Preface and AcknowledgmentsOnce Upon a Mine could be said to have begun one morning coffee break in 1975 when fellow worker Doug Vanderveer of the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Mines and Energy happened to show me a box of Newfoundland mining photographs. Hidden among the mostly modern prints was one of an old prospector sporting rock and hammer, and looking rather forlorne beside an unidentified shaft. Somehow the face and setting remained with me. A few minutes' investigation two days later revealed that no comprehensive account existed of Newfoundland mining history. It took a few more minutes during the next week to persuade John Fleming (now Assistant Deputy Minister with the department) that, for the sake of posterity, if nothing else, a collection of Old Newfoundland mining photos should be made. John unhesitatingly approved the collection scheme with an abandon for which I am very grateful.
Once the photos (and, in many cases, stories) had been amassed from individuals and institutes across Newfoundland, it remained to research and write the history. Easing the task was my (by then) unemployed status. Hindering it was my minimal experience in writing and historical research. Nonetheless, after five years the manuscript was completed.
That the completion actually happened was due largely to the moral, academic and financial support of many. The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Mines and Energy, in providing the initial impetus, deserves great thanks. The Explorations Division of The Canada Council gave a year's generous assistance and, by extrapolation, confidence that the job was worth doing. Thank you Al Pittman. The Iron Ore Company of Canada and the Reid Newfoundland Company Limited also donated monetary support.
Historical material came from the stacks of several libraries. Anne Hart, Nancy Grenville and Marion Burnett of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Centre for Newfoundland Studies; A.P. Murphy, Ian Garland, David J. Davis, Margaret Chang and Howard Brown of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador; Catherine Power and others of the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre Hunter Library - all these individuals gave patient and inspired help.
Rounding out the library-based data were stories or information related by people from across Newfoundland. Following is as complete a list of such contributors as memory permits. To those who have inadvertently been omitted, I plead poor recollection and ask that they accept 'unnamed' as theirs.
Dr. J.K. Hiller of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Dr. P.J. Mackey of Noranda Research Centre kindly took time to critically review the manuscript and made helpful and instructive suggestions. Ed Stander also offered useful comments. Proofing of the manuscript was quickened by aid from my family and Brian Asbury. Paul Pulford helped with last-minute bibliographic checks. Dr. David F. Strong of Memorial University was responsible for interesting The Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in publishing the book long after I had resigned myself to distributing it as a photocopied present to friends.
Reproduction of the photographs was ably performed by Denys Short and Bora Merdsoy; Bora created prints from the negatives.
Throughout the writing of the book, moral and residential support came from several sources, the most notable of whom were: Mirium and the revered late H.T. Renouf; Hildegard Pesch and David Skevington; Priscilla Patch; The Lakeview Arms; Jacqueline and Richard Fortey; and Deane and Bora Merdsoy.
My greatest debt goes to the one person who encompasses all of the above and more - prospector, critic, story teller and friend - Paul Leslie Dean.