Richard Somerset Mackie

Richard Mackie works as associate editor and book reviews editor of the journal BC Studies. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography at UBC and author of four books with Sono Nis Press: a biography of the Canadian naturalist Mack Laing (1985), a biography of the surveyor George Drabble (The Wilderness Profound, 1995, reprinted 2002), and two Vancouver Island logging histories, Island Timber (2000) and Mountain Timber (2009). He has also written books for UBC Press and Harbour Pubishing.

Visit Richard Mackie's website at

Titles by the Author

Hamilton Mack Laing


Hamilton Mack Laing was a long-lived, widely published, notable Canadian naturalist. Laing's naturalist beliefs were common to his era: animal management was part of healthy environmental work. This biography explores a man and a philosophy of conservation that insisted the naturalist be a good man with a gun.


Buy from StoreBiography, 234 pp, 6 x 9, b/w photos
ISBN 0-919203-74-4, cloth, $25.00

Island Timber

Richard Somerset Mackie charts the history of the largest logging concern on coastal British Columbia—the Comox Logging Company—from the turn of the twentieth century to the devastating Sayward fire of 1938. This story of the heroic age of coastal logging is rich with stories, humour, and pithy sidebars on coastal legends like Big Jack McKenzie, "Greasy" McQuinn, "Promise Bob" Filberg, "Highpockets" Hughie Buy from StoreCliffe, Boomstick Thompson, and Sailor Lehtonen. Dozens of stunning photos and maps that have never before appeared in print.

Mountain Timber

The Comox Logging Company in the Vancouver Island Mountains

On one level the story of loggers and their machines—cold deckers, skidders, geared locies and many more—Mountain Timber is also a dense and engrossing social history of central Island in the mid-20th century. The book's nine chapters alternate revealingly between logging and social history: between working landscapes and the communities they supported. A stunning visual feast, this richly illustrated history contains 340 photographs of the men, women, families and communities supported by logging. Mackie has gathered most of the photos, many of them hitherto unpublished, from 60 private collections. Mountain Timber also contains 18 maps and diagrams of logging camps, methods and aspects of railway and highlead logging technology.

Mountain Timber was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing (2010)

Buy from StoreHISTORY • 8.5 x 11 • 320 pp
350+ b/w photos & maps
ISBN 13: 978-1-55039-171-8; 1-55039-171-2
softcover • $42.95

The Wilderness Profound

Victorian Life on the Gulf of Georgia

Revised and updated with new information. In July 1862, George Fawcett Drabble, a prosperous farmer in the English Midlands, impulsively boarded the Silistria, a China Clipper ship bound for the gold colony of British Columbia. Dressed in a top hat and a silk suit, twenty-nine-year-old Drabble had gone to Liverpool to say farewell to his friends, but at the last minute he boarded the vessel, saying “Wait Boys! I’m going with you!” Louisa Drabble, his wife, died soon after his sudden departure, and George Drabble stayed on Vancouver IslaBuy from Storend, settling eventually on a farm in the Comox Valley. His three young children never joined him.

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