Welcome to historic-wabana.com. This website celebrates the heritage and culture of Bell Island, Newfoundland, Canada, with particular emphasis on the Wabana iron-ore mining operation. Hover your cursor along the menu at the top to see drop-down menus. There you will find topics such as the History of the mining operation, the various types of Company Housing; short biographies of People who have contributed to the life of Bell Island; a Photo Gallery of collections of photographs; photos and descriptions of Monuments & Murals; and a variety of stories, histories, timelines and poems in the Extras page. You can also read full issues of the Submarine Miner, the monthly magazine published by DOSCO between 1954 and 1959. The site will be undergoing construction on an ongoing basis, with pictures and descriptions being added and edited continuously. This website is my second venture into disseminating the story of the Wabana Mines. The first was my book, The Miners of Wabana, first published in 1989:
The Miners of Wabana, Breakwater Books, 2006, is still available in paperback and can be purchased at the Bell Island Community Museum gift shop and at Amazon.ca.
The Miners of Wabana, by Gail (Hussey) Weir, describes in vivid detail the working lives of the Wabana miners as told in their own words. Their stories reveal their individual histories, challenges, resourcefulness, hopes, fears, superstitions, camaraderie and wonderful sense of humour. This book explores the conditions in the mines, the inevitable tragedies, what it was like working with the mine horses and alongside the ever-present rats. There are tales of ghosts, fairies and heroes. It also tells the history of the mines and the companies that ran them, the workers' unions, strikes, ferry and ore-boat sinkings in the Tickle, the eventual shut down of the mines, and the effect on the people of Bell Island.
This 2006 edition is an update of the original 1989 edition. It features a summary of many of the literary and artistic works that have been produced since the mines closed in 1966, including the Murals Project of the 1990s, with details and photographs of each mural. As well, it highlights the monuments to the Island's history, including the Bell Island Community Museum and No. 2 Mine Tour.
This website was launched in June 2016 and began with a concentration on Company housing. The book Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation was published by Cape Breton University Press that year. I had written Chapter 3 of that book (see the description below), and the housing section of this website is intended to complement that chapter. Gail Hussey-Weir
Company Houses, Company Towns: Heritage and Conservation is now available from Cape Breton University Press and Amazon.ca. The Kindle edition is available for download from Amazon.ca.
Chapter 3, "Company Housing at Wabana Iron-Ore Mines, Bell Island, Newfoundland," is a history of the housing built by the Scotia and Dominion companies for their staff and miners, and the streets and neighbourhoods where they were built. It also tells the stories of some of the people who lived in those houses. The top photo on the book's cover is of two Dominion houses that were located at Dominion No. 1, Bell Island.