North Highlands Community Museum
Dingwall, Nova Scotia

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Cape Breton's North Highlands: An Enduring Community

 

 

Lobster Factories

St. Paul's Island

In the early 1900's, Nevilles had a factory on St. Paul's Island at the Petrie's Cove on the North-West side of the Island. There was a brook running from Ethel Lake and the factory was located near this brook. This factory operated for three years.

Mr. Jack Corbett worked at this factory and he recalls several of the crew who worked at the factory. They were Donald and Charles MacDonald, Bay Road Valley, Jessie Brown, Dingwall, several of Josey Gwinn's Daughters, Pete MacLellan, Abbie Corbett, Dingwall. Mr. Corbett is now 91 years of age. His wages were $18.00 per month.

The crew was taken out on a large vessel, The Argosy, a fishing vessel from Lunenburg. They went out the first of May and came in the middle of July. The boat carried supplies and coal in bags for fuel for the factory. They landed the supplies in Campbells Cove. Mr. John Campbell was governor of the Island at this time - 1904. The boss at the factory was George Hemingay of Halifax.

The lobsters were very large and plentiful. K.P. MacRae and Dodie Fitzgerald were high-line lobster fisherman that year. The fishermen received one and a half cents per pound for their lobsters. The lobsters were cooked until the legs pulled out easily, and then they were shelled and packed in pound cans. They were removed from the hot water and punched to allow the steam to escape and then resoldered again. The cans were polished by the women and packed in cases. They were picked up by a government boat and taken to Halifax. They were shipped from there to England which was the chief market. When the lobster season was over, Mr. Corbett and K.P. MacRae rowed back to Dingwall, a distance of 21 miles.

 

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