Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. John's in Division No. 1 (Avalon Peninsula), Newfoundland and Labrador — The Canadian Atlantic
 

Swiling

La chasse au phoque

 
 
Swiling Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 22, 2014
1. Swiling Marker
Inscription. Captions, clockwise from the top right. (English / French):

Processing seal pelts, St. John’s around 1900. / Transformation des peaux de phoques, Saint-Jean vers 1900.

From 1793 to the early 1980’s, the departure of sealing ships from St. John’s was an annual event of great social importance. At its peak in the 1850’s, the seal hunt employed 13,600 “swilers” and accounted for as much as one quarter of the value of all Newfoundland exports. / De 1793 au début des années 1980, le départ des bateaux phoquiers était un événement social fort important à Saint-Jean. À son apogée, dans les années 1850, la chasse au phoque employait quelque 13 600 personnes et représentait le quart de la valeur des exportations de l’île.

The seal hunt was, for most of its history, much more than an industry. It claimed many lives, and represented a dark page in labour history, but it still was an annual ritual marked by ceremony and excitement. / La chasse au phoque était beaucoup plus qu’une industrie/ Malgré les pertes de vies inutiles et les conditions de travail inhumaines. Elle demeurait un rituel marqué chaque année de cérémonies et de réjouissances.

April 4, 1914. The S.S. Bellaventure returns to St. John’s with the bodies of 69 sealers. 132 men from the S.S. Newfoundland had
Swiling Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 22, 2014
2. Swiling Marker
Second marker from the left.
been lost on the ice for two days; 78 perished. / Le 4 avril 1914, Le S.S. Bellaventure rentrait à Saint-Jean avec les dépouilles de 69 chasseurs/ Des 132 hommes de S.S. Newfoundland perdus sur la glace durant deux jours, 78 sont morts.
 
Location. 47° 34.19′ N, 52° 40.922′ W. Marker is in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, in Division No. 1 (Avalon Peninsula). Marker can be reached from Signal Hill Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador A1A, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fishery (here, next to this marker); Ice (here, next to this marker); Noon Day Gun (a few steps from this marker); Cabot Tower (a few steps from this marker); Battle of Signal Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); 1892: The Great Fire (within shouting distance of this marker); Peacetime Use (within shouting distance of this marker); Transatlantic Radio Signals (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. John's.
 
More about this marker. This marker is locate at the overlook in Signal Hill National Historic Site.
 
Also see . . .
1. Seal Fishery - Heritage Newfoundland. By late winter and
Seal Harvest image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, n.d.
3. Seal Harvest
early spring, this coast was blockaded by local and arctic ice in most years, and with the ice came harp seals... Later, towards the end of the 18th century, the patches of whelped whitecoats became the focus of an annual spring seal hunt carried on in larger vessels.
(Submitted on November 17, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 

2. Impact of the 1914 Sealing Disaster - Heritage Newfoundland. On 31 March 1914 the sealing vessel SS Southern Cross and its crew of 173 failed to arrive in St. John’s from the Gulf of St. Lawrence as scheduled. Two days later, an already anxious public learned that sealers with the SS Newfoundland had spent 53 hours stranded on the North Atlantic ice floes in blizzard conditions. With a combined death count of 251... (Submitted on November 17, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 17, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 227 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 17, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement