24 March 2012

An Historical Nautical Night

Well fed and succumbing to sea lore

Hastings County Historical Society President Richard Hughes has been quoted as saying the there are three aspects to promoting our local history: "gathering, recording and preserving, and promoting". The March 24 "Nautical Night" held at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club in historic Victoria Park can be considered "guilty on all counts". The event in support of the Unlock the Archives capital campaign was a sell-out, with visitors travelling from as far as Hamilton to enjoy the great ambiance in this wonderful and historic bay-side yacht club, to delight to historic displays and compelling stories of local marine history, and to hear the siren call of Bay of Quinte's nautical history.
Paul Adamthwaite shares
the Atalanta's exploits

The event illustrates once again people's hunger for history (yes,and for great food too! The banquet prepared by a volunteer crew led by Hazel Lloyst, did not disappoint in any way).


Dick Bird
An outstanding line-up of speakers captivated the well-fed audience. Paul Adamthwaite, of the maritime history and conservation group the Archives & Collections Society of Picton shared the proud history of Belleville's own Atalanta, contender for the 1881 America's Cup. Dick Bird did Freeman Burrows proud - his account of Burrows' 1937 Great Lakes exploits on the Norseman inspired all who heard him.

Susan Smith the Club's Historian
Susan Smith, past Commodore of BQYC and the club historian  shared some of her discoveries in those "boxes and boxes of club history" she rescued from the dumpster - exciting stories of Belleville's boats' racing prowess from as far back as the 1870's.

Bill Hunt, noted Quinte area writer on things nautical and contraband, unnerved the audience by his ominous disappearance to Cuba.
Shifty character tries to explain
Bill Hunt's, ahhh, disappearance


His absence was not satisfactorily explained by the sinister character who took his place, who nonetheless gave an edifying and entertaining account of the great business opportunities afforded by Prohibition, in the seafaring Quinte community of the 1920's
L to R: Dick Bird, Susan Smith, archivist Sharon White, HCHS president Richard Hughes, Paul Adamthwaite, HCHS past-president and old salt Orland French



Hastings County Historical Society's 'Nautical History of Belleville and the Quinte Area' was a great way to celebrate local yachting history, and to start the season. Proceeds from the event go to the HCHS 'Unlock the Arhives' Capital Campaign - to preserve Hastings County's exciting history for us all, seafarer or landlubber. Look for the event next year...and be ready. Tickets go quickly.

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