Lost in time
Whiteway forms heritage society
History buffs in Whiteway have already started the daunting task of recovering their town’s colourful past since forming the Whiteway Heritage Society last month.
The moving force behind the organization is Whiteway native and retired schoolteacher, Albert Legge.
“It was always in the back of my mind,” he said recently. “Most towns have their heritage society, so I thought it would be a good idea.”
Legge chatted with Mayor Craig Whalen, then contacted other people who were also interested in the town’s heritage.
The establishment of a heritage society immediately resonated with Wayne George, also of Whiteway. A retired provincial civil servant, he operates Shag Rock Arts and Crafts and is a landscape artist.
He saw it as an opportunity to “ help us restore our heritage that’s lost and that we need to bring alive again,” he said.
Seven people showed up for the organizational meeting on June 9. Most of them were descendants of the town’s founding families, such as Rose, Brown, Legge, Welsh, Drover, George, Harnum, Pottle, Walker, Burgess, Jackson and Roberts.
According to the minutes, “Everyone showed lots of interest and enthusiasm in getting our committee off on the right track.”
A slate of officers was elected to serve the society in its first year of operation.
Member Heather Jackson is a councilor and serves as liaison between the town and society.
The executive decided on several activities to be pursued at future meetings, from designing a logo to compiling a history of Whiteway.
“ This was a very promising town at one time,” George said. Fishing, lumbering and merchants were its mainstays, Legge added.
George recalled as a child helping a fisher- man, Tom Roberts: “if it rained, we were given orders, ‘Run and take the fish in because Tommy’s fish is going to get wet.’ We’d drop everything and run for his flakes.”
George would like to see flakes and other historical markers “restored to credibility (so) we can visualize it in pictures, if nothing else,” he said.
Other ideas will be added following consultation with similar heritage groups elsewhere.
As a follow-up to the meeting, the executive contacted Trinity-Bay de Verde MHA Charlene Johnson and Avalon MP Scott Andrews about the availability of start-up funds.
Financial help will also be sought from other agencies to hire a person to handle society projects.
With an eye to Whiteway’s come home year in 2012, the executive discussed improving a local landmark, the Burgess Fishing Property, among other sites.
George would like to see old woods paths and trails identified. Legge sees the need for an oral history project, along with a photograph, artifact and document collection.
George stressed the role of young people in helping unearth the town’s heritage, letting them “ know what went on in Whiteway, right up to the present day,” he said.
“ The only way to bring back that which is lost is what we’re doing here,” he added.