BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Bamfield
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
:
Community
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Relative Location: S side Barkley Sound, SW side Vancouver Island, Barclay Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 48°50'00''N, 125°08'00''W at the approximate population centre of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD27
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 92C/14
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Origin Notes and History:

Bamfield (Post Office & Steamer Landing) adopted 1 December 1949 on C3646. Form of name changed to Bamfield (Community) 15 December 1982 on 92 C/14.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
A mis-spelling of the name of William Eddy Banfield, who came out to this coast aboard H.M.S. Constance in 1846, and served on board later as one of the carpenter's crew. He left the service in 1849, and for several years traded among the Indians on the west coast of Vancouver Island, living laterly at this creek (tidal inlet), and it thus became known by his name. [By 1861] Banfield was engaged as trader at a post established here by Anderson & Company of Victoria, and the same year was acting as Indian Agent on the west coast (Colonist, 11 January 1861). While residing at this inlet he collected a large amount of ethnological information about the Indians. Banfield lost his life under mysterious circumstances, 20 October 1862; first reported by an Indian to have been accidentally drowned when he fell from a canoe in Barkley Sound, later it was reported that he was killed by the Indians on shore (Colonist, 24 October 1864). An Ohiat Indian, charged with the murder of Banfield, was tried in Victoria 3 November 1864 and acquitted for lack of evidence (Colonist, 29 Sept & 4 November 1864). However, when this Indian returned to Barkley Sound he openly boasted that he had indeed killed Banfield (Provincial Archives). Postmaster R. McLachlan wrote in 1905 that there had always been local speculation whether (the drowning) was an accident or treachery. (James White letters from Postmasters). Forty years later Banfield Creek (still referring to the inlet) was chosen as the northern terminus of the 7,000 mile long submarine cable linking the British possessions in North America and the British Commonwealth of Australia, with the first message transmitted 8 December 1902. The following year the Bamfield (sic) Post Office was established, and although the spelling mistake was quickly acknowledged by postal authorities, corrected cancellation stamps were never issued to the Banfield Postmaster. For the next fifty years, provincial and federal maps identified Bamfield Post Office on the shore of Banfield Inlet, but the historically-accurate spelling eventually succumbed to overwhelming public use and recognition of the mis-spelled form "Bamfield", and Banfield Inlet was officially changed to Bamfield Inlet in 1951. The Bamfield Marine Station opened in 1972, on the site once occupied by the cable station. Parks Canada has installed a National Historic Site tablet here.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
First misspelled "Bamfield Creek" (referring to the tidal inlet) on British Admiralty Charts 584 and 592, published in 1863 & 1865 respectively, from 1861 surveys conducted by Captain Richards, RN. Correctly spelled "Banfield Creek" on subsequent editions. "When the Post Office opened in May 1903, the name was spelled with an "m", and it has remained so ever since.." (F.V. Longstaff, writing in the Victoria Colonist, 25 March 1926)
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Banfield creek was the shore terminus of the submarine cable between the British possessions in North America and the British Commonwealth of Australia. The longest portion of this cable, 3540 miles (Banfield creek to Fanning Island) was successfully laid by the S.S.Colonia under Captain Woodwock, between 18 September and 6 October 1902. The portion between Fanning island and Australia was completed 31 October 1902 and the cable opened for business 8 December 1902.
Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)