Research Report 2007

Publications by writers and editors at Memorial University

The Miners of Wabana

By Gail Weir

Book Cover: The Miners of Wabana

For 71 years, iron ore was mined at Wabana, Bell Island: half the output was used in Canada; the other half was shipped around the world. When the mine shut down on June 30, 1966, it was Canada's oldest, continuously operating iron mine. The miners worked three miles under the ocean in Conception Bay, in what was, during its lifetime, the world's most extensive submarine iron mine.

Well-known university archivist Gail Weir recently released the second edition of The Miners or Wabana, the story of the miners, of their workday, of the conditions in the mines, the story of the horses and the rats, of the fun that relieved the tedium and of the tragedies.

The book, which was first issued in 1989, also details the history of iron ore mining on Bell Island and includes a new chapter on the Murals Project, an initiative in the 1990s whereby scenes from of the area's mining past were painted on public buildings.

Portrait of Gail Weir

Gail Weir

The book was a special project for Ms. Weir.

"I enjoyed revisiting my original book and updating some of the material and adding a new chapter," she said.

Ms. Weir was born and raised on Bell Island, as was her mother, who was the daughter of a miner. Her father was a second-generation miner from Upper Island Cove. Ms. Weir is an archivist with the Archives and Manuscripts Division of Memorial Libraries. She lives in St. John's.

The Miners of Wabana is published by Breakwater Books / Jesperson Publishing and is part of the respected Canada's Atlantic Folklore-Folklife Series. See or

It is available in the University Bookstore.