CHRONOLOGY ON BUCHANS
1905 - 1984
Mattie Mitchell, in June 1905, was hired by A.N.D. Company to
find sulphur deposits for newsprint paper production.
Mattie Mitchell and W.F. Canning discovered ore on Buchans
Terra Nova Properties Ltd. a company owned by A.N.D., began
development of Buchans River ore.
Development of Old Buchans mine.
1,000 Ton sample of ore shipped to Sweden for tests.
First motor boat used on Red Indian Lake it was used to tow
the ore samples to Millertown where it was loaded onto a Railway car to be
taken to a ship at Botwood.
Breakthrough made in floatation process. Buchans ore can be
processed. Tests were done by ASARCO experimental station in Wallace, Idaho,
proved to be successful in the floatation techniques used for separating the
J.Ward Williams first mine manager for ASARCO.
March 18th ASARCO enters into agreement with A.N.D. Co. for 25
year period on a 50/50 basis.
Hans Lundberg, a Swedish Geologist, located the Lucky Strike
Construction begins on mill and deck head, Lucky Strike.
November 15th, Lucky Strike mine collared.
Mrs. Violet Pollett (first woman to come to Buchans) arrived
First Anglican Church service conducted in Buchans on March
17th by Reverand T.E. loder of the Anglican Parish in Grand Falls in a large
First House built 14 Prospect Street
Royal Stores opened.
Brennans Barber Shop opened.
Hong Lee (Wah Lee) Laundry opened.
Buchans Social and Athletic Club forms.
Construction of railway begins at Buchans Junction to Buchans.
Buchans Mining Company Ltd. incorporated and registered
Buchans Mining Company built a branch line from Millertown Railway
at Buchans Junction to Buchans.
Dec 12, a fifty year agreement between Terra Nova Properties Ltd.
and ASARCO. ASARCO agreed to invest $500,000 into the formation of an operating
company known as Buchans Mining Co. Ltd. at the rate of 6% per annum. ASARCO
and Terra Nova would divide the profits of this company evenly.
July, a dam, for the company power supply, on the Buchans River
burst. The flood washed away a railway trestle, tents and bunkhouses.
Mill opened at Buchans.
First school opened, railway built, first hospital opened, theatre, town had 60 homes
(first school was in what is now the Boys and Girls Club)
First baby boy born in January in the old hospital, John Alexander Buchan Cooney.
Mill was operating with a 600 ton per day capacity.
First ore started through mill September 1.
First concentrate produced September 6.
First shipment of ore was sent to Botwood on September 28, and was loaded on board the
S.S.Kiruna, a few hours after sailing the Kiruna returned to Botwood, as the
load of ore had shifted and caused the ship to list badly. The Kiruna was
beached and the ore was removed.
Open pit mining started.
Anglican Church built.
Transmission line to Deer Lake begins.
Wage scale for Miners 36 cents
per hour (10 hr shift) and $3.35 per day (8 hr shift).
August 5, William Rumson,
first baby baptised by Rev. Mechem in United Church in Buchans.
Rev. Samuel Machem (from
England) first United Church Minister in Buchans.
Father Finn erected a small
Catholic school chapel in Buchans for Catholic children and
the school was opened on September 28.
Nancy Glavine was the first
school teacher in the Catholic school in Buchans (7 children were
Rev. George Maidment came to
Buchans to serve the Anglican Parish.
First Buchans hospital opened
with one resident doctor and two nurses.
#1 ore shed is
converted into an ice rink.
Ore from the S.S. Kiruna is reloaded on board the S.S. Lelea in June and reached its destination of Avonmouth, England and Hamburg, Germany.
Town Hall opened, 3 tennis courts opened, baseball field, ski run,Ore storage shed
flooded in winter for skating and hockey, R.C., Army, U.C. had church buildings.
Four bunkhouses had been built.
First recorded marriage in the
Buchans United Church was between Arthur Leslie and Nora May
Gillard, on September 18.
Rev. J.M. O'Neil was the first resident Catholic Priest in Buchans.
A system requiring promissory slips was implemented. A worker was given time off
without pay and was assured of resuming work if he arrived back by a certain date.
R.C. opened it
Buchans became a Catholic Parish on July 2.
upgraded to 1250 tons of ore per day at a cost of one and a half million
line to Deer Lake was completed.
July 6, power
from Deer Lake, Saw Mill was started.
Silver and Gold began Dec 31.
used for mineral exploration.
As an alternative strategy for retaining the working force, after
1933 ASARCO allowed a limited number of workers in Buchans to move their wives and children into company housing.
A 7000 ft. drift (tunnel) was driven from Lucky Strike to Oriental in May and completed in October.
Buchans Workman Protective Union formed on July 31, before Nfld. Fedration of Labour
was formed. Officers M.J. Glavine, A. Andrews, J.Fitzpatrick, F.G. Dwyer, A. Hancock, Art Jesseau, Michael
Armstrong, Harrison Reid, Tommy Samms, and James Lane.
# of houses in
extract copper from ore began on September 1.
enough profits to pay for its investment of 7 million dollars.
of Buchans was elected Vice President of the Newfoundland Federation of Labour in Grand Fall in July. He was re-elected in 1938-39.
Public School graduate, Mary Forward.
22 new houses
built in Buchans. Total of 201 homes.
The #9 Bunkhouse was built. It had two persons to a room with single beds for the
The miners in the # 9 bunkhouse generated a song entitled" Drunken Miners".
Four additional bunkhouses were constructed (#10,11,12,13).
First major strike in August.
75 members of the Royal Nfld.
Constabulary were sent to Buchans to maintain law and order.
Government sent a committee
to Buchans to persuade the union members to go back to work and convince
both the union and the company management to submit to the binding
arbitration of a fact finding tribunal.
War regulations prohibit
strike in war defence regulations.
Company closed railway while
strike was in progress.
Strike is settled and BWPU
gains recognition, cost of living allowance granted.
President of the union Les
The judicial tribunal of
1941 recommended fumigation of bunkhouses on a quarterly basis and
immediate construction of an additional bunkhouse.
I.B.E.W. formed. Local 974 International Brotherhood of Electrical
L.O.A. Lodge 213 in Buchans was formed on December 12.
Tragic Ivany fire in November.
In June, the Bank of Montreal was robbed.
Commanding Officer at RCAF at Gander, W/C Annis, recommended
that the Buchans Airstrip be extended and paved as an alternate
to Gander. The Department of National Defense decided against
Girl Guide Hut is built.
- Company store closes.
- Bowling Alley and Pool Room opens.
- Community Mart opens.
- Rothermere mine is discovered.
- More housing units built.
- Buchans Miners played in an ore shed converted into an ice
- A large problem with vermin and sanitation in bunkhouses.
- A large percentage of the 121 houses were deemed
- Food for lunches were hauled on horse drawn wagons or
trucks above ground to the dry houses of the Lucky Strike and Oriental Mines.
- On March 21, Buchans Mining Company purchases a 1947 Dodge
Fire Truck with a 500 gallon pumper.
- Fire at Retail Stores resulting in $6,000 damage October
- Fire in the Theatre August 25 Film in projector room
catches fire. Kevin Smith Film Operator drops film catching other film on
- Branch 19 B.E.S.L. British Empire Service League, now the
Royal Canadian Legion, was formed.
- Rothermere orebody collared on June 4.
- Buchans miners import players from the mainland (Kirkland
- Buchans Boat Club is formed.
- Christmas of 49 Riot, at the time E.M. Martin was Assistant
- George Thomas Manager.
- The only government services the town was receiving was one
policeman and a post office.
- Nfld joined confederation.
- July 4-14 bush fire from ski hill to air base $2,254.
- Pentecostal services held at the Royal Canadian Legion and
Loyal Orangeman's Association Hall.
- BWPU sends delegation to the provincial government in
St.John's to advocate the building of a Buchans to Badger road.
- September 5, the first sod for the Buchans road was turned
- Premier J.R. Smallwood travelled via the ASARCO train to
Buchans to address the union September 5.
- Last bunkhouse built
- Buchans Miners win first Herder Memorial Cup.
- Rothermere mine starts production.
- MacLeans ore body is discovered.
- BMC Norseman aircraft crashes at South Pond killing all on
- Buchans Miners win Herder Memorial Cup
- Salvation Army Citadel built.
- March 16, steel sharpeners shop fire $2,500 damage.
- Fire in the Machine Shop causing $2,500 damage.
- Buchans Miners win Herder Memorial Cup.
- Company store re-opened.
- First baby born on the train on April 16, to Annie Perrier,
named Mary Rose after the conductor at the time, Herb Rose.
- St. Margaret's Convent in Buchans was begun in June and
completed in August.
First Presentation Sisters began teaching in Buchans on September 3.
- The underground workers formed the Miners Protective Union
- President of MPU John Quinlan.
- Buchans Miners win Herder Memorial Cup.
- New concrete dam completed.
- Dirt road to Badger is functional.
- R.J. Delaney appointed fire chief.
- Miners strike for higher wages that lasts for three weeks.
- Road from Buchans to Badger was officially opened.
- Merrill Reid builds house on east side of Buchans River.
- Irving Oil Garage Opens.
- Fire on January 20 destroys the Community Mart, Retail
Store and damages the Community Center (Theatre) Total damage $139,303.05
- April 30, Fire Dept. is placed under jurisdiction of the
Company Safety Dept.
- MacLean mine is collared in November.
- Eastern Provincial Airways operated a scheduled air service
at the Buchans Airstrip, between Gander, Buchans and Deer Lake, using a
Lockheed 10A Aircraft.
- The Lucky Strike mine closes.
- Present Hospital and Swimming pool are built in Buchans.
- The remaining section of the Millertown Railway and the
Harpoon Railway were dismantled. On July 1st the Botwood Railway was sold by
the Anglo Newfoundland Development Company and became a common carrier, the
Grand Falls Central Railway Company.
- Harpoon Tramway and that part of the Millertown Railway
between Buchans Junction and Millertown abandoned.
- The BWPU and the MPU disbanded and United Steelworkers of
America Local 5457 formed.
- November 11, fire at MacLeans Shaft Bunkhouse, north wing
of building destroyed. Roof collapsed in west wing, probable cause was
- Boys club opened.
- Royal Stores built new store.
- A #21 engine left at Exploits Dam when rails were lifted
along with flatcar to "ferry" trucks across the dam. Disposition unknown. Note
: Trinity Loop Rail Park.
- Buchans airstrip maintenance equipment and supplies were
moved to Gander in September.
- Buchans airport licence was withdrawn on October 28.
- Harold Skanes and the Buchaneers recorded several series of
thirty minute "Buchaneer Radio Shows" which aired on Nfld. radio stations over
a period of two years.
Beaver aircraft crash lands near Hinds Lake while carrying the
Buchans hockey team. Found next day. All okay.
St. Theresas Catholic School completed in December, opened for
classes in January of 1960.
A.N.D. Company celebrated fifty years of service.
- Lions club formed.
- Tennis courts were paved.
- Pentecostal Church opens.
- In April, the Buchans Mining Company Limited was dissolved
and responsibilities maintained by the parent corporation, ASARCO and AND
remain in control of operations, then called ASARCO Buchans Unit.
- Close to 60 families living in Pigeon Inlet.
- Harry Fowlow built a general store in Pigeon Inlet.
- Pentecostal Sunday School was opened on January 31 in the
Hall by Pastor and Mrs. Maxwell G. Spencer.
- Buchans Highway paved.
- Stadium built and opened.
- Esso garage opens.
- Anglican Church built.
- The provincial government decided to expropriate a section
of land adjacent to the town of Buchans from ASARCO and move the homes of
Pigeon Inlet in. A municipality known as the town site with its own elected
council was the result of this move.
- Population 2,463.
- Lions Club charter presented on January 25. Twenty Five
- MacLeans mine starts production.
Union Hall built by union members 81 X 100 ft. bldg was one large multipurpose
space with a pool room at one end and an office which served as a meeting and
working area for the union executives at the other end. The Union Hall or
"Club 5457" probably influenced more protest lore than any other context.
- Knights of Columbus Hall built.
- Barbara Mills, daughter of Stewart and Lucy Mills, first
dedicated in the new Pentecostal Church by Pastor Spencer on
- Stephen Harold Piercy wed Margaret Cavil Callahan, the
recorded wedding in the new Pentecostal Church, ceremony performed by Pastor
Spencer on April 5.
- Townsite was laid out by the Government.
- Miners win Herder.
- Curling rink opens.
- Buchans Miners win Herder Memorial Cup.
- Lions Club built a children wading pool.
- Lions Club presented a Television to the Buchans Hospital.
- Monday July 20 Started moving houses from Pigeon Inlet.
Tilley's first house to be moved.
- Harry Fowlow moves store in from Pigeon Inlet to Buchans
- May 3, Price Brothers and Company Ltd. purchased a majority
interest of AND Co. and parent company of Terra Nova Properties (ASARCO's
leaser) became Price Nfld. Pulp and Paper Ltd.
- Lions Club began planning for a children's playground.
- Population of Buchans 2,543.
- Houses moved in from Buchans airbase to Gilchrest St. on
- May 6, Father Fitzgerald passed away in the States.
- Gospel Hall opens on townsite.
- Lions Club opened playground in Buchans.
- Company store closed.
- Oriental Mine closes.
- New R.C. church opened.
- The Twenty-Five Year Club had an enrolment of 161 members,
of whom 99 had worked with the company for thirty years or more.
- King Lion, Hugh Wadden presented to Dr. A.M.Guy an
for the people of Buchans.
- March 27, Lionettes Club officially installed in office, 19
- Population of Buchans 2,361.
- Strike, that lasted five months, started on June 21.
Pickets were set up at plant entrance.
Union executives decide to decrease the essential services to the mine.
- Strike song composed by Hazel and Fronnie Flight called "Buchans
Song" later called "The Buchans Strike".
- Strike ends November 15.
- Life expectancy of mine is 8 years.
- November 7, fire at apartment 105 B Pine Avenue 8:40 a.m.
- Harry Buckley's daughter Colleen died in the fire.
Magisterial Inquiry held.
in July, men started receiving a strike allowance of $15 per
week for single men, $20 per week for married men, plus $2
- January, USWA local 5457 and ASARCO negotiates a collective
agreement. Over 60% of Local rejected the proposal.
- Strike started March 15.
- Union cuts all essential services to the plant, staff
buildings, schools and hospital.
- April 9, union will not allow non-union personnel to cross
the picket line and it was decided that marches would be held twice a day
during shift changes.
- April 11, union served with a court injunction limiting #
of picketers to 5 and ordered the picketers to allow management staff as well
as their vehicles free access to company properties.
- April 12, men on the picket line were replaced by the
- April 19, court upheld the injunction.
- There were several songs composed by Angus Lane one being
"All Because of ASARCO".
- James R. Hart General Manager of ASARCO at the time.
- April 24, Ken Larson, Assistant Geologist from Denmark,
crosses the picket line in his car striking two of the picketers, Jim Peddle
and Tom Ricketts ended up on the bonnet of his car and were taken about 30 to
- Union members rush to picket line and Larsons car is
- Harold Skanes a local musician recorded "Newfoundlanders
Forever" All the songs on this album were sung during strike marches. The
musicians/singers were Harold Skanes, Len Skanes, Don Bursey, Bill Ivany and
President of the Union Don Head. Vice President of the Union Ivan Hodder.
- April 30, local RCMP officer crosses the picket line to
inspect damage to property.
- This move incites the men to cross the tracks and heavy
damage is done to company property, main office is ransacked, Co. vehicles are
overturned and Larsons car is set on fire and destroyed.
- Prof. H.J. Dyer of MUN University is appointed a one man
industrial inquiry to try and settle the strike and to investigate the
economic and social prospects of Buchans.
- A fifteen page songster was produced by the union entitled
"Come Hell or High Water" to accompany the album "Come Hell or High Water.
- In September a new proposal submitted by ASARCO stipulating
a three year contract which the union accepted.
- Strike over October 3.
- A victory flag is paraded through town by the union.
- A provincial industrial commission reports on the apathetic
attitude in which the Buchans residents exhibited toward their rented homes.
- The hospital in Buchans was officially taken over by the
Government in April.
- The Red Indian Lake Development Association is
- The Mummers Troupe spent six weeks living and working
the people of Buchans. They performed the play "Company Town"
before packed audiences in the Catholic School for three days
- Government appoints a task force to study and make
recommendations on the effects of the mine closure on the town.
- Buchans Task Force was established to :
1. Study the effects of closedown of the mine
2. Look into the possibility of retraining and relocating workers
3. Make recommendations for the development of other resources in the area
which might ensure the future viability of the community.
- Buchans Task Force was established under the chairmanship
of Robert Langdon from the Department of Manpower and Industrial Relations,
along with members from the local union, ASARCO, the townsite council, the Red
Indian Lake Development Association and a member elected from Buchans
- ASARCO and Price Nfld. sign a new agreement whereby Price
repossessed its original mineral rights over entire 1905 AND Co. Concessions,
except the mine site. ASARCO and AND Co. continue to share profits from
existing mine and any future mine(s) discovered and developed by ASARCO prior
to March 1976.
- # of houses 356.
- Report of Buchans Task Force provides a detailed review of
opportunities available for economic development in the area.
- 50 year contract between ASARCO and Terra Nova Properties
expired in March.
- December 5 Pastor A.C. Palmer was the guest speaker for the
mortgage burning ceremony.
- The Buchans Task Force recommended that the Company owned
town be incorporated as a local improvement district and on January 22 a five
person board of trustees was appointed with George Neary as Chairman.
- In October the Buchans Action Committee was formed with Don
Head as Chairman.
- The sole purpose of the Buchans Action Committee was to
persuade provincial Government to act on recommendations contained in Task
- Sale of company homes began.
- The Company began to divest itself of the towns services
- June 30, last load of ore to leave Buchans by train.
- August 9, first truck load of ore left Buchans.
- Local Improvement District and the Townsite amalgamated.
- On June 26, Buchans finally came into its own as a full
fledge community. The townsite amalgamated with the Company owned portion of
town under a town council and became incorporated into the Town of Buchans.
- The Town of Buchans elects its first seven person Town
Council with Harris Walsh as Mayor.
- First major layoff in July by Asarco employees.
- Buchans Action Committee had minimal success in its
dealings with Government.
- A Barite Industry is established but plagued with problems
(high transportation costs and expensive to mine).
- 150 workers recalled to develop and mine a new ore body.
- Agreement between the Company and the Union to return to
work without a new contract.
- Up to this point, 17.5 million tons of ore produced 6.3
tons of concentrates from the mines at Buchans.
- Hiscocks 10 to 10 opens, it once was the Royal Stores, CNT
Phone and Telegraph Office and Dunns Pharmacy.
- Pentecostal Church renovated under the leadership of Pastor
L. Bryce Austin.
- First funeral held in new Pentecostal Church on November 9,
Malcolm Pardy (a founding member), service by Pastor L.B. Austin.
- Minimal ore reserves as of January were only 81,000 short
tons as compared to annual productions of 200,000 tons in
- Mine closes after 55 years of continuous mining operation
producing over 17 million tons of high grade ore.
- Asarco has only 12 employees down from 550 in 1978.
- April 24, Asarco guest house destroyed by fire. This
building was the residence of the mine managers during the early years. Cause,
- Asarco and Townsite fire department are integrated into one