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March, 2002

NEWS RELEASE: Charles Ball Project

On March 13, 2002, at 10 o'clock am, the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria, the Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Association, and the descendants of Charles and Hannah Ball will gather at the Ross Bay Cemetery to initiate the restoration of the Charles Ball grave fence.

This fence is one of the few publicly displayed examples of the blacksmith's art, and is in dire need of restoration. What better way to restore it than to have the group most concerned with the preservation of the blacksmith trade, join with The Old Cemeteries Society on this restoration project.

The Parker/Ball family is one of Victoria's most enduring pioneer families. Hannah Parker was the first white girl born in Victoria. Her parents, John and Mary, arrived in Victoria in 1853 aboard the sailing ship Norman Morison. Hannah was born that same year.

Charles Ball came to Victoria in 1863 looking for fame and fortune. Instead of moving off to the gold fields, he stayed in Victoria, met and married Hannah Parker, raised nine children and established himself as one of Victoria's finest blacksmiths. His first shop was on Johnson Street and in 1887, he moved it to Rocky Point. Family folklore has it that he build the fence himself in his retirement years. Charles Ball died in 1917 and was laid to rest behind the fence he built in Ross Bay Cemetery.

Contact persons:
Old Cemeteries Society - Wilf Bruch (388-3197)
V.I. Blacksmiths Association - Raynier Pipke (743-9945)
Parker-Ball Family - Verna Langrish (478-1079)

Click here to see some restoration pictures.