Lo­cal land­mark tar­geted by van­dals

Whale bones used to break win­dow in mu­seum

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY DENISE PIKE

Van­dals have prob­a­bly sealed the fate of the Whal­ing and Seal­ing Mu­seum in South Dildo. The build­ing, lo­cated on the main road in South Dildo, had win­dows smashed out some­time late Sun­day night March 22 or early Mon­day morn­ing March 23.

“Who­ever did it, climbed up on a pic­nic ta­ble and took a whale bone and used it to beat two panes of glass out of one of the big win­dows in the front of the build­ing,” says Hilda Reid, sec­re­tary/ trea­surer of the mu­seum.“This has re­ally put us in a hard spot. We’re a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that ex­ists on pub­lic do­na­tions and a few her­itage grants and we hon­estly don’t know if we can af­ford to re­place the win­dow. If we can’t, then this year the mu­seum won’t open.”

It isn’t the first time the build­ing has been hit by van­dals. Over the past few months the door­knob on the main door was beat off, safety handrails torn down and the glass to the me­ter socket box bro­ken and then hauled off the build­ing.

“They broke the glass to the me­ter box first and then came back later and just yanked it com­pletely off the build­ing,” says Reid.“They were pretty bold and brazen about it. It’s a won­der they weren’t elec­tro­cuted. It’s dis­gust­ing, sense­less and be­yond dis­ap­point­ing! “

Ac­cord­ing to Reid, van­dal­ism in the area is on the in­crease. Some­one re­cently shot the street­light, next to her house, with a pel­let gun and one of the win­dows in her neigh­bour’s house was bro­ken.

“It all takes place be­tween the late night and early morn­ing hours be­cause I guess the per­son do­ing it knows there’s a good chance they won’t be seen then,” says Reid.“The RCMP have been called each time, but no one has been charged and there doesn’t seem to be much mov­ing on it. Even­tu­ally the per­son or peo­ple do­ing this will be caught. They’re go­ing to get what’ s com­ing to them, but for now it’s re­ally frus­trat­ing be­cause they are forc­ing us to con­sider clos­ing. I re­ally don’t know if it is worth the ef­fort any­more.”

Ac­cord­ing to Reid the Whal­ing and Seal­ing Mu­seum is a lo­cal land­mark.

“It opened in 1984 and houses hun­dreds of valu­able ar­ti­facts, doc­u­ments and pho­tos of the in­dus­tries when they were in full swing in the area,” she says.

“For­tu­nately none of the ar­ti­facts have been dam­aged yet, but as far as I am con­cerned, it’s only a mat- ter of time be­fore that hap­pens.”

Many of the ar­ti­facts at the mu­seum are tools of trade once used by lo­cal whalers like Iver Iver­son, Henry Mahle and Clarence Ge­orge, all de­ceased. Cap­tain Iver Iver­son, a na­tive of Nor­way, found him­self stranded in New­found­land dur­ing the war. While trav­el­ling the prov­ince he rec­og­nized the po­ten­tial for whal­ing in Trin­ity Bay and in 1947 opened a whal­ing op­er­a­tion in the area.

Cap­tain Henry Mahle, also of Nor­way, set­tled in South Dildo and worked as a whal­ing cap­tain for the du­ra­tion of the whal­ing era.

Cap­tain Clarence Ge­orge, born and raised in Dildo, was known in the area as one of the most suc-

Denise Pike/The Com­pass

ON­GO­ING VAN­DAL­ISM - Over the past few months the Whal­ing and Seal­ing Mu­seum in South Dildo has been plagued by van­dal­ism. The lat­est in­ci­dent occurred some­time late Sun­day night March 22 or early Mon­day morn­ing March 23. The cul­prit climbed up on a pic­nic ta­ble and used a whale bone to beat two panes of glass out of one of the win­dows in the front of the build­ing.

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