LABRADOR WEST PI­O­NEER: AUSTIN DROVER

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Front Page - BY GARY SHAW

Austin Drover didn’t take the short route to Labrador like so many oth­ers who made their way to Labrador, from Up­per Is­land Cove on the is­land of New­found­land.

Austin de­cided he would leave his home area when he was 25 years old and made his way to the main­land.

He ended up in Toronto and rolled his sleeves up and gave it a go.

Work was fairly easy to find and he turned his hand to a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties.

As he punched his time he came to re­al­ize that Toronto and the Big Smoke wasn’t go­ing to work for him.

He re­turned to Up­per Is­land Cove where he weighed his op­tions on what would be next in his life. Tim­ing as many say, of­ten de­ter­mines your path in life, and as it hap­pened, the Iron Ore Com­pany of Canada was con­duct­ing a re­cruit­ment ef­fort in Austin’s area.

He de­cided to give Labrador and the min­ing in­dus­try a try.

He gave him­self a short tether and came to Labrador for an eight-week stint — that would be enough in his mind — to de­ter­mine if he would stay or not. He told of some peo­ple who came in on the flight as he had, and were on the re­turn flight home the next day. This time made his stint look like a pretty big ef­fort.

As the old say­ing goes, the rest was his­tory. It was July of 1975 and Austin has never left Labrador West.

He first lived in the trail­ers that were owned by IOC where Brace’s is presently lo­cated for the first year.

The work was good and his life was moved along. He mar­ried his wife Barb in Au­gust of 1976.

Dur­ing these early years there wasn’t any­where to go out­side of the com­mu­nity. Many nights were spent mak­ing the rounds at the lo­cal clubs en­joy­ing the so­cial time, the mu­sic and danc­ing, and of course a few games of darts.

Austin and Barb raised two sons who are both adults now. The boys grew up in Labrador West and are still here.

They both work in their Dad’s foot­steps for IOC.

They have also started their fam­i­lies and have four grand­chil­dren, all girls, who are a third gen­er­a­tion of this Drover fam­ily, liv­ing and en­joy­ing the Labrador West life­style that their par­ents and grand­par­ents are pass­ing on to them.

Austin and all of the young ones are out­door peo­ple and sports fans. Hockey, soft­ball, ski­ing, skate­board­ing were, and con­tinue to be, a reg­u­lar part of their lives.

Fam­ily fish­ing trips with a trip down the road with a big shore lunch have been en­joyed by the en­tire fam­ily from the early years un­til the present day.

Austin tells of car­ry­ing the boys on his back when they were too young to make some of the jour­neys on their own.

Austin punched a full ca­reer at IOC of 31 years.

He has been en­joy­ing a wellde­served re­tire­ment and has a cabin on the Esker Road that means a lot to him.

He is there reg­u­larly do­ing some fish­ing and hunt­ing some grouse.

He says the peace and quiet there is well worth the trip down the road to get there.

In the fi­nal anal­y­sis, Austin says that he has ab­so­lutely no re­grets in com­ing and end­ing up call­ing Labrador West his home.

He smiles and says it was the best eight weeks he could have ever spent.

GARY SHAW — SPE­CIAL TO THE AURORA

Austin Drover

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