Tag Archives: Portuguese

The Portuguese in Newfoundland

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

May 27, 1955

 

It is estimated that four to five thousand Portuguese Fishermen carried the Fatima statues through the streets of St. John's .

It is estimated that four to five thousand Portuguese Fishermen carried the Fatima statues through the streets of St. John’s .

One of the highlights of the 100th Anniversary celebrations of the Basilica – Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s in 1955 was a parade of four – five thousand Portuguese fishermen from the “White Fleet” who marched through the city of St. John’s on  May 27, 1955.

The fishermen walked in procession from the waterfront to the Basilica –Cathedral and presented a gift in the form of Our Lady of Fatima, comprising a group of nine statues, of poly chromed and gilt plaster.

The statues were presented to Archbishop Patrick J. Skinner of St. John’s, by Reverend Father J. A. Rosa, chaplain of the Portuguese fleet, on behalf of the officers and crews of the fleet, and the people of Portugal.   The grotto  where the statues were placed is located under the west gallery in the Basilica Cathedral.

Only two other pieces of public art celebrate the presence of the Portuguese in Newfoundlandand  and Labrador.

MiguelCorte Real Andrade visted the site of his ancestor last week.

MiguelCorte Real Andrade visted the site of his ancestor 2015.

The statue of  Gaspar Corte-Real Portuguese navigator – he reached Terra Nova (Newfoundland)  in the 15th century. This statue was unveiled on May 1965 in front of Confederation Building in St. John’s.  It was a gift from from the Portuguese Fisheries Organization as an expression of gratitude on behalf of the Portuguese Grand Banks fishermen for the friendly hospitality always extended to them by the people of Terra Nova.

Another installation of public art to celebrate the history of the Portuguese in Newfoundlandare the series of murals located on Duckworth Street.  (near the site of the  Sheraton Hotel) The murals depict scenes from towns in Portugal.

 

Portuguese Memorial, Mount Carmel Cemetery, St. John's.

Portuguese Memorial, Mount Carmel Cemetery, St. John’s.

The most recent memorial to the Portuguese fishermen is the unmarked grave of White Fleet Fisherman, Dionisio Esteves. He died during the 1966 fishing campaign while unloading his daily catch of codfish. He was crushed between his swamped dory and the steel hull of the fishing vessel. His grave site has come to symbolize all those Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing in Newfoundland waters. The memorial is located in Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Cemetery, St. John’s.

Recommended Archival Collection: What do we have in the ‘Rooms Archives’  on the Portuguese in Newfoundland. Type Portuguese in the search bar here: http://gencat1.eloquent-systems.com/webcat/request/DoMenuRequest?SystemName=The+Rooms+Public&UserName=wa+public&Password=&TemplateProcessID=6000_3355&bCachable=1&MenuName=The+Rooms+Archives

Recommended Reading: Port O’ Call, Memories of the Portuguese White Fleet in St. John’s, Newfoundland, by Priscilla Doel (Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, 1992).

Recommended Website:  Watch and listen as  the Portuguese carry the Fatima Statues to the Basilica Cathedral, on May 27, 1955.    http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/basilique-basilica/assets/year_of_joy.html

“An ocean horror that has come home, the SS Florizel”

ARCHIVAL MOMENT

February 23, 1918

500px-SS_florizel-722641The SS Florizel, set out amidst poor weather conditions on its regular route from St John’s, Newfoundland to New York City on February 23, 1918 under the command of captain William Martin.  By February 24th a storm had both diminished visibility and interfered with the ship’s equipment. With the crew confused and mistaken about the ship’s position, the Florizel struck a rock called Horn Head near Cappahayden on the Southern Shore.

Ninety-three  (93) crew and passengers perished, while 44 were miraculously rescued after 27 hours spent braving punishing seas and bitter cold.

Betty_MunnOne of the passengers on this ship was a three year old little girl named Betty Munn who was sailing with her father; she was torn from his arms in this disaster. In memory of her death there is a statue of Peter Pan (the fairy tale she loved most) in Bowring Park.

Fifteen members of the crew were young  Spanish  “firefighters”  or stokers responsible for feeding the engine furnace  with coal.  Eleven of their bodies were recovered and buried in the same plot in Mount Carmel Cemetery, St. John’s.  A memorial plaque stands over their grave.

The story remains etched in the family history of many families in Newfoundland. Craig Tucker on staff at The Rooms Provincial Archives wrote:

nicolles” My great-grandfather  (Leonard Nicholl)  was killed in the disaster, his body was never recovered. He was on his way to Halifax to work as a carpenter after the Halifax explosion. He left a wife and 5 sons with no support. The eldest was 10 at the time, and I guess he became the breadwinner.”

The task of preaching and bringing comfort to the families of those who had suffered the loss of loved ones fell to Archbishop Edward Patrick Roche of St. John’s who in a sermon at a memorial for the victims said:

“With the exception perhaps of the great Sealing Disaster of a few years ago [the SS Newfoundland, 1914], never has there been in our history — strewn as that history is with marine tragedies great and small — an ocean horror that has come home to us with such appalling force as the great disaster of the ‘Florizel’ which now throws its shadow over our city and our Island.”

The Marine Court of Enquiry into the Loss of the SS Florizel was established on 2 March 1918, on the recommendation of Governor Charles A. Harris. The Court was mandated to enquire into the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Florizel and the conduct of the master, crew and owners. James P. Blackwood was appointed commissioner. The report was made public on 29 May 1918.

The final verdict;  Martin failed to take soundings before changing course to round Cape Race. A sounding would have indicated that he was not in the proper location.

The vessel has a storied history; she participated in the rescue of sealers during the Great 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster and was also used as a transport vessel during the First World War. In October 1914 she carried the famous First 500 volunteers of the Newfoundland Regiment, the Blue Puttees, to Europe.

Recommended Archival Collection: Take some time to come to visit the Rooms Provincial Archives and explore GN 123 the seven volumes of typed transcripts, passenger lists, a list of the crew and passengers lost, manifests and customs clearance, the Florizel crew agreements and the report of the Minister of Marine and Fisheries regarding the wreck of the Florizel.

Recommended Reading:  A Winter’s Tale: The Wreck of the Florizel By Cassie Brown, Flanker Press, 1997.

Recommended Activity: Visit the statue of Peter in Bowring Park or the Spanish Memorial in Mount Carmel Cemetery and remember little Betty Munn and all of those who died on the SS Florizel.

The Old Port of St. John’s

Archival Moment

December 2015

A great Christmas present.

A great Christmas present.

More than 500 years in the making, St. John’s has become one of the most beautiful and incredible oceanside cities in the world.

The traditional hub of St. John’s was always the downtown and nowhere was it more active than in the port. In 2015, the Port of St. John’s marked the 50th anniversary of its establishment as a federally incorporated port.

In the fifty years since the port’s incorporation under the National Harbours Board of Canada, the Port of St. John’s has undergone remarkable change.

The gradual decline of various fisheries around the island saw the replacement of annual traditions with new ones. For years the port had hosted the arrival and departure of the spring seal fishery, which brought men from all over the island to the harbour-front in hopes of securing a berth at sea. Fishermen from all over the world relied upon the Port of St. John’s as the only safe haven in the North Atlantic, and many foreign sailors became intimately acquainted with the people and geography of St. John’s. In particular, the annual visit of the Portuguese White Fleet helped strengthen a special cultural relationship that is still nurtured today.

Within the past three decades, the port has managed to reinvent itself as a major base for the oil industry, a remarkable transformation for a port that credited its existence to the salt fish trade for five centuries. Today, the Port of St. John’s has reinvented itself into more than just a shipping terminal supplying the entire island, but also as a major oil supply base in the north Atlantic.

Given that the first paved road across the island was not completed until 1965, this port served as the only transportation link to the outside world for many Newfoundlanders.

 All of the digitized oral histories in the book have been donated to the Maritime History Archive (MHA). Pictured from left to right are Russ Carrigan, chairperson, board of directors, St. John’s Port Authority; Heather Wareham, archivist, MHA; Sean Hanrahan, president and CEO, SJPA; and Allan Byrne, editor, A Beautiful Sight.

All of the digitized oral histories in the book have been donated to the Maritime History Archive (MHA). Pictured from left to right are Russ Carrigan, chairperson, board of directors, St. John’s Port Authority; Heather Wareham, archivist, MHA; Sean Hanrahan, president and CEO, SJPA; and Allan Byrne, editor, A Beautiful Sight.

To mark the 50th Anniversary, the Port Authority has been looking back at their many accomplishments, tracing the changes that have taken place in this storied harbour. The result is a rich oral history project, edited by archivist Allan Byrne, now published as a collection of stories titled A Beautiful Sight: Stories from the Port of St. John’s. The thirteen informants interviewed range from politicians, port administrators and businessmen to fishermen, stevedores and harbour pilots.

The port of St. John’s is the birthplace of North America’s oldest and most beautiful city. It’s a great story.

Recommended Reading: A Beautiful Sight: Stories from the Port of St. John’s By: Allan Byrne,Flanker Press, St. John’s, NL September 2015

Recommended Web site: Please note that there are hundreds of incredible archival photographs of downtown St. John’s located at this site: http://www.abeautifulsight.ca/

St. John’s dressed for Christmas: Talking Shopping Downtown St. John’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnNQIJ4VUvI

Portuguese Ambassador to Unveil Memorial to White Fleet Fisherman

Portuguese Ambassador to Unveil Memorial to White Fleet Fisherman

October 6, 2015

13Bis_Marins13_marinsJose Moreira da Cunha, the Portuguese Ambassador to Canada will be in St. John’s on October 6 to unveil a memorial to Portuguese fisherman who died in Newfoundland waters in 1966.

In 2012 at the request of a Commanding Officer in the Portuguese Navy a search was initiated in St. John’ s to find the unmarked grave of Dionisio Candido Quintas Esteves, the 26 year old Portuguese fisherman who lost his life.

Using archival photographs and film, the unmarked grave was located in Mount Carmel Cemetery in St. John’s. Since the discovery of the grave, Portuguese Naval officials have hosted annually a wreath laying ceremony at the site to remember Esteves who has come to symbolize all of the Portuguese fishermen who have died prosecuting the fishery. Esteves was one of the thousands of Portuguese who plied Newfoundland waters as part of the crew of the Portuguese White Fleet. Esteves sailed on the celebrated Santa Maria Manuela.

The memorial was designed by the Portuguese artist Antonio Neves.

The memorial was designed by the Portuguese artist Antonio Neves.

Through the efforts of individuals in Newfoundland and in Portugal a monument has been designed that will be placed at the gravesite as a permanent memorial. The memorial was designed by the Portuguese artist Antonio Neves.

On Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 11:00 am at Mount Carmel Cemetery, (Kennas Hill – Logy Bay Road entrance) St. John’s the memorial will be officially unveiled at the grave of Portuguese fisherman.

The Most Reverend Martin Currie, Archbishop of St John’s, will officiate at the dedication.

The unveiling will be performed by His Excellency Jose Moreira da Cunha, Ambassador of Portugal in Canada. He will be assisted by a white fleet dory man who was a colleague of Esteves when he died on the SANTA MARIA MANUELA. Also assisting is a former crew member of the Hospital/Assistance Vessel GIL EANNES.

This short commemorative ceremony is open to the public.

Local businessman and author, Jean Pierre Andrieux has been spearheading the idea of creating and erecting the memorial that will serve to remember all Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing in Newfoundland waters.

For further information contact Jean Pierre Andrieux @ jpa@spmtours.com   or 753-7277.

Forgotten fisherman to be remembered

Archival Moment

August 15, 2014

Public invited to attend event.

Youth to participate

frota branca2The Commanding Officer of the Portuguese, Naval Ocean Patrol vessel, NRP Viana De Castello has confirmed that it will be docking in St. John’s on Friday, August 15th and the  crew will lay a memorial wreath in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, St. John’s at the unmarked grave of White Fleet fisherman, Dionisiv Esteves.

The wreath laying ceremony will take place on Friday morning, August 15 at 11:00 a.m. The short ceremony, will take place in Mount Carmel Cemetery located at Kennas Hill and the Boulevard.

Dionisiv Esteves, died during the 1966 fishing campaign while unloading his daily catch of codfish. He was crushed between his swamped dory and the steel hull of the fishing vessel Santa Maria Manuela. His unmarked grave site, which was discovered, (three years ago) has come to symbolize all those Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since the grave was discovered the daughter of Dionisiv Esteves has come forward to learn more about the father that she never met. His brother, Fernando Esteves has also come forward to make inquiries about the resting place of his brother.

Portuguese Grave 034This year Captain Teixeira of the Viana De Castello will be assigning 21 military personnel for the Mt Carmel wreath laying ceremony. For the first time thirteen Portuguese naval academy cadets will be present at the ceremony.

Jean Pierre Andrieux  said that “including the youth in the ceremony is an attempt to impress on them the long association of the people of Newfoundland with the ‘White Fleet.”

Immediately following this ceremony, a short visit to the Fatima Grotto at the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist will take place. The Statue of the Lady of Fatima was a gift to the people of St. John’s from the Portuguese White Fleet fishermen in 1955. This was traditionally the altar that the Portuguese fishermen of the ‘White Fleet’ prayed at before they left the port of St. John’s to return to the Grand banks and eventually home.

The Viana De Castello is part of a fisheries inspection mission in the NAFO zone off the Grand Banks. The vessel I will remain in port until August 17.

Commanding Officer Rui Teixeira invites the public to attend these ceremonies as well as an Open House on the vessel from 2 pm to 5 pm on Saturday. The vessel will be docked at Pier 8.

Local businessman and author, Jean Pierre Andrieux is spearheading a financial campaign to raise funds to erect a memorial at the grave site of Esteves that would also serve to remember all Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing in Newfoundland waters.

The wreath laying ceremony is open to the public. Those attending are encouraged to use the Kenna’s Hill entrance to the cemetery.

For further information contact Jean Pierre Andrieux @ jpa@spmtours.com or 753-7277 (home) or 687-6429 (cell).

The Portuguese White Fleet in St. John’s

Archival Moment

April 10 at 7:00 p.m.  (Presentation at The Rooms)

The Portuguese White Fleet in St. John’s

Photo Credit: A 34-28, Portuguese White Fleet, St. John's, NL

Photo Credit: A 34-28, Portuguese White Fleet, St. John’s, NL

Join local business man, Jean Pierre Andrieux at The Rooms as he shares a collection of images surrounding the Portuguese White Fleet in Newfoundland. From the evolution of the White Fleet to the end of an era, these images capture memories of three and four-masted ships moored two and three abreast in St. John’s Harbour, playing soccer on the waterfront, parades, decks piled high with wooden dories and so much more.

St. John’s became the primary port of call for the White Fleet, which fished for approximately six months of the year. When the ships made scheduled and unscheduled calls to replenish supplies, make repairs, provide shore leave, land sick or injured men or seek shelter from bad weather, the sailors and fishermen became a prominent part of St. John’s life.

The presentation is presented by Engaging Evenings at The RoomsTheatre, Wednesday, April 10 at 7pm.

Recommended Reading: Port O’ Call, Memories of the Portuguese White Fleet in St. John’s, Newfoundland, by Priscilla Doel (Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, 1992).

Recommended Website:  The White Fleet – Portuguese Fishermen on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zpMPmhPdWI