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About Elliston - Introduction & Annotated Timeline



Elliston, which includes the community of Maberly, has a long and interesting history. In the “About Elliston” section you will find all sorts of information about this hamlet by the sea that once had a population of 951 in 1891. Many entries have clickable links that provide more information and even a full book on Elliston. The links are recommended.


Elliston, as a settlement, has a history stretching back more than 200 years. Here is a brief list of events and facts spanning our hometown’s intriguing history.


Nineteen Century



Settlers move to Bird Island Cove and establish a continuous fishing settlement. Several of these settlers relocate from Bonavista. The original families are mainly Anglican.


[Note: "An attempt was made by group of Irish Catholics to settle in the 1770's, however, they were driven out by order of the Governor of Newfoundland in 1774.
View 1774 Order]




First male born at the settlement is Robert Tucker.




Robert Slade and Company establish the first mercantile business at Bird Island Cove.




Rev. William Ellis holds Bird Island Cove’s first Methodist service at the home of George Crewe. At this time there are only three Methodist Ministers in Newfoundland.




There are three Methodist converts at Bird Island Cove. They are George Crew, Elizabeth Crewe, and George Brown.




Population: There are more than 200 residents at Bird Island Cove.


Conversion to Methodism begins under Rev. James Hickson and the Methodists share a small church with the Anglicans.


According to the Slade and Co. records for 1825 there were more than two hundred people living in Bird Island Cove. Listed as planters are: Chaulk and Barnes; John Chaulk (Sr.) and sons; Thomas Clouter; Thomas Cole; Richard Cole; George Crewe; Thomas Flinn and father and mother; James Hill; John, William and Robert Hobbs and father and mother; Menchener and Stead; John Miles; Nebuchardnezzar Tucker; and White and Coles. Listed as sharemen or servants are: William Baker Sr., Edward White, Charles Sanger, George Goldsworthy, John Keating, William Murphy, Joshua Tremblett, David Tremblett, Sarah Weeks, James Auglum, John Hollaghan, Cornelius Hayes, William Purcell, Richard Randell, William Gale, John Jones, Peter Brown, Thomas Pladwell, Philip Way, Elizabeth Cox, Edward Mackie, John Chant, Joseph Martin, Philip Dunphy, Patrick Shelley, Robert Brine, Robert Crewe (Jr.), Henry Rowe, John Goff, James Clark, Benjamin Hayward, Mark Chard, William Minty, Thomas Talbot, Jane Rowe, Edward Harly, John Elliott, John Fogner, William Wiltshire(Sr.), Stephen Abbott, Henry Lemon, John Abbott, Robert Crewe(Sr.), Jasper Fogner, Thomas Hobbs, Thomas Stead and George Linthorne (Jr.).
Click Here for Slade and Co. Assessments.




The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and the Methodist Missionary Society operate Sunday schools periodically at Bird Island Cove. Click Here for more information on early education.




The construction of an Anglican Church is underway at Bird Island Cove.




The community’s first Methodist Church is complete and opens on January 1st.


A diphtheria epidemic occurs at Bird Island Cove, and a petition is made by residents seeking Government relief because they are destitute of food with the exception of potatoes produced in their own gardens.




The community is gripped in terror for more than a day by the Thunder Growl of unknown origins. It is heard throughout both Bird Island Cove and Bonavista.
There is uncertainty about the date of this event and 1830/31 is simply a presumption that may or may not be correct.




The fishery is a failure at Bird Island Cove. Additional Information on the 1832 failure.


Newfoundland obtains Representative Government. Joey Smallwood wrote in his Hand Book Gazetteer and Almanac [for 1941] "There was an elective Lower House, with an Upper House consisting of members selected and appointed by the Governor. This is actually the old advisory council glorified somewhat, and the Government consisted mainly of the Governor and this Legislative Council, or Upper House. The Government was in no sense or degree responsible to the popular assembly."




Population: There are 338 residents at Bird Island Cove.




Rev. William Ellis, for whom Elliston is named, dies and is buried at Harbour Grace. His obituary appears in the Minutes of the 1838 Conference as printed for the Methodist Magazine for September 1838:


WILLIAM ELLIS: who died in peace at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, September 21st, 1837, in the fifty-seventh year of his age, and in the thirty-first of his itinerancy. He was born in the north of Ireland, and was converted to God when about sixteen years old. He was appointed to Newfoundland about the year 1808. He twice narrowly escaped being drowned while visiting the different parts of his extensive field of labour; and the injury which he sustained while in the water affected his head so much, that close application to study was ever afterwards exceedingly painful. But through much afflicted, he continued his ministerial labours till within a few months of his decease. His natural abilities were good; and had not affliction, and somewhat desultory habits, induced by a very extended itinerancy, prevented their full development, he might have attained to a considerable eminence as a Minister of the Gospel. He laboured with great zeal, tenderness, affection, and success, in the cause of his Lord and Master; particularly during the first years of his ministry.




Population: There are 329 residents at Bird Island Cove.


Residents petition the Government to fund a day school in the community.




The Newfoundland School Society establishes the first day school in the community as a branch school of the Bonavista District of the Society.




On September 26th heavy winds sweep away every fishing stage and wreck many boats. It was the worse in 20 years.




Bird Island Cove residents, led by Philip Tocque, petition the Government to establish a public school in the community. It is below as written in the Journal of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland, p. 178, PANL, J 125 K3

A petition from Philip Tocque and others, inhabitants of Bird Island Cove was presented by Mr. Carter who stated in his place that he had obtained the consent of His Excellency the Governor for that purpose.....the same was received and read, praying for the establishment of a school at the said place. Ordered,- that the petition be referred to the Committee of Supply...

(Mr. Carter above is Robert Carter who was elected to the House of Assembly as a Conservative member for the district of Bonavista Bay in the 1842 election)

As a result a public school is established with fifty pupils that year and ninety-one in 1845. By 1845 the Newfoundland School Society discontinues support for its day school.




Residents petition the Government to construct a road to Bonavista. A road to Catalina is recently opened.
Additional Roads Information




Population: There are 336 residents at Bird Island Cove.


A petition from Bird Island Cove asks for a grant of 250 pounds for road construction.




Philip Tocque, a former resident of Bird Island Cove, publishes his book "Wandering Thoughts or Solitary Hours" that is written during his time in the community.




William Minty is the police constable at the settlement and retains this position until his death in 1876.




The Klondike road/trail to Spillars Cove/Bonavista is in general use.

Click Here for a description by Philip Tocque- Clerk, Missionary, Naturalist, and Writer.

Click Here for information on road construction.




Nebuchardnezzar Tucker’s punt capsizes at his favorite fishing spot “Nibiken's Rock” off North Side. He drifts ashore on his bait-tub dying shortly after, because of exposure. He was the father of the first male to be born in the community, Robert Tucker, in 1811.




Slade and Company provides space for a day school to operate. The teacher is William Minty, and this school is under the jurisdiction of the Catalina Education District.


Robert Tilly, a Bonavista-born teacher, establishes a business using a legacy from his deceased Bird Island Cove grandmother, Mrs. Susannah Cole. He is Bird Island Cove’s first resident supply merchant. At the time of his death in 1872 he had every fisherman in the town as a dealer.




A petition by Robert Tilly and others from Bird Island Cove requests that the Government improve road conditions. It is read into the record on May 1st. This petition is significant because it states that community was settled forty-eight years prior, and therefore clearly indicates the community’s date of settlement as 1806.




Newfoundland obtains Responsible Government.


Another Methodist revival takes place, which strengthens Methodism in Bird Island Cove.




Construction of a replacement Methodist Church begins.




Population: There are 523 residents at Bird Island Cove.




Construction on the Tilly House is underway at Bird Island Cove, and it is used as a retail outlet by Robert Tilly and later by his son Arthur Tilly.
Note: This house later became the home of Arthur's son William Marmaduke Tilley and his wife Emily (nee Pearce).



The court case of the Queen vs. Patrick Casey takes place. Casey’s wife Kitty Casey commits suicide and is buried in a droke near Sandy Cove on land which was part of the farm owned by Robert Tilley. Suicide was considered an insult to God and the folks who ended their lives intentionally were not allowed to be buried in the sacred grounds of the Church.




The vessel Thomas sinks and the shipwrecked crew makes their way to Bird Island Cove.




The community’s second Methodist Church officially opens on January 9th. It contains a gallery on either side and can seat about 400 people.




The Hay Pooks fishing ground is discovered off Elliston.




The vessel Mary sinks near Bird Island Cove.




Population: There are 677 residents at Bird Island Cove. This includes fifteen widowers, seventeen widows, and sixty-one orphans. Northern Bight has four residents.




Robert Tilly establishes a farm near Sandy Cove. Additional Information Tilley Farm




Construction of a new Anglican Church, St. Mary’s, is underway and it is still in use. It is built on the site of the previous Anglican Church. Click Here for additional information.




Population: There are 722 residents at Bird Island Cove. This includes 113 married couples, eleven widowers, and nineteen widows. Muddy Brook has thirty-two residents, while Northern Bight has three families with a population of ten.


Bird Island Cove has a road board in place.




Construction of a Methodist school is underway replacing the one then in existence on the Point.




The wreck of the sealing vessel Eric occurs during a storm. Several Elliston men are awarded Royal Humane Society Medals for their actions in saving the vessel’s crew. A beam from this wreck is later used in a root cellar and is still visible today.




The Newfoundland Railway starts at St. John’s and the line (narrow gauge type of 3' 6") reaches Port-aux-Basques in 1897.




First use of cod traps in the Bird Island Cove area.




Population: There are 870 residents at Bird Island Cove. There are 138 married couples, eleven widowers, and sixteen widows. 8% of the population is Anglican and 92% is Methodist. Muddy Brook has eight families with seventeen people involved in the fishery using two fishing rooms. Two-thirds of Muddy Brook’s population is Anglican and one-third is Methodist. Northern Bight has two families and nine residents.




The Salvation Army holds its first service in the spring with Capt. F. Grey. The old Slade property and a store owned by the Clouter family is utilized for these early meetings.




The Brothers disaster occurs and five men from Bird Island Cove drown.




James Ryan establishes a branch store in Bird Island Cove during the latter part of the nineteen century.




William Pearce survives a stormy night, lost at sea, after a boom knocks him overboard but is rescued by another ship more than seven hours later! For a more comprehensive account Click Here.


A Methodist school chapel is in operation at North Side. The first record of a teacher being appointed to the school is 1896.

The Band of Hope is active at Bird Island Cove.




Population: There are 951 residents at Bird Island Cove.

Bird Island Cove (proper) - 455

North Side - 292

Northern Cove - 39

Muddy Brook - 65

Neck - 56

Sandy Cove - 36

Northern Bight - 8


Bird Island Cove becomes a separate Methodist mission distinct from Bonavista with Rev. S. J. Russell as its first pastor, with 150 Methodist families in the community. It was allowed as its own Methodist Board of Education at this time. Previously it was under the jurisdiction of the Bonavista Board of Education.


The way station becomes a post office. Since the early 1880's Arthur Tilly had provided postal services from his store with mail couriers dropping mail off there on their way to Bonavista from Catalina and Trinity.




The Tilly business becomes insolvent as a result of the bank crash of 1894. Since Robert Tilly’s death in 1872, his son Arthur has operated the business. After 1894, Arthur concentrates on farming.




A Methodist congregation makes the decision to build a new church.




J. T. Swyers establishes a branch store near Norder Cove Brook during the early part of the century.


Philip Templeman establishes a store with Arthur Tilly’s brother, Robert, in charge of the branch store, which Arthur had previously used for his own business.



Twentieth Century


Population: There are 941 residents at Bird Island Cove.

Bird Island Cove - 451 (62 Anglicans, 363 Methodists, 25 Salvationists, and 1 Baptist/other)

North Side - 304 (2 Roman Catholics, 2 Anglicans, 293 Methodists, and 7 Baptists/others)

Muddy Brook - 75 (52 Anglicans and 23 Methodists)

Neck - 75 (65 Methodists, 2 Anglicans, and 8 Salvationists)

Sandy Cove - 36 (33 Methodists and 3 Salvationists)


The final service at the old Methodist Church is held on February 10th by Rev. Lench, and it takes five days to tear it down. On March 21st, a representative lays the foundation stone for the new Methodist Church.




Abraham Kean donates a bell to the new Church which later tolls for the dead of the Newfoundland Disaster in 1914.




Under the leadership of Rev. Charles Lench, residents petition the Government to change the name of their community from Bird Island Cove to Elliston on February 17th. The request is approved a few weeks later.


The dedication of the third and current Methodist (now United) Church takes place on May 18th, and it is still in use. The first girl to be baptized is Emma Hill and the first boy is Adam Tucker




Moose are successfully introduced to Newfoundland and multiply all too well.




Rev. A. G. Bayly successfully campaigns to rename the settlement of Muddy Brook to Maberly.




Philip Templeman acquires land and builds a store.




Work commences on the construction of a Methodist school located at the Neck. Construction is sporadic and it is not completed until 1920.

William Ford Coaker establishes and leads the Fisherman’s Protective Union (FPU).




Elliston’s first telegraph is operational with Theresa White as the first operator.




A local of the Fishermen’s Protective Union forms at Elliston under the leadership of William Tucker on April 2nd.


Methodist women form the Willing Workers and conduct social activities for the Methodist Church.


Arthur Tilly converts the second floor of Tilly House into a residence. William Tilley later converts the first floor into a home where he lives the remainder of his life and dies in 1956.




Population: There are 907 residents at Elliston.

Elliston North - 304 (2 Anglicans, 284 Methodists, and 18 Salvationists)

Elliston South - 463 (73 Anglicans, 355 Methodists, and 35 salvationists)

Maberly - 64 (49 Anglicans and 15 Methodists)

Neck - 76 (9 Anglicans, 59 Methodists, and 8 Salvationists)


A branch line of the Newfoundland Railway reaches Bonavista.




Residents petition the Government requesting a spur railway line to Elliston.




The SS Newfoundland Sealing Disaster occurs, which many blame on Abraham Kean, with eight residents from Elliston dying on the ice. Elizabeth Porter was operating the telegraph machine when the names of the dead and the survivors were announced.


The Great War (1914-1918) begins and several men from Elliston go to fight.




In June, Abraham Kean speaks uninvited and unwelcome at the Orange Hall.




FPU members discuss the establishment of a union store for Elliston. In December the foundation is laid.




Rev. A. G. Bayly of Bonavista becomes a Canon on January 12th. Rev. C. Lench publishes the Story of Methodism.


A public meeting takes place at Elliston on November 24th to request a railway spur line to Elliston. A spur never reaches the community.




On September 16th, 1919 the Methodist Board of Education decided to build a memorial school under the leadership of Rev. Walter W. Cotton. The laying of the foundation occurs on October 4th.




Population: There are 933 residents at Elliston.

Elliston - 850 (61 Anglicans, 743 Methodists, and 46 Salvationists)

Maberly - 83 (62 Anglicans and 21 Methodists)




Clarence Tilly establishes a retail store, and by 1927 it is exporting its own fish.




The Fishermen’s Union Trading Company opens a branch store. In the late 1920's the store is run as a credit business.


Simon Trask, a survivor of the SS Newfoundland sealing disaster of 1914, becomes the mail courier.


On June 30th, Elliston Memorial School opens to honour local residents killed during the Great War.




The legendary Elliston strongman Jimmy Chant dies at age thirty-eight and is buried in the Methodist cemetery.


William Tucker succeeds Benjamin Baker as Justice of the Peace and serves until 1932 when Robert Clouter succeeds him.



Methodism unites with the Presbyterians and a portion of Congregationalists to form the United Church of Canada.




Edwin Baker becomes Deputy Sheriff for the area, and serves until 1950 when the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) assumes policing responsibilities.




An interdenominational group, The Newfoundland Girls in Training forms. This is one of the first groups of this type to be formed outside of St. John’s.




The United Church builds a school on the North Side of town. Another school is built there about 1965.




Electric service becomes available at Elliston.


Rogue wave washing right over North Bird Island. Flakes, stages and boats are washed away from Elliston to Maberly.




The Newfoundland legislature votes itself out of existence, and Newfoundland is governed by a commission from 1934 until confederation with Canada.




Population: There are 863 residents at Elliston.

Elliston - 639 (40 Anglicans, 548 United Church, and 51 Salvationists)

Maberly - 97 (64 Anglicans, 32 United Church, and 1 Salvationist)

Neck - 99 (10 Anglicans, 86 United Church, and 3 Salvationists)

Sandy Cove - 28 (3 Anglicans and 25 United Church)




Lewis Clouter is the manager of a branch firm of James Ryan Ltd. with Robert Clouter as the clerk.




The Second World War (1939-1945) begins, and Newfoundland becomes an important and strategic location in the North Atlantic.




The United States Military establish a station at Mark’s Path that is operational by early 1943.




In November, Canadian forces relieve American personnel at Mark’s Path. The station closes on October 1st, 1945.




Population: There are 591 residents at Elliston.




Residents petition the Government for harbour improvements.




Newfoundland enters Confederation and becomes Canada’s tenth province just before midnight on March 31st.




Early in the decade telephones are installed in Elliston.




Population: There are 574 residents at Elliston.


Clarence Tilley Ltd. builds a modern two-storey department store. This structure no longer exists.




Workers surface and condition the road through Maberly. The bridge is replaced and about 35 yards of new road is built along a dangerous cliff.




Tucker’s Taxi operates out of Elliston, and for a time is the only taxi to regularly transport passengers to Clarenville. The taxi is principally driven by owner/operator Peter Tucker.




CJON-TV goes on the air in August.


The United States Military builds a gap filler radar station at Elliston Ridge.


Elliston residents plan construction of a new school, and the construction of a modern garage begins.




Population: There are 699 residents at Elliston.


The Federal Department of Public Works plan the construction of a new wharf but upon completion, it is considered inadequate by many residents.


The gap filler radar station at Elliston Ridge provides a great deal of employment in the Elliston-Bonavista area. A road is built to the top of the ridge where construction of large buildings is going ahead. Many men from Elliston and Bonavista are working with the Terminal Construction Company who are contracting the job. For a period of time work is carried out on a twenty-four hour basis.




A school consisting of five classrooms is built and opens in February of 1958. It is now used as the local recreation centre.




A New Year’s Eve snowstorm in 1958 strands guests at the United States Radar Station near Elliston. For a personal account Click Here.




CJON-TV places a television repeater on the Ridge.




Population: There are 678 residents at Elliston.


On June 28th operations cease at the gap filler radar station. The Americans close the town’s last military installation at Elliston Ridge.




In October, electricity comes to the Neck/Maberly area and about twenty homes are serviced.




Work starts on construction of a new post office for Elliston. The one story structure measures approximately 25 feet x 25 feet, and the post master is Cecil Porter.




The town of Elliston is incorporated on June 15th.


The site of the previous post office, the home belonging to the Porter family, is destroyed by fire in March.




Population: There are 691 residents at Elliston.


Elliston’s first town council is composed of the following: Gerald Tilley, Mayor; Richard Hobbs, Deputy Mayor; Arthur W. Coles, Roy Tilley, Samuel White, William J. Goodland, and Douglas Tilley, Councillors.


On March 31st, the community’s first thirty-five streetlights become operational.


C. Tilley Ltd. with large two-story general store, garage, and large fish stores goes bankrupt.

Newfoundland declares 1966 to be a Come Home Year. Another will not take place until 2000.




Elliston's town hall is built.




High school students are transported to Bonavista by bus.




Population: There are 551 residents at Elliston.




Elliston has fifty streetlights in operation.




Roads throughout Elliston are paved.




Population: There are 540 residents at Elliston.


In July, a humpback whale becomes tangled in a net on North Side and draws many scientists to the area.




The Ryan’s Building at Elliston closes.


The Government establishes a two hundred mile conservation limit off the coast of Newfoundland.




Population: There are 527 residents.




All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or trikes are in use at Elliston making many remote wilderness areas much more accessible.




The Clarenville to Bonavista branch of the railway ceases operation and the mainline through Newfoundland four years later.




The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador declares the Tilley House to be a Registered Heritage Structure in December.




Elliston’s last school closes, and all students are transported to Bonavista by bus.




Restoration work is complete at the Tilley House. Since William Marmaduke Tilley’s [nickname "Duke" pronounced "Juke") death in 1956, the house remains vacant until 1984 when his son Robert commences restoration work on the building.




The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador declare St. Mary’s Anglican Church to be a Registered Heritage Structure.




Early in the decade, Elliston has its own fire truck housed at the school that closed in 1986, however, its presence in the community is short lived.




Population: There are 533 residents at Elliston.




The Government declares a cod moratorium effectively ending a way of life that had been ongoing for nearly 500 years.


Impromptu version of Billy Ray Cyrus’ Achy Breaky Heart preformed by Vince Hayward in 1992 at Elliston.




On September 29th, the town council decides to extinguish all remaining streetlights because of severe financial difficulties.




Population: There are 461 residents.




In nearby Bonavista, on June 24th, a replica of John Cabot’s ship the Matthew arrives marking the 500th anniversary of this momentous event in Newfoundland history.


A volunteer group, Tourism Elliston, forms in November to promote tourism in the area.




On February 24th, the town council decides to restore fifteen to twenty streetlights.


The Elliston Recreation Committee is established.


During July, Elliston holds its first large scale event, the Bird Island Puffin Festival.




A Come Home Year is held & Elliston’s first official shooting event, the Elliston Sport Shoot, takes place on Catalina road. This location later becomes the site of a shooting club.




On July 17th, Elliston claims the official title of Root Cellar Capital of the World.


On September 25th, the community goes online at www.rootcellars.com (aka Elliston Community Website or just Root Cellar Website).


The CBC television program On the Road Again with host Wayne Rostad films an episode at Elliston.


Newfoundland declares 2000 to be a Come Home Year. Another will not take place until 2022.



Twentieth-First Century


Population: There are 360 residents at Elliston.


In July, the Peter Tucker Memorial Shooting Challenge is instituted and becomes an annual event.


In August, Attractions Canada films a public announcement segment on Elliston’s root cellars for broadcast in both English and French.


On August 18th, 2001 the musical group The Fables performs at Elliston Municipal Park.


On December 6th, the Province of Newfoundland officially become the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.




A cruise ship Le Levant visits Maberly on May 29th.


The town council erects street signs displaying the names of the various roads and lanes.


The Discovery Shooting Club opens on December 1st.




Heritage signs are erected depicting the history of Elliston throughout the community and it is completed in 2005. A visitor information point opens, and the restoration of the historic Orange Hall begins.


The local wharf, which was severely damaged in a 2002 winter storm, is torn down.




The first edition of A Measure of Success: The Story of Elliston 1806-2003, by Neal Tucker, is published becoming the first book ever to be published in the community.


The town of Elliston adopts its first town flag designed by Myron Coles.


In the fall the work commences on three projects: stabilization of the Ryan’s Building, construction of permanent game booths at the park, and fish flakes at Maberly/Coles' Gulch. Work is completed in 2005.




On June 17th, 2005 the musical group Shanneyganock performs at Elliston Municipal Park.


Also in June, the CBC television program Land & Sea with host Pauline Thornhill films an episode at Elliston. It airs on February 27th, 2006 under the appropriate title of Root Cellar Pride.


North Side road is completely resurfaced for the first time since initially being paved in 1973.


The Orange Hall is restored and the restoration of the Ryan’s Building begins in earnest with the exterior being completed in early 2006.


The Discovery Shooting Club launches its own website on September 15th at www.discoveryshootingclub.com.


On September 27th Elliston elects a new town council composed of the following: Gary Baker, Mayor; Derek Martin, Deputy Mayor; Alfred Chaulk, Ray Childs, and Myron Coles, Councillors.




Population: There are 306 residents at Elliston.


Elliston has been a permanently settlement for two centuries.


A revised second edition of A Measure of Success: The Story of Elliston is published specifically to commemorate Elliston’s second Come Home Year encompassing a full 200 years of local history. The full book is available as follows:


Click Here to view the Acknowledgements, Introduction and Table of Contents.


Click Here to read Chapter I


Click Here to read Chapter II


Click Here to read Chapter III


Click Here to read Chapter IV


Click Here to read Chapter V


Click Here to read Chapter VI


Click Here to read Chapter VII


Click Here to read Chapter VIII


Click Here to read Chapter IX


Click Here to read Chapter X


Click Here to view the Index.


In the spring, Nanny Hayley’s Root Cellar Kitchen, opens at the Orange Hall.


Elliston’s Second Come Home Year and 200th anniversary takes place in July.


In September, the Discovery Shooting Club incorporates as the Discovery Shooting Club, Inc. becoming an independent organization.




In June, Land & Sea returned to film a segment at Elliston that concerns the 1914 SS Newfoundland Sealing Disaster. It airs on March 3rd, 2008.


Work on the Ryan’s Building continues throughout the year with the vast majority of the work nearing completion by December.




Work on the Ryan’s Building (Elliston Adventure) is completed early in the year and it is opened on June 11th.


In the spring the Elliston Heritage Foundation forms. It is incorporated as an independent organization on June 26th. Mrs. Sheilagh Guy Murphy becomes a honourary Director (later Honourary Chairperson) and then Hon. John Crosbie, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, becomes their patron. It comes to an end in 2014 and is replaced by the Home From The Sea Foundation.




The Discovery Shooting Club becomes a sponsor of the Elliston Community Website assisting in the furtherance of the area.


On July 28th and September 2nd, town meetings take place at the Elliston Recreation Centre to discuss the future of the town of Elliston and its debts. Amalgamation with another municipality is an option put forward by Government.


On September 29th only Myron Coles and Derek Martin put their names forward for the municipal election. They are elected by acclamation. A by-election is later held on October 27th and Alf Chaulk, Gary Baker, and Ray Childs are elected.


In the fall, Elliston hosts a new festival, the Roots, Rants & Roars Festival.




A feasibility study goes forward concerning the possible annexation of Elliston to the town of Bonavista.


Hurricane Igor strikes the Elliston area on the morning of Tuesday, September 21st. More than 197 mm of rain falls until 1:30 PM when the measuring equipment stops functioning. Several roads/bridges are washed out isolating people, without electricity, in different parts of the community for several days. It is a week before all businesses and schools reopen. It also cancels the planned Roots, Rants & Roars Festival.




Population: There are 337 residents at Elliston.


On May 8th, Mothers’ Day, the uninsured Cole family home burns to the ground leaving 11 homeless and receives national coverage. A campaign to rebuild the home is initiated and is successful. An open house is held on November 26th and the family is given the keys to their new home.


Bright White Productions film a segment of a documentary in Elliston during the third week of July regarding the Seal Hunt. They return during the third week of October to finalize. CBC airs on March 18th, 2014.


Main street is resurfaced on July 8th & 9th.

Just prior to the anniversary of Hurricane Igor the damaged sections of road throughout Elliston/Maberly are paved.


Hurricane Ophelia strikes on October 3rd but damage is minor. However, the newly paved road next to the Ryan's Building sustains moderate damage.


Elliston’s Mayor, Gary Baker, dies on October 21st after serving the town of Elliston for many years. Derek Martin later becomes Mayor.


In conjunction with partners in St. John’s the Elliston Heritage Foundation’s Home From The Sea campaign is launched, on December 2nd, to raise funds for a memorial sealers’ statue, interpretative walk and interpretation centre for Elliston. More than a million dollars is raised by the end of the year.




Blair Templeman is elected to the Elliston Town Council in a by-election on Jan. 20th.


On June 22nd the Home From The Sea campaign announces it has raised 2.1 million dollars for the Elliston Heritage Foundation.


A new business, Collins Quick Stop, opens on July 19th.


Tropical Store Leslie hits on Sept. 11th but damage to the area is very minor causes by wind.


On Sept. 19th Bernie Harberts and his mule Polly, from North Carolina, arrive in Elliston as part of their tour around Newfoundland.


On Sept. 21st a ground breaking ceremony is held for the sealers’ interpretation centre. Then Lieutenant Governor John Crosbie, Premier Kathy Dunderdale and other invited guests including Myrlte Stagg/Neal Tucker of the Elliston Heritage Foundation speak. The event is covered by NTV and CBC.



The Memorial School/Church Hall that opened in 1923 is torn down during February/March to make way for the new Sealers’ Interpretation Centre. The building’s exterior is nearly complete by November.


The Elliston Community Website hosted at www.rootcellars.com since September 25th, 2000 was semi-retired on March 31st. Its official successor, www.townofelliston.ca (i.e. this website), was launched on the latter date (Easter Sunday).


The Gary Baker Memorial Campground is dedicated on May 25th.


On June 10th the area is hit with a sudden thunder/lightning storm. The loudest clap of thunder most can remember is heard/felt as far as Bonavista and TBN. Lightning strikes in Port Union and several people suffer damage to electrical equipment.


In July a new slipway is under construction and is completed in August.


On September 24th municipal elections take place and the following are elected: Geraldine Baker, Derek Martin, Blair Templeman, Myron Coles & Ray Childs.




On January 4th a massive power outages strikes the island of NL resulting in roaming blackouts. This area is fortunate and is only without power for 15 hours in -13 degree weather.


The Elliston Business partnership forms to promote local business and incorporates on March 5th. Unfortunately, it fades away in little over a year.


Christina Marshall-Jeenes broadcasts live from Elliston for the NTV News regarding the SS Newfoundland Sealing Disaster on March 11th.


On March 12th Reg Sherren with CBC’s The National films a short documentary on the SS Newfoundland Sealing Disaster that airs on the tragedy’s centennial on March 31st.


On May 30th The Grand Seduction premieres at the Garrick Theatre in Bonavista and other selected theatres. Part of the movie was filmed at Maberly on August 15th, 2012.


The Sealers Memorial statue, name monument and interpretation statue opens to the public on June 19th. Hundreds attend the event and it makes both the NTV and CBC News. For photos from that day Click Here.


A replica World War One trench opens to the public on July 1st, at the Discovery Shooting Club, with representatives from Elliston, Bonavista and Trinity Bay North on hand for the event. This story also makes the NTV and CBC News.


July has consistent temperatures in the mid to upper 20’s and is one of the hottest in recent memory.


On July 19th, after 14 consecutive years, the Peter Tucker Memorial Shooting Challenge comes to an end on one of its most successful years marking the end of an era.


In September the Elliston Heritage Foundation is voted out of existence and the Home From The Sea Foundation supersedes it. Its new mandate is to oversee the sealers’ centre and related monuments.


On October 14th, the Discovery Shooting Club establishes the Great War Living History Committee that seeks to honour the WWI contribution of the Bonavista Peninsula. It is one of the more active groups in NL commemorating the centenary period (2014-2018).


A by-election is held on November 10th and Jabez Chaulk is elected.


In November the local cenotaph is upgraded with a new base installed and site refurbished.



In May Parks Canada, For King & Empire and Great War Living History Committee participated in a First World War filming event at the replica trench located at the Discovery Shooting Club.


July has temperatures dipping into the single digits for most of the month in stark contrast to the previous year.


Elliston has a quite warm Christmas Day with the temperature reaching 8 degrees.


At the end of December Ray Child retires from council after serving for 24 years.




Population: There are 308 residents at Elliston.


On January 18th, a massive iceberg arrives off Elliston and becomes grounded remaining for months. It is June before it breaks into two pieces with one large fragment remaining until approximately mid-June. This iceberg makes the national news!


On April 20th, a snowstorm hits the area dumping 41cm of snow along with winds of 120 km/h. A shed in Maberly is blown over a cliff!


Three Snowy Owls appear in Elliston for a short time in April.


The Great War Living History Committee dedicates a 25 year time capsule in Bonavista on July 1st to mark the 100th anniversary of Beaumont Hamel. Included are a number of photos of the Elliston area. For more information on the Time Capsule project Click Here.


On June 30th, a cruise ship, Ocean Endeavour, arrives at Elliston ferrying passengers ashore by zodiac.


A woman falls over a cliff at the Puffin Site on July 18th but fortunately survives.


A special WWI battle demonstration is organized on July 23rd at the Discovery Shooting Club. Click Here for a video.


Early on August 27th Newfoundland is subjected 34,000 lightning hits over a few hours. Elliston is not spared but no damage reported.


A super moon occurs on November 14th with the moon being the closest to earth since 1948.




On March 11th a massive windstorm hits Newfoundland causing a great deal of damage. The measuring equipment in Bonavista broke down but the winds were hurricane force.


In late March/early April the Elliston area is racked by a blizzard making spring seem like mid-winter.


On April 5th, a Polar Bear arrives in Elliston and comes ashore on North Side. The bear is eventually shot and killed in Little Catalina on the 8th.


A craft shop opens in May, the Home From the Ice Floes Craft Shop, at the former site of Hayley’s Foodex.


On June 20th the temperature hits 32 in Elliston.


A partial solar eclipse occurs on July 21st.


A peninsula wide art exhibition, the Bonavista Biennale, takes place with a few exhibits in Elliston. The most notable locally is “The Green Chair” by artist Mr. Will Gill situated on an ocean swept rock off Maberly. Despite predictions to the contrary it is still in place at the end of the year.


In September the existing council is elected by acclamation with one exception. The position vacated by Blair Templeman is filled by Alf Chaulk.


For the first time in very long time there is no Santa Claus Parade in Elliston due to rain.


This year we have a white Christmas.




During the second week of January temperatures rise to 12 degrees and almost all the snow melts. It seems like spring but Winter returns with vengeance shortly after.


By March 1st the Green Chair in Maberly is damaged by sea ice becoming a stool and the next day it is completely gone.


A Polar Bear is spotted on North Side on March 8th making its way to the main road. Unlike in 2017 not many people saw it and it disappeared shortly afterwards.


On June 27th there is major blast across from Discovery Shooting Club at about 8:15pm related to the road work beginning on Catalina Road. The blast was heard/felt throughout Elliston and the power went out momentarily.


After more than 30 years Catalina road is completely rebuilt and paved during June/July. The road is basically shut down from late June to August 4th only being open overnight. Paving operations begin on August 21st and is complete by August 24th.


New businesses open. The Puffin Cafe in late June and the Puffin’s Nest in July.


The Discovery Shooting Club replaces its entire firing line.


Within a two-week period in July two people fall/break ankles at puffin site.


Marijuana is legalized in Canada on October 17th.


Nov. 11th marks the end of the First World War’s 2014-2018 centenary and Great War Living History Committee formed for local commemoration officially concludes its initial mandate. The group continues but at a reduced capacity.




On February 20th the temperature drops just below -15 and the chill in the -20s/-30s.


The old Muddy Brook Pond Road is upgraded.


The Bonavista Biennale again takes place with a few exhibits in Elliston.


In August, Artist Stephanie Peters paints a mural on the cement portion of the Elliston Recreation Centre depicting an ocean scene.


On Christmas Eve we experience the first significant snowstorm of the winter. It marks a period of heavy snowfalls that extends into 2020.




We experience Snowmageddon on January 17 - one of worse winter storms that Newfoundland has ever experienced. Locally Peggy Burridge’s house burned to the ground due to snowed in roads that blocked the path of firefighters that morning.


COVID-19 pandemic begins with the first death in China on Jan. 9th and changes life as we know it.


Newfoundland & Labrador’s Government ends Discovery Day (i.e. June 24th) in name instead calling it - June Holiday


During the summer, Tourism Elliston attempts to close the Puffin Site, but it was soon determined they have no authority to prevent the public from accessing a public site.


All festivals in Elliston are cancelled due to the pandemic.


Due to COVID-19 July 1st public memorial services are cancelled. This is the first time since they began more than a century before! Former members of the Great War Living History Committee make a Covid-19 tribute video Memorial Day 2020 (Newfoundland).


Discovery Geopark becomes Newfoundland & Labrador’s first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Global Geopark - July 10th


Despite COVID-19 lockdowns NL become part of the Atlantic Bubble. Residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador can travel within the four Atlantic provinces without having to self-isolate beginning on July 3rd. It ends on December 7th due to increased infection rates.


On August 15th a seal arrives at beach and stays for a few days.


On August 24th masks become mandatory in all public places.


The second wave of COVID-19 hits Canada on September 24th.


Newfoundland & Labrador’s Government ends the use of one time use plastic bags on October 1st.


A COVID-19 vaccine becomes available and the first shot is administered in Canada on December 14th. The first in NL is on December 16th.


A new variant of COVID-19 arises in the UK and spreads to Canada (Ontario) in late December.




Much like 2020 the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic dominates the year:

  • A week into February Covid-19 is discovered at Mt. Pearl Senior High in Mt. Pearl and with many cases resulting. People are told not to visit the St. John’s region unless necessary.
  • February 12th the UK variant is detected in NL and Alert Level 5 is reinstated (i.e. lockdown). The provincial election set for February 13th is cancelled and all voting takes place later by mail in ballet. By the end of the month, the alert level is downgraded to Level 4 except for the Avalon Peninsula that stays at Level 5 for another two weeks.
  • In April/May vaccines become available on the Bonavista Peninsula and a second dose a few months later.
  • On June 23rd NL is open to Atlantic Canada. By the summer all of Canada is permitted to enter.
  • Mask restrictions are lifted in NL on August 10th but are again required by September 18th.
  • On October 8th vaccine passports become available to download in NL to show you have been vaccinated. By October 22nd the vaccine passport must be shown to enter restaurants.
  • In November vaccines are approved for ages 5-11 and in December Covid-19 booster shots become available for all individuals over 18.
  • In December a new highly contagious variant (Omicron) of COVID-19 is surging in Canada and it is first detected in NL on the 16th. On December 23rd, alert level 3 is declared for all of NL. Even fully vaccinated travellers must quarantine for 5 days.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reports its single-day COVID-19 record with 194 new cases on December 28th. It is broken on December 29th with 312, again on the 30th with 349 cases and on the 31st it was broken once more with 431.


Outside of pandemic news:


In August, Disney is filming scenes for, Peter Pan & Wendy, near the end of the Elliston to Spillars Cove trail. It airs on Disney Plus on April 28th, 2023.


The Bonavista Biennale again takes place with two minor exhibits in Elliston.


September 11th Hurricane Larry hits but damage in Elliston is almost zero.


In September the existing council is elected by acclamation.


On October 29th the NL health care system (primarily Eastern Health) suffers an unprecedented Cyberattack wreaking havoc with the entire health care system.


December 12th Elliston's Santa Claus Parade returns after not being held in 2020 due to Covid-19.




Newfoundland and Labrador declare 2022 to be an official Come Home Year.


In January Covid-19 cases continue to rise and several deaths result in Newfoundland due to the Omicron variant. Nevertheless, by February, Covid-19 restrictions are beginning to relax.


On March 4th there is a huge jump in fuel prices to $190.5. By March 10th gas prices hit or surpass the $2.00 mark! $2.03 in Bonavista.


Newfoundland and Labrador lift the Public Health Emergency for the first time in two years on March 14th. Masks in public are no longer required.


By late March there are so many cases of Covid-19 local events such as bingos and church services are cancelled. However, no official measures are put in place to combat it, but many people choose to keep wearing masks.


New “Welcome to Elliston” signs are installed on May 3rd & 4th for the Come Home Year.


The May 24th long weekend is warm and sunny unlike the usual cold/wet/snow weather.


Masks are no longer required to be worn inside K-12 schools in Newfoundland and Labrador as of May 24th. Public Covid-19 updates are reduced to once a week.


In late May, several camping sites at Elliston’s municipal park are upgraded at a cost of $72,822.00.


In mid June the Elliston Time Capsule is established at the Discovery Shooting Club. Neal Tucker and family seal the site to be opened in 100 years on July 1st, 2122. This the first and only project of this nature undertaken in Elliston’s history.


Temporary closures of emergency services at Bonavista Hospital began on June 22nd and continue periodically into 2023. A sad situation.


On July 4th there is a thunderstorm that results in hail.


July sees the first Bird Island Puffin Festival since Covid-19 (cancelled in 2020-2021). It also proves to be last.


In July/August there is a heat wave with temperatures consistently in the mid to upper 20s or more with high humidity.


Queen Elizabeth II dies on September 8th with the distinction of being Britain's longest-serving monarch (1952-2022).




A sad occurrence takes place on February 20th when Charles Marsh from Elliston is turned away from the Bonavista Hospital because of a temporary closure of emergency services. He dies en route to Clarenville Hospital.


On March 12th a Polar Bear is sighted in Melrose. The next day it travels overland to Sandy Cove, goes out to sea and eats a seal at Sandy Cove.


On March 14th an otter is spotted in Maberly.


As of April, everyone must dial 709 before making local calls.


The old Bird Island Puffin Festival is replaced by a one day Bird Island Family Day event held on July 15th.


On May 5th the World Health Organization declares the COVID-19 global health emergency as over, but the public health threat posed by the virus remains.


King Charles III's coronation is held on May 6th.


On May 15th filming for Cold Harbour takes place at Elliston.


Elliston experiences an awful wet spring with temperatures often in the low single digits. By July it experiences a heat wave with temperature in high 20s low 30s along with high humidity.


In late July work begins on replacing North Side’s water lines and goes as far as Bradly Tucker’s by August 30th. Work is completed by GerGar Enterprises Ltd. The second half of the North Side contract is awarded to Sweetland's Aggregates Ltd. but no works takes place in 2023.


On August 6th, a quad drives over the temporary above ground water line bursting it but it is repaired later that day.


The Bonavista Biennale takes place from August 19th to September 17th with exhibits in Elliston.


Half of North Side is repaved on November 21st and the remainder is scheduled to be completed in 2024.





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