Trixie Boutillier

Hello, I'm Trixie Boutilliers. I grew up on Sable. My father was superintendent of the lifesaving station from 1885 to 1912. I was only 5 years old when we came. I'd like to tell you what it was like to live there.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


For years we had only the steamer to bring us mail and news of the world. My sister Berna died while working in Boston and it was 6 weeks before we heard. Father tried using carrier pigeons to take messages to Halifax, but it just didn’t work.
For years we had only the steamer to bring us mail and news of the world. My sister Berna died while working in Boston and it was 6 weeks before we heard. Father tried using carrier pigeons to take messages to Halifax, but it just didn’t work.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Steamer

Steamer

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Mail delivery by airplane

Mail delivery by airplane.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


We used flags, flares and cannons to communicate with ships. There was a flagstaff at each lifesaving station. Each flag meant something different and you could put them together to make a message.
We used flags, flares and cannons to communicate with ships. There was a flagstaff at each lifesaving station. Each flag meant something different and you could put them together to make a message.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Alphabetical flags

Alphabetical flags.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Numeral pendants

Numeral pennants.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


In 1875 we got telephones, but they were only for talking among the lifesaving stations. We couldn’t talk to the mainland. Alexander Graham Bell himself came out to visit and he gave me my first camera.

We got a telegraph station on the island in 1905. My brother Dick and I both learned how to send messages in morse code.

The dots are for short taps, the dashes for long taps.
In 1875 we got telephones, but they were only for talking among the lifesaving stations. We couldn’t talk to the mainland. Alexander Graham Bell himself came out to visit and he gave me my first camera.

We got a telegraph station on the island in 1905. My brother Dick and I both learned how to send messages in morse code.

The dots are for short taps, the dashes for long taps.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Morse code machine

Morse code machine.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Morse Code
A . _
B _ . . .
C _ . _ .
D _ . .
E .
F . . _ .
G _ _ .
H . . . .
I . .
J . _ _ _
K _ . _
L . _ . .
M _ _
N _ .
O _ _ _
P . _ _ .
Q _ _ . _
R . _ .
S . . .
T _
U . . _
V . . . _
W . _ _
X _ . . _
Y _ . _ _
Z _ _ . .
Morse Code
A . _
B _ . . .
C _ . _ .
D _ . .
E .
F . . _ .
G _ _ .
H . . . .
I . .
J . _ _ _
K _ . _
L . _ . .
M _ _
N _ .
O _ _ _
P . _ _ .
Q _ _ . _
R . _ .
S . . .
T _
U . . _
V . . . _
W . _ _
X _ . . _
Y _ . _ _
Z _ _ . .

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Try to send a Morse code message, Play the morse code game.
Try to send a Morse code message, Play the morse code game.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved

Morse Code

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Sable Island Preservation Trust, Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic,

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the ways people on Sable Island kept in touch with the outside world throughout history
  • Describe the historic role of technology in communication
  • Identify Morse code and explain its historic function

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