History of Dunster, British Columbia

Dunster Centennial

As construction on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway worked its way across the west, sections for maintenance were established about eight miles or so apart. Examples in the Robson Valley were Croydon, Dunster and Raush, each having a standard Grand Trunk design station. The station was the centre for each community and became the meeting place for the settlers. Later, as roads improved and mills closed, Dunster became the centre for the area.

The station names were chosen by the railway builders, named after local geographic features, important railway company men, or home towns in the old country. This was the case with Dunster, called after a scenic village in Somerset, England. Dunster's good farm land attracted many settlers and the community grew and flourished.

One hundred years ago this April the School Inspector went to Dunster and recognised the need for a school. The settlers met in the station, formed a school board and decided where to put the school. By December, teacher applications were being considered and the log school was under construction.

For some years the children on the north side had their own school on Ed Lee's land, the Lee School, built in 1920. That same year the ferry which had served the community for about four years became too busy and it was clear a bridge was needed.

The bridge, 'of the very latest design', as reported in the Prince George Leader, was opened in 1921. It was the first permanent road bridge in the valley. The Dunster Store and Post Office by the station were now more accessible to all of the area.

A new community hall just north of the bridge held its first event on the eve of 1932. The New Year was celebrated in style until 5:00 am. when teams of horses took the participants home.

Also in 1932 a new school was built to replace the original one.

In 1963 this school burned down and the community hall by the bridge was quickly converted to a school. A year later a new school was completed, later designated a Fine Arts School. It was closed in 2010 and now belongs to the community, active in music and arts workshops, concerts and playschool.

The original community hall was lost under a heavy snow load and a new hall near the highway was built by the community and completed in 1979. It is famous for the ice cream social held every year close to Canada Day when the population more than doubles. In August every year, Dunster holds its well known music festival near the picnic grounds by the river.

This year, 2015, Dunster is celebrating its centennial with a homecoming on the August long weekend.

See pictures of Dunster on valleymuseum.ca, settlers effects.ca and information about Dunster on dunsterbc.net.


Marilyn Wheeler © 2015


Latitude: 53°07'27"
Longitude: 119°50'16"

Dunster (Post Office and Station) adopted May 23, 1963 on 83E/4, as labelled on BC map 3H, 1919.
Form of name changed to Dunster (community) December 13, 1982.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office.

Dunster Post Office was opened December 1, 1915 , named after a village in England.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office.

The station was constructed in 1913 and named Dunster by a Grand Trunk Pacific Railway inspector after his hometown in England. The Dunster post office began in December 1915 in the house of the first postmaster, George Hall. In 1921, Mrs. A. McDonald took over the post office, moving it into the log building constructed by her husband, Alec McDonald, opposite the railway station. (Postscript ' 90, published by Fraser-Fort George Museum Society, 1990.)

Information courtesy of the BC Gazetteer.

Dunster Place Names

For more history of Dunster click here for the Blackwood family history



Page last updated October 12, 2015


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