This article was printed in the Georgian circa 1982. Most of the information for this Community history was taken from "Tap Roots", compiled by Janice DeGroot, Mary Marche, Denise DeGroot, Sandy O'Quinn and Eleanor Young.
Mainland, or "Grand Terre" as it is referred to by its French speakng inhabitants, is a settlement about sixteen kilometres from Lourdes. It is believed that the settlement received its name from the fishermen who fished at Red Island (L'Isle Rouge) and came ashore to the "Mainland" for supplies. Mainland is also nicknamed "Cow Rock." The inhabitants are mostly French-speaking, although they speak English as well.
Some of the early settlers at Mainland were:
JOHN MOORE VICTOR MARCHE ADOLPHE LEVELON
Most of these were French fishermen who came to fish at Red Island during the Summer months and decided to settle. Some French also came to the area to avoid serving in the French Army. Early settlers depended more on fishing than on farming. In the Summer men would fish at home (Mainland) or Red Island. Those fishing from Red Island would usually return home each Saturday. During the Winter months, the men would cut wood for firewood or for making lobster traps. The first sawmill was owned by John Cornect around 1937 (Mr. Cornect came to Red Island at the age of 16). Prior to the sawmill, men owned and used their pitsaws, or worked in the woods cutting pulp. Some can remember getting 90 cents a cord for cutting pulp in Piccadilly.
The first stationed Parish Priest in the area was at St. George's (Father Belanger). He visited Cape St. George, several miles down the coast, regularly - as often as once a month. A priest was never stationed at Mainland. Before the first Priest was stationed in Lourdes (Father Pineault), Father Joy from Port au Port would come twice a year, by horse and cart or by dog team. He would stay for one or two days at a time. Before the first schools, anyone who could read or write would read religious books in their homes. The children would gather at these homes and be taught their Catechism and Prayers (John Moores did this).
The first school, St. Ann's School (Ecole Ste. Anne), was supposedly built by Father Pineault in 1912, however, the oldest resident in Mainland, Anastasia (Nana) Lainey remembers the school being there when Father Pineault first came to the Parish and believes the building was actually erected between 1910-1912. The first teacher was Mrs. Gearney. In 1972 it was remodeled into St. Ann's Mission Chapel (Chapelle Ste. Anne). A new primary school was also built in 1972 and all other grades were bussed to Lourdes.
Mail came to West Bay by boat from Port au Port and on to Lourdes, which was then the distributing centre. From Lourdes, the mailman carried it by foot or dog & sled to Mainland. Today, the "Rural Route" system is used. The first Post Office was run by Joe Briand and the first telephone (crank) was installed here. The dial telephone system was installed in April of 1972.
The first store was opened in 1920 by John Cornect from Cape St. George. Mr. Cornect received supplies needed for the store from "bay boats" which came in once a month. This store was very important to the people as it meant they did not have to walk 50 kilometres to St. Georges to purchase supplies. The store was destroyed by fire in 1937. Boats such as the "Active" and the "Anfiverite" brought supplies from Port au Port. Supply boats to Red Island were from Halifax - the "Arlow" and the "Seal."
The closest Doctor was in Aguathuna. Nurse Hall was stationed at Lourdes before the first Doctor, Doctor Murray, came. Nurse Hall made trips to the outlying areas to care for the sick.
There has never been a Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Poice n the direct vicinity of Mainland. In the early days of Mainland, the only law enforcement in the area was a "Newfoundland Ranger" (before Confederation) or Magistrate who came to Cape St. George twice a year to make the "presence of the law" felt. However, the Magistrates and Police did come to the area if an incident occurred whereby they were summoned. For many years, Mainland was policed by the Stephenville Detachment of the RCMP, some 80 kilometres away. In the early 1980's an RCMP Detachment was placed at Piccadilly (35 kilometres from Mainland) but this Detachment lasted less than 20 years and the area is once again policed from Stephenville by the Bay St. George Detachment of the RCMP.
Before Confederation, there weren't any roads in Mainland - only cow paths. In rainy weather people would have to wait for low tide to pass along the beach because the cow paths would be too muddy to travel over. The present roads were built around 1944 with boughs and gravel and manual labour, until the Government improved them. Today, the roads are paved and people can travel with relative ease.
The first radio was owned by a Mr. M. McCarthy and the first sewing machines by Ella Lainey and Mrs. Joe Briand. Electricity came into use on November 15th, 1963 and prior to this kerosine lamps and wood stoves were used. For pleasure, people of the area would play catch, soccer or bat ball. They also played cards, held socials and dances. People would also gather at the home of the late Mr. Joe Lainey to hear him tell all sorts of stories.
- this newspaper article was found among a collection of newspaper clippings kept by the Late Veronica Gaudon of Lourdes.
THE HISTORY AND PEOPLE OF MAINLAND