In 1915, newlyweds Bert and Amanda Blackwood, from Minneapolis, made the decision to homestead in northern British Columbia.  Upon the advice of his brother, Tom, who was working for the Grand Trunk Railway, Bert came to the area first that same year.  Bert stayed with his brother for two years before Amanda and their young son, Robert Jr. joined him in Dunster.

Amanda’s arrival was far from pleasant.  She had to wait alone in the cold for Robert to arrive.  Then, when he finally arrived, she faced the long walk to Tom’s cabin across the frozen Fraser River and through the snow.  Fortunately, for Amanda’s sake, they stopped along the way to borrow boots from a neighbor.  The young couple eventually bought land along the far side of the Fraser River, about 2 miles from the Dunster Station. 

When he first arrived, Bert had never set foot in a garden and had no idea how to farm.  Neighbours didn’t have much faith that Bert would last and some even bet that he wouldn’t last 6 months. Both Bert and Amanda lasted well past 6 months and despite being a “pencil pushing” farmer, their farm thrived.  They cleared their own farmland by hand, and after gaining some success, started buying out their neighbours farms.  By 1939, the Blackwoods were shipping 200 tons of hay a year from their 300 acres of land, had built a comfortable farm house with electricity (which is still there today), a well-equipped machine shop, had a car and delivery truck, cattle and horse machinery.  They were also believed to have had the first camera in Dunster, one of only a few rifles (which meant that many residents used it), and the first piano.

Bert was a particularly resourceful man, designing and installing his own hydro-electric power system for the farm.  With a limited number of resources, Bert designed the system after reading some engineering books.  He was able to create more than enough energy to power the generator, drive the lathe, band saw, circular saw, fanning mill and feed grinder.
In 1927 and then 1929 the Blackwoods had two more children, Marjorie and Beatrice.  All three children were raised in Dunster and several grandchildren spent much of their formative years with their grandparents on the farm.  In 2016, the Dunster Station Museum will feature Bert and Amanda Blackwood as early pioneers to the valley with several family heirlooms, photographs and artifacts on display from their time here. Check out the Blackwood's own family history, as written by Bert and Amanda's descendents.