Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 44 > Page 27 - Working on the Sydney Coal Piers

Page 27 - Working on the Sydney Coal Piers

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/1/1 (265 reads)

man on the Pier. My grandfather started on the Pier. Starting off, I guess he was likely a carpenter, helped to build it. When the Pier was built, I think he was a watchman until he retired. My father went to work. He started on the railroad, when they started shipping coal. And from the railroad he went on to the Piers. Because it all belonged to one company. He was foreman on the Pier. The work they did on the Pier, what they call coal trimmers--when (the coal ship? pers would) load the coal into the boats, the trimmers had to level off all the coal in the hatches, and fill up every comer to make sure that the ship was safe for sailing. All the ships burned coal then-- there were no oil burners. Every ship burned coal for steam. They might be cal? ling in here perhaps for 100 ton of bunker, 200 ton, because they'd be heading for Montreal, with a cargo. And the trimmers would have to go down in and make sure that coal was put all through her. It was a very hard job--a trimmer had a hard job. I'll just give you an example. This room would be a ship's--what you call a coal bunker. And the opening might be only, say, 5 feet above us. The coal all had to come down through that one place, but they'd have to make sure it was stored in all the opening. Every space had to be filled. They shovelled it all. It came in from the top of the Pier (down) a chute. And once the coal was in the hatch, they had to shovel it to all the comers, spread it, and make sure the ship would have enough bunker to sail to her next port. Every space, every inch counted. They'd be on their knees shovelling it. If you left space at all, the ship would be short of coal. A terrible lot of grain ships would come from Montreal, coming into Sydney for coal bunkers, because from Montreal to Syd? ney they'd burn perhaps 4 days' coal. And that's 4 days less they'd have for going a- cross the ocean. They'd come in to Sydney, they'd want a full bunker, and they'd have to make sure they'd have 21 days of coal on board, so they could reach the other ' CtiCWVANFOO Oriental and Canadian Cuisine L.vJUI Im' OPEN 11 A.M. to 1 A.M 'iWf' OPEN DAILY 11 A.M. to 1 A.M. r FRI. and SAT. till 2 A.M. ACl SUN. till MIDNIGHT Ijfi Major Credit Cards Accepted ;f?V'V Gift Certificates Available iy_ Ample Parking 11'5460 Grand Lake Rd., Sydney relaxed and elegant dining atmosphere Daily Luncheon Specials Banquet Facilities Available Take Out Orders Delivered OPEN TILL 2 A.M. FRIDAY & SATURDAY Music by Robert Johnson, D.J, Thursday, Friday, & Saturday 562-0088 or 539-2825 (27)
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