Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Exhibit Launch: The Sikh Society of Newfoundland


You are all invited to the opening of our new exhibit, The Sikh Society of Newfoundland.

Please join us at 7pm on August 31, 2016 to look at the history of Sikhism in Newfoundland.

For more information, please email lbmcocmuseum@gmail.com, call 726-5272, or find the event on facebook.

All are welcome!
Hope to see you there!




A Stroke In Time by Gerard Doran

Have you read A Stroke in Time by Gerard Doran?

Published by Flanker Press in 2015, this historical fiction looks at the 1901 Outer Cove Fishermen's Crew who rowed 9:13 4/5 in the championship race in that year's Regatta.

It is a wonderful reimagining of that historic race, looking at the work in getting a crew together, the struggles to fit rowing into a busy fishing schedule, and the hard work and dedication that rowers continue to commit when striving for those new records on Quidi Vidi Lake.

Perhaps one of the best parts of the book is just the day-to-day life in Outer Cove. The story starts, end, and every now and then touches on the price of fish and the ability to get a good price from the merchants. It discusses the difficulty in getting a berth on a sealing ship, and the poverty that used to be common in St. John's. It also looks at Dan McCathy's struggle, wondering if he should follow his fiancée to Boston where he could also work without worrying about the merchants and their prices for fish, or stay home because leaving his mother and brother is hard.
Picture of the 1901 crew taken in 1922. Source
And perhaps my interest leans that way, as I have never rowed. Working at the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum this year I have learned a great deal about the passion that goes hand-in-hand with rowing. Some crews would leave their vehicles at the museum before going to the lake, and after a good row, would run back from Quidi Vidi to the museum to visit and have some iced tea (I always made sure there was some ready on Saturday mornings). The excitement from a good practice was amazing to be around, and I would feel energized just being around the rowers. I doubt I'll ever row, but I have learned a great deal about rowing this past summer, and I will never look at the Royal St. John's Regatta the same way again. Even if I'm a townie, I'll be cheering for Outer Cove!

Back to the book, my only big complaints would be that the dialects seem to slip in and out of use. Perhaps that was on purpose. I certainly know who I'm around influences my dialect. As well, and I put this up to historical fiction liberties, there is a lot of focus on the Blue Peter, but the Outer Cove Crew rowed in the Myrtle for the Fishermen's Race and didn't row in the Blue Peter until that historic championship race.
Regatta program from 1927. Source

I recommend anyone with an interest in Newfoundland, and especially an interest in rowing, to read this book. And remember, we have lots of Regatta history here at the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum, so come visit and explore more of this part of our history.

Lisa
Museum Co-ordinator 2016

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

St. Francis of Assisi Grotto and O'Brien Park

In June, a visitor to the museum asked about the historical significance of the Grotto located at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Outer Cove. 

A picture of the Grotto located in the museum taken by Garland Studio [011.6.1]
The Grotto is located a little to the side of the church, and contain a statue of the Virgin Mary with a little girl and the pedestal reads:
THIS PEDESTAL HAS
BEEN ERRECTED TO
THE MEMORY OF
MAURICE O'BRINE
MICHAEL O'BRINE
JAMES O'BRINE
DAVID O'BRINE
MAURICE O'BRINE JR.
The Grotto at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.
According to Mrs. Mary Boland in an April 200 interview, Aunt Marg O'Brien lost four sons in World War II. Mike O'Brien was in the Merchant Marines; David was the youngest and was torpedoed while in the army; Jim was serving with the United States and Maurice also died. Aunt Marg was given the title of The Most Bereaved Mother.

More information can be found in downtown St. John's. At the base of Signal Hill is a monument dedicated to Margaret O'Brien nee Hickey and her sons.

A monument at the intersection of Signal Hill and Battery Road. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.
This monument is an anchor against a rock and a plaque that identifies it as O'Brien Park. Mrs. Boland said that Margaret O'Brien used to live in Outer Cove, but according to the park, her home with Mr. Maurice O'Brien was at the corner of Signal Hill and Battery Road. Four of Margaret O'Brien's sons were lost during the Second World War, and her husband passed away in 1942. This major loss resulted in her being given the title of "Most Bereaved Mother" for Newfoundland for the Second World War.

The plaque for O'Brien Park.
Research into this family was done by Gary Green of the Crow's Nest Officer's Club for a 2015 CBC article. According to his research, Maurice O'Brien Jr. died in December 1940 when the HMS Forfar sank while in convoy. Michael O'Brien also died in October 1942 when the S.S. Eastlea was torpedoed. David O'Brien died in October 1942 while working aboard the tug boat HMS Frisky, which worked in St. John's Harbour. The fourth brother, James O'Brien, remains a mystery. Mrs. Boland said he served with the United States, but could not remember if it was the army or the navy. No record of him could be found on their online database.
The monument at the base of Signal Hill. Photo by Lisa M. Daly.

According to the comments on the CBC article, Margaret O'Brien did have other children. In fact, she had three sons and three daughters besides the four that were lost. Two of those three sons served, and were honourably discharged.
O'Brien Park overlooking the harbour. Photo by Lisa M. Daly
Margaret herself lived well into her 80s. While alive, she was presented with a wreath at Remembrance Day ceremonies as fitting for her Most Bereaved title.

Sources

Boland, Martin
2016 Residents of the Town of Logy Bay Middle Cove Outer Cove who saw military service. On File at the LBMCOC Museum.

Boland, Mary
2000 Interview. Senior Interviews Transcript, on File at the LBMCOC Museum.

CBC News
2015 The Story Behind 'Newfoundland's Most Bereaved Mother of WWII'. CBC.ca, 11 November 2015 [last accessed 9 August 2016].












Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Museum Highlights: 1993 Regatta Ribbon

As it's Regatta Day tomorrow, another Royal St. John's Regatta post is in order. There are so many amazing Outer Cove teams to profile that we could not just pick one. Although it's very tempting to focus only on the 1901 and 1982 crew, we also have those who went to the Canada Games, the 1989 juvenile team, the 1991 Smith Stockley-Outer Cove team, or the current Outer Cove team who will be competing tomorrow (weather permitting). Instead, we decided to look at another museum artifact that is always part of the Regatta: a Regatta Ribbon donated by Michelle Hickey.
1993 Regatta Ribbon in the museum collection [997.15.4]

This particular ribbon is from 1993 and would have been worn by a member of the Regatta committee. The ribbon is traditionally done in the colours of the old Newfoundland flag. This one is a little faded, but the colours are pink, white and green. The style of the ribbon changes year after year, but the colours are typically represented.
If you look closely, you can see that the ribbons worn by the committee in 2003 were very similar to this one. Source

The second part of the ribbon contains the necessary race information. In this case, it is the 167th rowing, the Lieutenant Governor is Frederick W. Russell, and weather permitting, the Regatta was to take place on Wednesday, August 4th (it went ahead on that day). The program for the races is listed, including the race and time. The names of the boats and corresponding flag colours are also listed. It explains that the House Flags of winning boats will be hoisted, and the coxswains will wear jackets of corresponding colours. This allows for the committee members to easily identify each team throughout the day. The coxswains are also listed.
Necessary information for committee members is printed on this part of the ribbon. [997.15.4]

And for easy reference, the current records up to that year are printed on the ribbon. In this case it reads:
Record for the Full Course - 8:59:42 made by Smith Stockley-Outer Cove in 1991 rowing in the Good Luck
Record for the Women's Course - 5:08:34 made by OZ FM in 1990 rowing in the Blue Peter VI.

Finally, the remainder of the ribbon lists the Regatta president, honourary presidents, the St. John's Regatta committee and the list of officials for that Regatta (such as the judges, timekeepers, gunners, etc.).

1907 Regatta Committee members wearing their ribbons. From The Rooms [1.502.057]

These ribbons would typically be worn upside down. Looking closely at this one, there are faint holes at the bottom of the ribbon but none at the top, indicating that it was indeed worn upside down. This allows the wearer to turn the ribbon upward so that they can read the information, instead of having to take it off every time they wanted to  read it.

Tomorrow (weather permitting) see if you can spot the officials and take note of their Regatta Ribbons.
1906 Regatta Committee members wearing their ribbons. From The Rooms [1.502.064]

And because we are the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum, here are the highlights on how the Outer Cove Coldwell Banker team did on Wednesday, August 4, 1993. From the Royal St. John's Regatta website.


Men’s Amateur Race: Outer Cove Coldwell Banker – Dictator – 9:30.69
Cox: Gerard Doran Stroke: Jim Hibbs
David Kelly, Ray Cadigan, Steve Finney, Tony Cadigan, Darrin Hyde, Pat Power

Men’s Commercial Race: Outer Cove Coldwell Banker – Dictator – 10:08.08
Cox: Gerard Doran Stroke: Jim Hibbs
David Kelly, Ray Cadigan, Steve Finney, Tony Cadigan, Darrin Hyde, Pat Power

Men’s Championship Race: Outer Cove/Coldwell Banker – Dictator – 9:20.23
Cox: Gerard Doran Stroke: Jim Hibbs
David Kelly, Ray Cadigan, Steve Finney, Tony Cadigan, Darrin Hyde, Pat Power

Sources:
Canada's Digital Collection: The Royal St. John's Regatta website
Royal St. John's Regatta website