Ports can be busy places and, by the very nature of their business activities, may be hazardous places to work. The harbour master has a key role to play ensuring that everyone, from those living and working close to the port, to the port’s staff, customers and visitors, can go about their business safely. Harbour masters must be familiar with all relevant safety, environmental and health laws at the international, national and local level.
James Odgers Guy was a well-known harbour master of Port Oshawa during the mid to late 19th century. Today, his house still sits perched on a hill overlooking the harbour and Lake Ontario.
Apart from being over 150 years old, James Odgers Guy’s home played an important role in early Port Oshawa, as it was where he sighted and received ships that arrived at the harbour. Today, it is known as Guy House and is part of the Oshawa Museum.
Another early Harbour Master was Thomas Henry. He was one of the founders and President of the Sydenham Harbour Company. He was a father, minister, War of 1812 veteran, and community builder. Thomas Henry was an early settler in Oshawa; his house, known today as Henry House, still stands as part of the Oshawa Museum.
Richard Welch worked with HMS Customs as Landing Waiter at Port Oshawa at the time of Confederation, and he was also a Captain in the Third Battalion of the Durham Militia.
Richard Welch married Eunice Robinson, daughter of Ruth and John Robinson in April 1859. They resided in Robinson house allowing him to work very close to home at Port Oshawa.
According to the 1861 census, Ruth was living in the three-storey brick house with her daughter Eunice, son-in-law Richard Welch, and grandson Robert. After the death of Ruth in 1864, the home was listed under the name of Richard Welch. Robinson House was the home of the Welch family for approximately 11 years. Today Robinson House still stands as part of the Oshawa Museum.