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HISTORY OF WORK POINT BARRACKS

by Jack Bates

PART 1 — 1842 to 1886


1848

First Royal Navy warship to enter and anchor in Esquimalt Harbour was HMS Constance, a 50 gun sailing frigate, on July 25, 1848.


1849

After the Oregon Treaty was signed on June 15, 1846 establishing Vancouver Island as British territory, the Hudson's Bay Company moved its headquarters from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River to Fort Victoria. On January 13th, 1849, the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island was created, with Victoria as the capital and its first governor Richard Blanshard. This was a suitable arrangement as there was a commitment to settlement and provided a presence to counter any possible, and suspected, American or Russian threat.

Incidentally, there were two "Crown Colony of Vancouver Island" flags seen flying in the Victoria area. One under the Canadian flag at the Six Mile Pub and another at a home on Sedger Ave in Saanich. The flag was created in the 1980's.


1851

In mid 1851 the Victoria Voltigeurs were formed of volunteers to lend a hand in enforcing justice. They were involved in helping the Royal Navy maintain order and existed until March 1858. This was of sorts, the first military unit and police force in British Columbia. They were colourful in their uniform of a sky blue capote with a red woollen sash, not the traditional European or British military style.

Visit the Military side of the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum to see their uniform on display.


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