Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Located on South Side Drive, Harbour Breton, NL, Harbour Breton Landslide Monument is a landscaped site that includes a granite monument, granite benches and a large boulder with an attached explanatory plaque. The designation is confined to that piece of land known locally as Harbour Breton Landslide Monument.
Harbour Breton Landslide Monument has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Harbour Breton because of its historic value.
Harbour Breton Landslide Monument has historic value as a reminder of a tragic landslide that occurred on August 1, 1973. Around 3 am that day, after several weeks of rain, drizzle, fog and overcast conditions, a landslide swept down the hill above the monument site. The steep hill had become saturated with water and the increased weight caused a downhill slide that started 200 metres above the homes below and fanned out 75 metres or more across the road and into the ocean. Four houses were caught in the landslide and swept into the harbour. Four of Jack and Olive Hickey’s children died as a result of the landslide, including Pauline (8), Eddie (7), Timothy (6) and Julie (4). There were over 20 survivors, several of whom were injured, including Mrs. Beatrice Hunt who was trapped behind her cast iron stove when her house shifted. She was rescued after six hours. The youngest survivor was 21 month old Cavell Hickey, daughter of Jack and Olive Hickey, who was still in her crib when water and mud carried her into the attic of her house. Protected by the sides of the crib, she was found by rescuers who cut through the roof of the destroyed house to bring her to safety.
Slope movements continued over the next few days following the disastrous slide. The families who lost their houses during the landslide, and those whose homes were considered at risk, were relocated to other sites in the community and a ban was imposed on further development in the landslide area. In years previous, several small slides were reported in the same area but with no property damage or loss of life.
The path of the landslide is still visible, as new vegetation has failed to grow in the disturbed ground. In 1997, through fundraising efforts in the community, a monument was erected on the landslide site as a permanent reminder of this tragic episode in Harbour Breton’s history. The inscription on the monument reads, “This memorial is dedicated to the Hickey Children, Pauline 8 years, Eddie 7 years, Timothy 6 years, Julie 4 years, Innocent victims of the Landslide of Aug. 1, 1973 and to all others who lost precious belongings.”
Source: Town of Harbour Breton Regular Council Meeting Motion #09-048 July 22, 2009.
All those elements which represent the historical value of Harbour Breton Landslide Monument, including:
- granite monument and its inscriptions;
- granite benches;
- large boulder with attached plaque;
- association with the Hickey family, and;
- location along South Side Drive.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
1973/01/01 to 1997/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- People and the Environment
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection