Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Our Life on Lear’s Room”

Greta Hussey, 89 years old, originally uploaded by eracose.

Greta Hussey of Port de Grave reading from her book “Our Life on Lear’s Room, Labrador” at the Bay Roberts Visitor Information Centre. The book has been relaunched by Garry Cranford of Flanker Press, St. John’s.  The Conception Bay North Region, including Port de Grave, Bay Roberts, Harbour Grace, and Carbonear, has an important history with the Labrador Fishery.


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SS Southern Cross

SS Southern Cross, originally uploaded by eracose.

The SS Southern Cross is a model boat designed and constructed by Gus Menchions of Bay Roberts.
The SS Southern Cross was commissioned as the whaler Pollux at Arendal, Norway in 1886. On December 19, 1898 Pollux made its first Antarctic expedition where it made marine history by breaking through the Great Ice barrier to the unexplored Ross Sea.
Pollux was sold to Baine Johnston and renamed SS Southern Cross upon transferring to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1901. Southern Cross participated in every seal hunt from 1901-1914.

1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster

The 1914 sealing fleet included both the SS Southern Cross and the SS Newfoundland (under Captain Westbury Kean). The fleet left St. John’s on March 13, 1914. SS Newfoundland lost 78 sealers from her crew when they were stranded on the ice for two nights. Just as the terrible news of the SS Newfoundland tragedy was reaching St. John’s, the SS Southern Cross fell out of normal communication. The people of Newfoundland remained hopeful that tragedy would not strike twice, as evidenced by the April 3 Evening Telegram newspaper article below:

Nothing has been heard of the Southern Cross since she was reported off Cape Pine on Tuesday last, and the general opinion is that she was driven far off to sea. Various reports were afloat in the city last night, one in particular that she had passed Cape Race yesterday afternoon, but upon making enquiries this and the other reports were unfortunately found to be untrue. At 5:30 yesterday the Anglo [Anglo-American Telegraph Co.] got in touch with Cape Race and learned that she had not passed the Cape neither was she at Trepassey. A message from Captain Connors of the Portia said she was not St. Mary’s Bay. A wireless message was sent by the government to the U.S. Patrol steamer Senaca, which is in the vicinity of Cape Race, asking her to search for the Cross. The S.S. Kyle will also leave tonight to make a diligent search for her and it is hoped that something will soon be heard from the overdue ship, as anxiety for her safety is increasing hourly. If she had been driven off to sea, which is the general opinion expressed by experienced seamen, it would take her some days to make land again. The ship is heavily laden and cannot steam at great speed. Evening Telegram, 3 April 1914

Unlike the tragedy of the Newfoundland’s crew, the disappearance of the Southern Cross remained largely unexplained as no crewmen or record of the voyage survived. While a marine court of enquiry determined that the ship sank in a blizzard on March 31, little evidence exists to verify this. Oral tradition suggests that rotten boards gave out in the heavy sea and allowed the cargo to shift and capsize the steamer. Though the wreck of the SS Southern Cross accounted for the greater human loss of the two shipwrecks, some historians argue that the emotional impact of the SS Newfoundland disaster was more intensely felt because of the horrific stories survivors were able to recount.

These two disasters together constitute what is referred to as the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. A total loss of 251 lives from a province with a population of approximately 250,000 devastated families and communities.

Rockwell Kent – Kent’s Cottage – Landfall in Brigus

Artist, writer and adventurer, Rockwell Kent resided in Brigus for a year and a half, during 1914-15, at Kent cottage, so he was living in Brigus at the time of the disaster. He describes the impact of the loss on Brigus, where many of the sealers from the Southern Cross had lived. “It will pretty well clear out this place,” said one resident of the ship’s loss. According to Kent “The dread of the loss of this steamer had passed almost to certainty and the mention of the house, the wife, the children, the hopes and ambitions of any of those on her became a tragedy.” You can visit Rockwell Kent’s home in Brigus today.

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Three Women

Three Women as Party Leaders in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Is the tremendous potential of women to advance society in creative, vital and energetic new ways being tapped for the first time in our history?  Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the few places on earth where women are running all three major political parties.  I would like to see a public event where these three women have an opportunity to speak, explaining  their goals as leaders.

Kathy Dunderdale - Will be 10th Premier

Kathy Dunderdale - Will be 10th Premier

In the past, many women politicians have mirrored the attitudes and policies of their male counterparts to achieve success in “a man’s world.”  They have attacked and crashed the male-dominated political environment of confrontation, harsh competition, and closed male-networks.  The prime example would be Margaret Thatcher

Critical Mass

Yvonne Jones - Opposition Leader

Yvonne Jones - Opposition Leader

In our province, we have reached a “Critical Mass” of female participation at the highest level of political parties.  Will these   women be able make any significant changes to the conduct of politics?

Traditional Women’s Attributes

Traditional women’s roles require them to have tremendous skills in time-management, in people management, and in developing workable solutions to problems.  Will these women attempt to make politics about issues, valid differences of opinions, seeking the best solution, rather than posturing, following the party line, confrontation, and name-calling?

Lorraine Michael - Leader NDP

Lorraine Michael - Leader NDP

Stands on Issues of Concern to Women

What are the stands of these women on issues of great concern to women?  Studies have shown that women place priority on policies related to women’s traditional roles as caregivers in society, including: health care, children and the family, education, environment, housing and the elderly.  Will they bring more focus to those issues, and more importantly, what are their priorities?  Have they examined the economic policy process from a women’s perspective? Will they encourage more women to become entrepreneurs and to assume leadership roles in business and their communities?

Please Ladies – Make a Change!

If these women meet the potential of the moment, they can achieve a great deal.  They can bring civility and cooperation back to our political system.  Disagreeing on the fundamentals of policy, does not mean that people have to be disagreeable.  They can rationally delineate their policies, explaining their political stands on issues.  They can cooperate for the good of the province where possible. And just as importantly, they can become role models to younger women, encouraging the full and equal participation of women in business, political, civil, economic, social, and cultural life.

Please ladies, try.  We are counting on you.


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Muddy Hole

Muddy Hole, originally uploaded by eracose.

Muddy Hole is part of the Shearstown Estuary. The road to Muddy Hole is found off the Conception Bay Highway, on the beach between Bay Roberts and Spaniard’s Bay, closer to the Spaniard’s Bay side. It is near the mouth of the Shearstown River where it crosses the road to join Spaniard’s Bay Harbour. An osprey platform has been placed there by the Joint Management Committee. Many grasses, wildflowers, birds, and fish can be found in the area.

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Madrock – Bay Roberts East Shoreline Heritage Walk

Madrock is located at the tip of the Bay Roberts Peninsula on the Shoreline Heritage Walk. At Madrock, the many moods of the true Atlantic coast are experienced including: soft mists, warm sunlight reflecting on still waters, or full-blown Atlantic storms with its massive breakers exploding against the rocks. The reason for the name “madrock” becomes clear to anyone who experiences the surf pounding the shore.

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The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters

Originally uploaded by eracose

The Three Sisters is a rock formation on the Bay Roberts East Shoreline Heritage Walk. The beach is located close to the access point to Juggler’s Cove, near the Madrock Cafe.

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Candlemas Day or Groundhog Day

In Newfoundland, February 2nd has traditionally been called Candlemas Day, a custom that was brought from the UK with our early ancestors.  Because we live on an island, we do not have a number of animals common to much of North America, including groundhogs, so we have always used a verse to predict the weather.

Candlemas Day Verse

“If Candlemas Day be clear and fine, the rest of winter is left behind;

If Candlemas Day be rough and glum, there’s more of winter left to come”

Cupids Harbour.

Cupids Harbour - Feb 2, 2010

Groundhog Day Prediction

Interestingly, that is the exact opposite of the belief about Groundhog Day. If a groundhog sees his shadow on Groundhog Day (a clear and fine day), he’ll flee to his burrow, heralding six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t (rough and glum), it means an early spring.

According to Wikipedia, “the groundhog predictions to have a success rate of more like 37 per cent.” Perhaps that it is because it should be the other way around!

Bay Roberts Harbour from the Klondyke Causeway.

Bay Roberts Harbour, Feb. 2, 2010

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Filed under Newfoundland and Labrador, Uncategorized, Weather