Attractions - Memorials - Cenotaph & Sealers Memorial
Elliston has two memorials: a cenotaph for those that died during the World Wars and a second for those lost during the Seal Hunt especially those in the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. The war memorial in Elliston was renovated in late 2014 marking the centennial of the First World War. It is located next the Sealing Interpretation Centre that was once the site of a Memorial School.
For more information on Elliston’s participation during the World Wars Click Here.
Below you will find some photos of this site. Click to enlarge.
Statue and Granite Memorial Wall
The Sealers Memorial Statue, created by acclaimed sculptor Morgan MacDonald, depicts Reuben Crewe and his son, Albert John Crewe, from Elliston who lost their lives in the 1914 SS Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. It represents all sealers who have risked and lost their lives in their efforts to support their families and communities. Also at this site is a memorial granite wall listing the names of all 364 men and boys who were on the S.S. Newfoundland and the S.S. Southern Cross during those fateful days in the spring of 1914. Those who perished, those who were injured and those who survived against desperate odds will forever be remembered.
Below you will find some photos of the site at Porter’s Point. Click to enlarge.
John C. Crosbie Sealers Interpretation Centre
On June 19th, 2014 Elliston officially opened the John C. Crosbie Sealers Interpretation Centre. On the same day the Memorial Statue including a Granite Memorial Wall (see above) was unveilled. You might ask why this is located in the small town of Elliston and what this is all about. To answer those questions you have to consider the history of the seal fishery and events of 1914. (A much more comprehensive account of the Newfoundland Sealing Disaster is available by Clicking Here.)
At that time, sealing was a very dangerous endeavor. Communication was rather primitive and sudden blizzards combined with massive ice fields could be fatal for ships and their crews. Sealers would spend countless hours on the ice and one never knew when the weather could turn. Unfortunately on March 30th, 1914, 166 men left the SS Newfoundland and walked in the direction of the SS Stephano seven miles distant. 34 men decided to turn back as the weather conditions deteriorated and the remainder continued onward. The result was that the men were stranded, in a vicious blizzard, for two days and the captains of both ships involved wrongly assumed these men were aboard the other's ship. In the end, 78 men froze to death or were lost to the frigid waters. Elliston has a special connection to the tragedy of 1914 because our community lost more men percentagewise than any other. Eight of the twelve involved perished on the ice.
During the same storm, the SS Southern Cross was lost at sea with 251 sealers aboard. The Dominion of Newfoundland was a country of only 250, 000 and the loss hit hard.
Site of Former Memorial School
This Interpretation Centre encompasses the former site of the old Elliston Memorial School, opened in 1923. It was built as a memorial to honour local residents killed during the Great War (1914-1918).
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