‘Dis­gust­ing, sense­less and be­yond dis­ap­point­ing!’

The Compass - - OPINION -

cess­ful whalers of all time. Ge­orge con­tin­ued the hunt un­til a ban on whal­ing was is­sued in 1972.

The his­tory of th­ese men, made dur­ing a time when whal­ing was a flour­ish­ing oc­cu­pa­tion in the prov­ince, is dis­played in show­cases at the mu­seum. Most of the ex­hibits are sur­rounded by whale­bones and teeth.The tools and in­for­ma­tion on Cap­tain Ge­orge were do­nated to the mu­seum by his son Vaughn Ge­orge.

The mu­seum also con­tains nu­mer­ous ar­row tips and axe heads used by the Beothuk In­di­ans. The ar­ti­facts were un­cov­ered from ar­chae­ol­ogy sites on Dildo Is­land and Rus­sell’s Point.

A six-day-old fe­tus of a hump­back whale, photo of a two headed whale calf, scores of hunt­ing tools and a 50 mm har­poon gun are also dis­played and hun­dreds of pho­tos, doc­u­ments and news­pa­per clip­pings line the walls.

“The ar­ti­facts here are very valu­able be­cause they pre­serve the rich her­itage of the area,” says Reid. “It would be a shame if any­thing hap­pened to them and just as big a shame if they couldn’t be shared with vis­i­tors.”

If the mu­seum doesn’t open dur­ing the up­com­ing tourist sea­son it will mean the loss of at least two sum­mer jobs.

“We’ve em­ployed at least two stu­dents dur­ing the past nine sum­mers,” says Reid. “But that may not hap­pen this year, ev­ery­thing is up in the air right now.”

Other mem­bers of the mu­seum com­mit­tee in­clude John Wood­man, act­ing pres­i­dent; Steve Blake, vice pres­i­dent; Calvin Reid and Vaughn Ge­orge.

If the mu­seum is to re­main open more vol­un­teers are needed.

“We re­ally need more sup­port from the com­mu­ni­ties and we need more com­mit­tee mem­bers,” says Reid.“This fa­cil­ity is an im­por­tant part of our lo­cal his­tory.”

Pla­cen­tia Whit­bourne District RCMP are hop­ing a tip from the pub­lic will lead them to the cul­prit or cul­prits re­spon­si­ble for van­dal­iz­ing the mu­seum.

“It’s likely some­one from the gen­eral pub­lic knows who is do­ing this,” says Sergeant Boyd Mer­rill.“If they do not want to call the RCMP and use their names then they can al­ways call Crime Stop­pers, but it’s im­por­tant that they re­port what they know.This is a won­der­ful lit­tle mu­seum and many peo­ple are quite proud of it, but it has been plagued by on­go­ing van­dal­ism.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mer­rill crimes such as van­dal­ism are solved more quickly when the com­mu­nity gets in­volved. When that doesn’t hap­pen, the crooks get bolder and the prob­lem gets big­ger.

“When peo­ple quit car­ing about van­dal­ism to busi­nesses and pub­lic build­ings then the is­sue soon spreads to homes,” he con­cludes.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to call the RCMP or Crime Stop­pers at 1-800-222-8477.

Photo cour­tesy of Linda Reid

DAM­AGED - The RCMP and mem­bers of the Whal­ing and Seal­ing Mu­seum in South Dildo are hop­ing some­one from the pub­lic will help them catch the per­son or per­sons re­spon­si­ble for van­dal­iz­ing the mu­seum.

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