All Aboard! Exploring the Newfoundland Railway

Interactive Map

Battle Harbour

Front of General Store, 2005.
Battle Harbour was a very important port of call for the coastal boats. Mercantile saltfish premises which were first established here on the south-eastern Labrador coast in the 1770s became the major base for the region's cod and seal fisheries. These activities helped to develop Battle Harbour into a thriving community that was known as the "Capital of Labrador." Ute Simon.
View of Battle Harbour, 2005, Ute Simon.

The local population increased rapidly after 1820 when Newfoundland fishing schooners adopted Battle Harbour as their primary port of call and made it the recognized capital of the Labrador's floater fishery. The "floater fishery" refers to migratory Newfoundland schooner fishermen who pursued a seasonal fishery in Labrador waters. After the fishing season concluded these fishermen returned to their permanent homes in Newfoundland.

Battle Harbour remained in the hands of Slade & Co. until 1871, and during this time became a settled community, dominated by the fish merchants, but with its own evolving institutions, especially schools and churches. In 1871 the Slades sold Battle Harbour to Baine, Johnston & Co., Ltd. who operated the site in much the same manner until 1955. Once the unofficial capital of the Labrador fishery, Battle Harbour was an important port of call for the S.S. Home and later the S.S. Kyle.

Dr. Wilfred Grenfell came to Battle Harbour in 1892 and built a hospital in the community, the first hospital in Labrador. Ute Simon.

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