History of Discovery Island
Above: Songhees village on the northwest corner of Discovery Island in 1890.
c.1890 RBCM PN 6838
Above: The first of three Discovery Island lighthouses in 1900.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
In 1918 Captain Ernest Godfrey Beaumont AKA king of the island Buys 160 acres of the island. Captain Beaumont and his wife built a house near the centre of the island. He had a 40 foot yacht named the Dscovery Isle which he had had built in
Above: Captain E.G. Beaumont's Dscovery Isle built in 1930 in Hong Kong. BC Archives MS-0944
In 1932 Mary Ann Croft retired after a total of 46 years as the lighthouse keeper and moved to Victoria with a Pension of only $43 a month. Although rumor has it in the 1920s she saved for retirement by helping rum runners relay messages to each other, the police gave her the name "Queen of the rum runners" Discovery was the most popular island with rum runners during Prohibition.
On the waters off Discovery there have been many claims of a sea monster known as a "Cadborosaurus(Cadborosaurus willsi)(Caddy)" known to be a extremely fast, greenish brown, long(about 30 feet), serpent like creature. There are accounts from First Nations stories dating back generations of a sea monster like creature of a similar nature to the Cadborosaurus, and frequent sightings right up to modern-day. But the Cadborosaurus most notably caught the public's attention in 1933 when W.H. Langley clerk of the Provincial Legislature and F.W. Kemp employee of the Provincial Archives in addition to their families were in a sailboat just off of Discovery Island when they spotted the creature.
Broadcast Date: July 29, 1956. A woman describes seeing the Cadborosaurus in the waters off of Discovery Island. video by: CBC Play video
In September 1939 A World War Two signal station was built on the highest point of the Island pandora hill the military purchased the 8.41 acres of the island from Captain Beaumont for $700 with the promise that he would have the first chance to purchase back the property if the military decided to put it up for sale. And six years later, after the war it was decided that the signal station was no longer required and was shutdown and on July 3, 1945 the 8 acres of land along with the buildings that had been built for the signal station were sold back to
In 1967 after spending 50 years on the island Captain Beaumont died at the age of 92. Beaumont was always hosting Scouts, cadets and all kinds of youth on the island he claimed to have hosted 20,000 over his lifetime on the island. He keep fit into his 90ís and used to row around discovery Island and the Chatham Islands as well as to the Victoria Yacht Club. In his will he gave the island to the Province of British Columbia. There are two plaques on the island one from the Scouts and one from the Province of British Columbia thanking him for the gift. They are located on the west side of Rudlin Bay.
Finally on July 27, 1972 after Captain Beaumont's will was thoroughly contested by his nephew which only received one dollar of his $125,000 estate the southern part of the island was established as the Discovery Island Provincial Marine Park. The eastern part of the island remained Coast Guard property for the lighthouse and the northern part of the island remained a first nations reserve. Captain Beaumontís house was burned by BC parks after much vandalizm. In 1996 the lighthouse was de-staffed and automated the lighthouse had been manned for 110 years. And on September 3, 2004 the foghorn at the lighthouse was deactivated and removed from the station. Today nobody lives on the island and the lighthouse buildings are shamefully deteriorating.