Canada's History


Men work to clear a log­jam on New­found­land’s Terra Nova River.

- Terra Nova · Ted Tally · Glovertown · Alexander Bay

This pho­to­graph shows men work­ing on a log­jam at the “Bench” on the Terra Nova River at Glover­town, New­found­land, in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I know that my dad, Nel­son Sparkes, was there, and I be­lieve one of the men is Max Black­wood, my dad’s right-hand man.

The logs and poles were cut up­river dur­ing the win­ter and were then hauled out by horse or, in later years, by trac­tor. In the high waters of the spring, they were floated some twelve to fif­teen kilo­me­tres down to the mouth of the river.

Us­ing pick poles and peaveys the men would grad­u­ally clear a jam and send the logs and poles on their way to the salt wa­ter of Alexan­der Bay, where they were cap­tured in a boom and even­tu­ally towed to the nearby sawmill for pro­cess­ing into lum­ber.

Some of the longer poles were used for build­ing wharves, and some went to min­ing com­pa­nies as pit props used to sup­port the roofs of tun­nels. White pine poles were some­times sold as schooner spars. Sub­mit­ted by R. Wayne Sparkes of Glover­town, N.L., the son of Nel­son Sparkes.

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