Showing posts with label Hant's Harbour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hant's Harbour. Show all posts

Monday, November 22, 2021

Some photos from the Hant's Harbour Post Office (and revisiting an interview with the postmaster)

Heritage NL was in Hant's Harbour last week, and we had a quick look at the old post office/telegraph office. This small building has an intriguing history, but the elements have not been kind to it lately. Dale Jarvis took the opportunity to take a few photos, which you can see below.

For more on the building, you can see an adaptive reuse study we did in 2020: 

or you can listen to our interview with telegrapher and former postmaster, Clarence Snook:

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Living Heritage Podcast Ep163 Clarence Snook, Hant's Harbour Telegrapher and Postmaster

Mr. Clarence Snook was born in Hant’s Harbour on Hallowe'en Day, October 31, 1926.  He was an only child, the son of Alfred and Hazel Snook. As a boy, he was interested in Morse telegraphy, and studied under an ex-school teacher over one winter to learn the skill. The following spring, when postmistress Miss Melina Critch took ill, he was asked if he could fill in. “Well I’ll try to get along with it,” he said, and he did, for 11 years.

In this episode, we talk about his memories of the Hant's Harbour Post Office, his work as a telegrapher, and his time as an RCAF aircraft spotter during the Second World War.

This past summer, intern Patrick Handrigan worked on some drawings and a report for some possible adaptive reuses for the old Hant's Harbour Post Office (see mockup photo below). You can look at Patrick's report here.


The Living Heritage Podcast is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio. Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Remembering the Hant's Harbour Post and Telegraph Office, an interview with Clarence Snook.

On 10 June 2019, Dale Jarvsi sat down for a chat with Mr Clarence Snook, of Hant’s Harbour, NL, at his apartment at the Admiral's Coast Retirement Centre, Conception Bay South. Now in his 90s, Mr Snook had been the telegraph operator and postmaster in Hant's Harbour for 11 years,  starting before the end of the second World War. This is his story of how he got started and of the women who trained him in. 

Well the lady retired through illness and I had been interested in telegraph, in Morse telegraphy at the time. I was training through another lady, an ex-school teacher over there who also was a postmistress at one time. She was proficient in Morse code, so I went through all one winter and trained under her to learn the Morse telegraphy.

So the following spring, the lady there, Miss Melina Critch, she had been there for many years and her health broke down, and the secretary of... telegraphs – who was the Newfoundland government at that time – called, and wondered if I could struggle through with it even though I hadn’t been officially in the office but I had been trained.

So I said, “Well I’ll try to get along with it,” and I did, and I was there for 11 years, just about 11 years.

I’d just finished high school. I suppose I was probably 18? I had trained in telegraphy independent of the post office that winter. I was attending classes for this lady who’d – I don’t know where she came from, somewhere from out in the community – and I knew that she was proficient in telegraphy. And by arrangement with her schedule I used to go there nights, and eventually I became I suppose proficient in the Morse code.

I was there all long winter, you know, spasmodic right? I didn’t go there every night now but pretty well I’d be there three or four times a week, you know? And it went over very well. She was good as a teacher. And then of course I went over – when Miss Critch [left] – she must’ve been there for I’d say 25 or 30 years.

She was what I would term almost a Florence Nightingale of the community. In those days everybody were letter-writers, and if there was somebody who couldn’t express themselves very well in a letter, they’d go to Melina, Miss Melina, and ask her to write the letter.

She spent hours and weeks I suppose that she never got paid for, nor did she charge for. She was just an angel; that’s the way to put it. She was the nerve centre of the community. In those days were only two radios, not short-wave but long-wave radios, in the community, and she would have to take the news, so-called, and like this time of the year when the sealing ships were out there, the Imogene and the Kyle, etc., etc., they would report back and she would record this in long foolscap books and hand-write it, believe it or not.

This was for the information of the public, to go to the public of the post office and read this. That was the news centre.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Remembering the Hant's Harbour Post and Telegraph Office

One of the projects Heritage NL has been working on involves the old one-room post office building in Hant's Harbour, Trinity Bay (shown above).

Earlier this week, I sat down for a chat with 93-year-old Clarence Snook, the former postmaster and telegraph operator who worked out of this building in the 1940s and '50s.

When I arrived, Mr. Snook had written out some of his memories for me, which you can read here in pdf format.

If you have a memory of the old Hant's Harbour post office, send me an email at Or, even better, send me a postcard at PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5!

- Dale Jarvis

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Building Heritage Together: Heart’s Content to Hant’s Harbour Heritage Area

Public event in Winterton.
On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 Dale, Jerry, and I traveled to Winterton to host a workshop on regional corporation.  We also had several students from Memorial University's Folklore Department who came out and took notes for the session. There were over 40 people in attendance from various museums, heritage committees, town councilor, and residents from Heart's Content, New Perlican, Winterton, and Hant's Harbour. The communities are interested in working together to promote their heritage.

Folklorist Dale Jarvis listening to the conversation at one of the tables.
We discussed the success factors which come from working together and listed some of the resources the differing groups would be able to share. The different groups also listed some of the heritage assets in their communities which ranged from museums to fishing stages, from cemeteries to trails. It also included traditional skills such as rug hooking, dancing, knitting, blacksmithing, fishing, sawmilling, etc. The towns decided to form a regional committee and will meet before Christmas. Stay tuned for a report from the meeting. 

Katie presents her table's thoughts on how the communities should move forward.
If you are interested to in setting up a heritage workshop in your community reach out to Dale Jarvis at or call 1-888-739-1892 ex. 2.

Monday, February 19, 2018

#CollectiveMemories Monday - Stories of Hant's Harbour with Lester Mitchell and Gordon Rogers

Stages on rock in Hant's Harbour. 1993.
Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation slide collection. # 017.19.025.
Photo courtesy of Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative.
As part of the Collective Memories project the ICH office is showcasing community material which has been placed on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. Check out this interview which is part of a series of filmed oral histories, collected in 2005 by the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation, from over 40 elders who grew up in the area. The Baccalieu Trail HeritageCorporation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and protecting the heritage of the Baccalieu Trail Region. This project includes memories of living and working in the area, going to school, children’s games, home remedies, the first modes of transportation, supernatural beliefs, traditional industries and calendar customs and celebrations. This interview is with Lester Mitchell and Gordon Rogers of Hant's Harbour, NL. The interviewer is Linda Cooper. The camera was operated by Linda Reid. The video was edited by Mike Ryan and Darrell Barrett.

The ICH office is helping communities place previously recorded materials online. If your community has material you would like to make publicly accessible reach out to the Heritage Foundation at 1-888-739-1892 ex.2 or

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Custard Head Fishing Premises Before and After. Hant's Harbour, 1995. #Folklorephoto

In looking through images I recently scanned at the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation, there are many buildings that were on the verge of demolition. The 35mm slides taken from 1993-1996 include many boarded up homes, stores, stages, and sheds that are no longer part of the Baccalieu Trail landscape. This building in Hant's Harbour is an exception.

In 1999 the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador designated the Custard Head Fishing Premises as a Registered Heritage Structure. Built by Joseph Francis in 1909, it is a perfect example of traditional, vernacular outbuilding construction.

To see what the fishing premises looks like today, and read more about the structure, visit the Heritage Foundation website.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Looking for Newfoundland descendants of men lost in 1835 shipwreck

Does your family tree include the names Breddy, Kelson, Heytor, Miller, Sheppard, Stevenson or Swyers? Do you have roots in Trinity, Trinity Bay? Then the Willow Tree Heritage Society may be looking for you!

August 16, 2014 the Willow Tree Heritage Society of Hant's Harbour will be unveiling a plaque in memory of the seven crew members who were lost on the ship “Fanny” which was shipwrecked near Hant's Harbour in December 1835.

Read about the wreck here

The “Fanny” and crew were from Trinity, and included:
  • Skipper Ben Breddy,
  • William Kelson,Jr. (Owner)
  • John Heyter
  • Jonathan Miller
  • John Sheppard
  • John Stevenson
  • James Swyers
It is the hope of the Willow Tree Heritage Society that there may be descendants of the crew living in the province, and they would love to invite them to the official unveiling of the plaque on August 16th. If you or someone you know might be related to the crew of the “Fanny” contact Gertie Pelley at (709) 586-2355.