Oil Museum looking for stories from foreign drillers


Darwin Hussey introduces himself to the new research assistant at the Oil Museum of Canada before being interviewed by author Gary May about his family’s time as foreign drillers.


Darwin Hussey wants to make sure his father and his grandfather’s colourful history isn’t lost.

The Petrolia man is one of the first people to be interviewed as part of the Foreign Driller’s Virtual Exhibit. The Oil Museum of Canada is working with Author Gary May on collecting family stories about the men who went around the world to open oil fields.

May, who has written several books about Petrolia’s oil history, is research a new book on foreign drillers. “We though we were both collecting information and we’re both interviewing people so we thought we could do a joint interview,” says Connie Bell who is the supervisor at the Oil Museum.

May had talked to Hussey before and knew some of his family’s history and thought he would be a good person to interview. Hussey’s grandfather was a foreign driller who worked in Texas and Mexico. His father followed in his dad’s footsteps, spending much of his life overseas in places such as India, California, Ottawa and Trinidad.

“As soon as he heard a steam whistle in the harbour, he was gone,” says Hussey.

Dad later convinced Darwin to join the family adventure and he too worked in Trinidad and later in Western Canada before settling in Petrolia.

Bell says stories like Hussey’s are invaluable. And she hopes many more people with stories of foreign drillers in the family will contact the museum for the project. “It all ties together no matter how small the details.”

The virtual exhibit is set to launch in the spring.