of back issues of the old Coast News and Peninsula Times newspapers at www.sunshinecoastmuseum.ca.

I hope in the coming years I’ll be able to fill in more of the blanks in my knowledge of the history of the shíshálh and Skwxwú7mesh territories in Roberts Creek.

Photos, like the one at the Community Hall, eventually become important historical resources, too.

Jan Brinton is helping coordinate the event and she’s hoping to get as many Creek “elders” out as possible. The photo to mark the Hall’s 60th year featured a row made up of many long-time residents. Elders who need a ride can call Jan at 604-886-2883.

Jeff Newman will also be there, and he’s offered to conduct a tour of Crowe Road, the wharf and pier and McFarlane’s Beach after the photo to share some of his stories.

The 85th anniversary celebration and photo shoot starts at 11:30 a.m.

The Creek, they say, is a state of mind, so even if you’re not a current resident, the Community Association would love to see you out for the photo.

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