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As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, we’ve digitized a small selection of inquests and inquiries from 1872 to 1934, found in series GR-0431. These were chosen to reflect the experiences of early Chinese immigrants to B.C. – their living and working conditions, and their unfortunate accidental or unusual deaths.   They range from a woman working in a brothel in Barkerville who died of natural causes to three sawmill workers who died from malnutrition. Learn more.

*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person. 

BC Archives GR-0431

*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.

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1st Witness John McCulloch

Having been duly sworn states on Friday morning the 15th instant about 6 o’clock, I was at my place where I work in the shaft on Newcastle Island. I had been at work only about four or five minutes when I heard an explosion & felt a shock. Immediately went towards the place whence the noise proceeded and I heard a man calling for assistance. I believe that man’s name is Andrew Miller and was the first to come out of the shaft where the explosion had taken place. I assisted Miller home to his house and returned to the scene of the accident & went down into the mine as far as I could get & saw a man lying badly injured, but could not assist him as I had to leave instantly in consequence of the foulness of the air. I came to the Pit mouth and some fresh men went down. I was not aware that there was any gas in the mine & had not been notified that such was the case. I never saw any gas in my place to do any harm.

BC Archives, GR-0431 Box 1 File 7 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Inquisitions / inquests conducted by coroners in British Columbia.

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