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.

Re­viv­ing 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.

Promis­ing town

“ 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.

Seek­ing fund­ing

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.

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