Wellburn’s Collecting

Gerry got to know all sorts of people in the coastal forest industry, from company owners to the railroaders, loggers and mechanics, especially during the Depression years when many companies were on a shortened work week and there was time to dig around. He interviewed old timers in the 1940's, and many of these recollections are in the provincial museum with a mass of papers Gerry collected relating to the history of the Island's forest industry.

"He could see the changes coming in the forest industry. He set out to try to save this stuff. In his collecting he was very perceptive, and he did it systematically. He has a very good eye for things," (Bob Turner in Gidney) He collected horse-drawn wagons, automobiles and fire engines – some of them in the BC Transportation Museum in Surrey and with the Atchelitz Threshermen's Association in Chilliwack. He had an interest in old toys, some now in the provincial museum . From his knowledge of B. C. history he became involved with the founding of Barkerville Historic Park, Fort Steele Historic Park, the BC Forest Museum, the B. C. Transportation Museum and the National Philathetic Museum.

But his first passion remains philately. Wellburn is acknowledged to have one of the finest collections of postage stamps in Canada, particularly from B.C.'s colonial period. In 1990 Wellburn published a book on the postal history of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. One collector told Robert Turner, Curator at the Royal BC Museum, that Gerry's collection on an scale of 1 to 10 was number 10, 11 and 12. He is the only person ever to be honoured three times as International Stamp Collector of the Year, twice in the last ten years. The first time he was the youngest person ever to receive the award. He was only fourteen.