All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Railway / Coastal History

Railway/Coastal Boat Service

Aiden Maloney - Coastal Boats at the Wharf

Aiden Maloney: Talking about what it was like when the coastal boats came into the wharf.

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Length: 3:59 Min
File Size: 865 MB

Yes, I am pleased to relate to you, my recollections, my reminisces, my memory of the Newfoundland railway boats from the late 1920s and the 30s from my home, which was Kings Cove in Bonavista Bay. A small community of about 500 people maximum. And what I say about Kings Cove I think is probably a reflection of what was taking place between the coastal service and the people of the community in about several hundred communities around Newfoundland. At that time, there may have been as many as a thousand small communities around the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

So my immediate reflection of the Newfoundland railway, of course, is - the - its appearance in our lives - once - at least once a week, from the middle of May until the end of December. When the Coastal boat came on regular a bases bringing passengers - bringing the things that we needed from St. John's and elsewhere. Bringing the mail which was important. Bringing us newspapers and - but outstanding among all that was the appearance of new faces - which the - which the railway boats brought in their passengers.

We had by virtue of the fact that Kings Cove was isolated because of the- there was no railway and the roads were not plowed in the wintertime. The railway boat was our first contact in mid-may with the outside world. And then from, of course, from December until - mid - late December until mid-May we were -in essence - looking - just looking at each other in the community. And the arrival of the coastal boat brought a whole number of new faces, sometimes a lot of passengers, sometimes people moving to other communities or moving to Labrador. And it was customary for the - local - the locals in the community to gather at the wharf where the coastal boat arrived and to stay there and observe the passengers as they came ashore for a walk. And - to -, that - probably last - would last about an hour. But most of the people who were free to move, and most of them were, took in this social occasion. Very little conversation except a polite, good day or a comment on the weather, or that sort of thing. And - a - but it was generally mainly to see new people, and to wonder what they were doing, where were they going, they were all new mysterious characters who entered our lives.

That is one recollection that I have, a very strong one, of course as I say, I think I speak for most of the people who are of my age, which at the time I was in my teens, It would apply to most areas in Newfoundland.