History of Coal Mining in Nova Scotia
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Dept. Mines


PROVINCIAL MUSEUM, February 6th, 1873.

SIR, - I have the honor to submit the following Report on the Provincial Museum under my charge. In my Report of last year, I gave the classification of the objects displayed in the Museum, and a description of the more prominent specimens. In the present Report I propose to notice the principal additions that have since been made, arranging them according to the order I then adopted.


  • A block of Granite from Shelburne, presented by Captain McLean.
  • A block of Gypsum from Arichat, C. B., presented by Mr. W. Clough.
  • Two blocks of Limestone from George's River, C.B., presented by Sheriff Bell.
  • A collection of Cape Breton Marbles.
  • A collection of specimens of Auriferous Quartz from Isaac's Harbor, presented by the Hon. Wm. Annand.
  • Iron Ore from Londonderry, Nictaux and Annapolis.

The late Mr. A. P. Ross, of Pictou, presented a large slab of Copper Ore from Tilt Cove and a block of Bituminous Coal from George's Bay in Newfoundland.

To the Department of


have been added, -

  • Asphalt, from the Dead Sea, presented by Mr. H. Bland, Berkshire, England.
  • ANDALUSITE var. Chiastolite.
  • Tourmaline.
  • Tantalite.
  • Limonite.
  • Meteoric Iron, from the Desert of Atacama in Bolivia, presented by Mr. H. Bland, Berkshire, England.
  • Manganite.
  • Nickel.
  • Bismuth.
  • Copper ores.
  • Silver ore, presented by Mr. H. S. Poole.


To the Rock Collection I have added 122 specimens from George's River, C. B.; Arisaig, and Halifax and its environs, N. S. These were collected during surveys made last Summer. They are principally Crystalline and Sub-crystalline rocks from the Azoic and Lower Silurian Formations.

These are accompanied by maps which they are intended to illustrate.

Prof. Nichols has contributed a collection of Rocks and Minerals from New Brunswick, and Mr. Fletcher a similar collection from Newfoundland.


  • A collection of Silurian Fossils from Arisaig.
  • A collection of Lower Carboniferous Limestone Fossils from N. S. and C. B.
  • A large collection of Carboniferous Fossils from the North Joggins.
  • A collection of English Oolitic Fossils presented by Dr. Clay.
  • Mr. Harris, Artist, P. E. I., presented two large and beautifully executed figures of the Megatherium and Mammoth.

This Department has been greatly enriched by the generous donation made by Mr. H. Poole, of his valuable collection of Fossils from Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, and other countries.

At the meeting of the Institute of Natural Science, Mr. Poole stated that this collection contained many rare and valuable specimens of Fossils of the Coal Formation, that Mr. Selwyn, Director of the Geological Survey, had solicited the collection to be described by Dr. Dawson among the decades of the survey. Mr. Poole, however, preferred to deposit them in the Museum, where they would be accessible to the members of the Institute and Students of Geology in Nova Scotia. He considered that the Museum in the Capital of the Province whose natural history they tended to illustrate was the proper place of their destination.

In the Botanical Department, the additions made are chiefly foreign.

  • A fine specimen of Manilla Hemp, presented by Mr. Wm. Stairs.
  • A section of the Bark of the Mammoth Pine of California, presented by Mr. George Thompson.
  • The top of a gigantic Reed from the shores of the Dead Sea, presented by Mr. H. Poole.


  • Human anatomy has had important additions by the presentations of Dr. Page, and the skull of a Mic-Mac, presented by Dr. Weeks.

There have been added to the Mammals, -

  • The Star-Nosed Mole - Condylura cristata.
  • A fine specimen of the Wild Cat, Lynx rufus - male.
  • The fetus of a Porcupine, Erethizon dorsatus, presented by Mr John Dalton.
  • Porpoise, Phocena communis - in a jar.
  • Mr. Edward Binney presented a noble pair of Ox Horns from the Cape of Good Hope.
  • Hon. D. Macdonald a noble pair of Moose Antlers from Antigonish.
  • Mr. Thomas, a White Musquash Skin.


  • Mr. Egan presented a fine specimen of the English Raven,
  • Skin of Emu presented by the Hon. D. Macdonald.
  • Two Skins of Albatross presented by Captain G. W. Clarke.
  • A Skin of the Chinese King-Fisher presented by Mr. John Graham Amoy.

In the Class, -


  • Are Chelonians. - The Heart of a Turtle.
  • The Carapace of a gigantic Turtle, from Porto Rico presented by Captain Hiorth.
  • Saurians, Lizards - foreign.
  • Ophidians, Snakes - Native and foreign
  • Amphibians, Frogs and Salamanders - Native and foreign.

H. E. Sir Hastings Doyle, Dr. Gilpin, Mr. Poole and Capt. G. Clarke, were the principal contributors.

In the Class, -


  • A Young American Angler - Lophius Americanus, wet preparation.
  • A Sea Trout - Salmo Canadensis, weight 7 1/2 pounds, presented by Mr. Payzant.
  • Dog Fish, old and young.
  • Foreign - A very young Flying-Fish and a Sea Horse - Hippocampus, presented by Capt. C. H. Campbell.
  • A very large Cow Fish, presented by Dr. Griffiths, H.M. Royal Alfred.

In the next sub-kingdom -


there are many additions.

  • Mr. Edward Binney presented a collection of shells containing a large number of specimens.


have also had additions.

The sub-kingdom


  • Has had the addition of a very large Lobster, Crabs, Shrimps and Parasites from the mouths of Flying-Fishes, presented by Capt. J. H. Campbell.
  • Scorpions, Centipedes, Tarantulas, Beetles, from India and Brazil, also Locusts, Butterflies, and Moths.


  • A beautifully constructed nest of Mygale Coementaria from California, presented by Mr. George Thompson.

The Sub-kingdom


  • A medusa-head Star Fishes, Asterophyton from Margaree, C. B., presented by Mr. Grant, Sydney, C. B.
  • A large and beautiful Echinus from Nassau, presented by Lieut. Colonel Jolliffe, H. M. S. Royal Alfred.
  • A large collection of Echinarachnis from Cole Harbor, presented by Miss Isabella Fairbanks.
  • A large collection of Star Fishes, large and small, some with 6 rays.

The Sub-kingdom


  • Corals from the West Indies and a beautiful specimen of Nulliporea.
  • Coral from Labrador, lat. 54 N., presented by Mr. J. M. Mackay.
  • Sertularidae, various species.

The Sub-kingdom -


  • Sponges from Halifax Harbor, presented by Mr. J. M. Jones.
  • A very beautiful group of Tubular Sponges attached to a Spondylus princeps, taken off Cadiz, presented by Capt. J. H. Campbell.
  • Abundance of Foramenifera attached to Chiton, Sertularidae, &c.

The Zoological Collection is now amply sufficient to illustrate any course of lectures on Zoology.


has received additions.

  • Two New Zealand War Clubs, presented by the late A. P. Ross, Esq.
  • A South Sea Island War Club, presented by Capt. Graham, R. A.
  • A Weapon armed with Sharks Teeth, presented by Mr. E. Binney.
  • Embroidery, Printing and Carving from China, presented by Mr. John Graham, Amoy.
  • Feather Tippet from India, presented by Miss Carrie Ham.
  • Three Arabian Horse Shoes from Jerusalem, presented by Mr. H. Poole.
  • A Mandingo War Cap, presented by Mr. Albert Payne.
  • Jewish Phylacteries from Poland, and a Needle Gun, presented by Mr. H. S. Poole.


There have been added - Stone Axes, Arrow Heads and a Stone Pipe - the pipe came from River Dennis, C.B. A number of the arrow heads were presented by the late Hon. Wm. Garvie.

A singular specimen is from Newfoundland, T. J. Egan.

From Louisburg Harbor there is the Chain Plate of a French Frigate, presented by Mr. Daniel Cronan.

There is also a Medal struck in commemeration of the taking of Louisburg, having the effigies of Admiral Boscawen, dated 1758, presented by Mr. Hamilton, of New Jersey, a plan of Louisburg, Harbor and Fortifications, dated 1758, presented by the Rev. Dr. Hunnan.

Among the curiosities added there is a pistol which belonged to Mr. William Cobbit, M. P., presented by Mr. Ratchford. A picture of the Great Pyramid, presented by His Excellency Sir Hastings Doyle.


There have been added many Coins, Ancient Roman, Modern European, Asiatic and American - Paper Currency of the Colonies before the Revolution.

A Quebec Assignat of 1758, presented by Mr. Gilbert Seaman, Minudie and Assignats of the French Republic.

There is also an Antique Gem with the figures of Cupid and Aphrodite, found at Jaffa, presented by Mr. H. Poole.

Of Nova Scotia manufacture there is a collection of Axes, presented by Messrs. Bill and McKay, Liverpool.


Two old Italian Paintings, presented by the late Hon. Wm. Garvie, and a Bust of H. R. H. Prince Albert, presented by Stephen & Son. A portrait of His Excellency Sir Hastings Doyle.


Model of a Ship, presented by Captain Ryerson, M. P. P.


A number of volumes have been added.

The Ceremonial copy of Jury Awards of London Exhibition of 1862, presented by A. M. Uniacke, Esq.

Rapport sur L'Exposition Universelle de 1867, at Paris, presented by the Imperial Commission.

Any report of progress that can be made, cannot but fail to convey any adequate idea of the character and extent of our Museum. It must be visited, examined and studied, in order to be adequately appreciated,

It is evident to every one at a glance, that our Museum Collection is large and varied. It requires frequent visits, close examination and varied knowledge to realize its richness.

Yet the Museum is very far from realizing the aims and expectations of its promoters. Greater accommodation will be required for a proper and adequate display of our mineral resources. A proper appreciation of the utility of securing such a display and an honorable fulfillment of promises made to contribute specimens are necessary for the gaining of the object contemplated.

It was also intended to make the Museum a School of Mines. The collections in the Museum are admirably adapted for this purpose. Already public opinion has assented to our view, in reference to the establishment of such an institution, and it requires only the assent of the Legislature to confirm them. Science classes have already been established, and are now in their third session. In the first session there were 8 students; in the second, 11; This session there are 23 students, of these 22 attend the Geological Class, and 23 that of Zoology and Palaeontology. In these classes the instruction given is to a large extent special, i e., relating to Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.

Several of the gentlemen who attended my lectures last session assisted me in field work, especially in my survey of Halifax and its environs.

The Institute of Natural Science continues to hold its meetings in the Museum with mutual benefit to both Institutions and to the cause of Physical Science in Nova Scotia.

The Provincial Museum is no longer a novelty. It is four years and a half since it was established. Its popularity is still increasing and the influx of visitors is steady. I have no means of ascertaining the number of visitors that have been admitted during the past year. The number has unquestionably been very considerable. Town and country have each contributed their quota, and a great proportion have been strangers.

Assured that you will take as deep an interest in the prosperity and success of our institution as your two predecessors in office.

I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant,

The Hon. D. Macdonald,
Chief Commissioner of Mines.

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Last Modified: 99-12-29

Originally Printed by: The Citizen Publishing Company

The information contained on this site is not provided for the purpose of factual
representation. Instead, it is provided in an historical context. Every effort has
been made to ensure that this information represents the actual content
of the published Nova Scotia Department of Mines annual reports.
Nevertheless, no warranties are provided in any respect.

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