Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where once they stood

One lone house remains standing

One of the lines in the "Ode to Newfoundland" goes "Where once they stood, we stand". That is so apt for Newfoundland today. Many, many communities in the past 50 years have been abandoned and the people resettled into larger centers. So its gone with the community of Tickles.

On Sunday 6 of us paddled in Pinchgut Tickle and stopped at the former community. There's one house left standing surrounded still by a grassy field.

In 1921 Tickles had 40 citizens in 7 households. They were named: Linehan, Nolan, Dobbin, and Conway.

We got out to have a look

In 1935 Tickles boasted 8 families with 48 souls. Of the 48, 23 were still living there from the 1921 census. Some had passed on or moved away; one new family of Kelly moved in.

Sons of Linahan and Dobbin had started their own families. Though Tickles didn't grow by much in the intervening 14 years, there were 24 new faces.

I wonder who owned the last house standing? The Linehans, Dobbins and Nolans had sizeable families requiring numerous rooms to house them all.

The truck has seen better days

In 1945 the census showed the population was the same as 10 years earlier - 48 persons. The family Kelly had moved on and the families who were living here in 1935 were stable and growing. Of the 48 from 1935, 34 were still living in Tickles in 1945. Five of the 6 families had 15 new children.

Fourteen individuals were still living in Tickles 24 years after the 1921 census.

Then Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949. The campaign was led by Joey Smallwood. Though elected Premier, he ruled as dictator. He decreed that fishermen should burn their boats and people in far-flung, remote communities pull up roots and move to larger urban centers where modern services could be provided.

In the 1960's the last of the people in Tickles moved away.

In 50 years time there will be many more such communities for kayakers to visit and wonder who the people were, what they thought and how they lived.

Sean was here!

Looking around the place I found this bit of PVC pipe that had been fashioned into a square for some reason. I brought it over to the guys and suggested Sean had been here before us. Anyone who knows Sean will know he has an affinity for making things out of PVC pipe. We had a grand chuckle and even though Sean couldn't join us today he wasn't forgotten.


  1. Thanks guys for thinking of me!! Not sure what the purpose was of the PVC square!!!


  2. Hello Tony this is a more recent mirror of what has happened in Scotland over the last 200 year or so. I always find it sad, standing in the abandonned dwellings of our ancestors