Heavy Oil Science Centre - Overburden

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Jack Weaver

Involvement in the Oil Industry

In 1945, Jack left the farm and came to town. He spent two years working at a grocery store and then decided that he should look for work at the Husky Refinery. He went and talked to Shorty Willard who was the Maintenance Foreman. Jack started work at the Husky Refinery in April 1947. Pete Campbell was there at that time and Bill Williams was in charge of production.

Jack started out in construction and after three or four months was put on process as an operator's helper. He worked in various positions over the years; shift supervisor, senior operator and then as maintenance assistant.


Jack recalls that trucks couldn't get around the refinery. He remembers four or five men carrying four inch pipe on their shoulders. They dug the footings for the building and towers by hand.

He recalls when they were putting in a gas line in the winter. They would shovel the snow, lay steam coils, dig to the frost and then repeat this.

He was on shiftwork and in the early days most nights were spent outside. He recalls that the pipelines often would freeze-up. Looking back, he comments that he was one of the biggest firesetters at the Refinery. There wasn't a lot of firefighting equipment then.

In the early days, everyone did a bit of everything. You were often a mechanic, a firefighter or whatever was needed. At one point, he worked on the tank car loading rack for two months. He remembers loading 32 cars of Bunker C a day, 16 on each side of the rack. He vividly remembers a derailment that took place when the train came in too fast. He believes it was one of the biggest. There was a new crew on the train because the other crew was involved with the fair. In those days the trains brought the fair to town. To clean up the spill, they shoveled by hand and filled four foot by six foot buckets. Then they would winch them on a truck and empty. There were no bulldozers or front-end loaders.