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Contents

Pages 1 to 4
Rediscovery of Hubbard's Rock

Pages 5 to 12
Picture Galley (place cursor on pictures to read captions)

Pages 13 to 18
Comments by Rudy Mauro on NL Studies papers, The Naming Compulsion and The Language of Faith and American Exceptionalism

Arrival at Hubbard's rock, 1977. L to R: Les Hanberg (Pilot), Winston White, Doug Blake, Mike ParsonsWith some hesitation about altering history, we set ourselves to the two-day task, with star drills, hammer, and goggles, of drilling holes into the markings on the stone.[1] When the tablet was firmly cemented in place over the weathered inscription, Doug, polite Labradorean that he was, quietly expressed disappointment with the name, "Government of Newfoundland" on the tablet, instead of Newfoundland and Labrador. I could only offer the lame excuse that the new name was still not official. While we waited for our helicopter to pick us up for the return to Goose, I made the unwise decision to remove from the canister under the rock, my 1973 record of our visit, instead of simply deleting the names of the Canadian Forces personnel who had missed sharing our experience.
The bronze tablet installed, 1977. Doug Blake (left), Rudy Mauro
It was not until 2004, when paddler Philip Schubert produced the first complete list of names left at the rock, that the consequence of my indiscretion of 1977 struck home. The fifty-odd wilderness travellers who reached the site after the installation of the bronze marker, quite understandably concluded that the discoverers of Hubbard's rock were the visitors whose calling card carried the earliest date. As a result, four officials from the nearby Churchill Falls Generating Station, who were among the first to learn of our 1973 success and flew to the site two months later, had inadvertently snatched from Dillon Wallace III and me, on paper at least, the honour of prior discovery!

The confusion about just who it was who discovered Hubbard's rock lay far in the future as helicopter pilot Les Hanberg swung our Bell Ranger low over the Beaver River on the return to North West River after the installation of the memorial plaque in 1977. Wallace III and I had our first good look at the treacherous stretch of boiling water Wallace christened "Murdock's Rapids" in 1913 in honour of Murdock McLean, one of his paddlers who came close to disaster there on the arduous canoe and portage journey to the rock. Somewhere below us, under the rushing waters, lay the original Hubbard tablet. New technology, we speculated, might enable some future Wallace devotee to retrieve it.  As I left Labrador for the last time and turned to new adventures, I  felt Wallace III and I had done something really worthwhile to help keep his father's good name alive.


[1] Any concerns Dillon and I had about adverse reaction to the placing of the plaque over the original markings were soon dispelled. Visitors to the site over the years have voiced their appreciation at finding, all in one spot, traces of what was carved there originally, as well as a facsimile of the tablet the explorers intended to place on the boulder.

One critic of the partial covering over of the original inscription was an adventurer whose magazine articles sometimes include pictures of forgotten cairns in the Canadian Arctic. He appears to have been frustrated to find, after his arduous trek to Hubbard’s rock, that someone had beaten him there.

The only other known vocal opponent of the placing of the plaque in the Labrador wilderness was a native Newfoundlander and academic who authored a paper expressing contempt for explorers, particularly Dillon Wallace, who had the temerity to attach “colonialist, imperialist” names to Labrador’s geographical features. Characterizing the bronze tablet as “a physical representation of the layering of history over geographic space,” he singled out Rudy Mauro as the culprit who persuaded the Canadian Committee on Geographical Names to officially recognize Mount Kipling, named by Wallace in 1903.

(Go to picture gallery, page 5)
All images and content are Rudy Mauro 2005.  No form of reproduction, including copying or saving on digital images file, or the alteration or manipulation of said images, is authorized without the written permission of Rudy Mauro.
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