Not Fit For It:

"The average person here is such that we ought never to have had self-government; we are not fit for it."
(St. John's businessman Eric Bowring in testimony to the Amulree Royal Commission 1933)

(historian and writer Patrick O'Flaherty)

An Audio Adventure recreating the period March 1932 - March 1934:

Hear 1930's St John's come alive with the sounds, voices, and dramatic recreations of the time:

Newfoundland had been a self-governing independent country for over a century, with an elected government modelled on the British parliamentary system. When the Newfoundland parliament prerogued its last session in December 1933, the country became the only nation in history to voluntarily abandon elective democracy.

Information booklet includes time-line, photos, footnotes and essay by historian and writer Patrick O’Flaherty.

The Commission of Government being sworn in at St. John's, February 16, 1934. The Commission was a group of bureaucrats appointed by the British crown. It governed the nation of Newfoundland until Confederation with Canada in 1949

If you would like further information about this remarkable period in Newfoundland history, you could begin with the following:

The award-winning radio documentary feature -- Now Available on CD!

Written and recorded by Chris Brookes
As heard on CBC Radio On The Go
In 2005 this series won the Atlantic Journalism Award
CD complete with timeline and background essay by Patrrick O'Flaherty.
Listening time: 80 minutes

With the voices of:

John Fitzgerald
James Hiller
Gene Long
Peter Neary

Helen Whiteway
Bill Coady
Bert Sparkes
Paul O'Neill

Last word
Bert Riggs


Robert Chafe
Brian Hennessey
Ivan Morgan
Aidan Flynn

The sounds, drama, and debate come to life...

• The 1932 riot that brought down a government!
• The final debate in Nfld’s independent parliament!
• The 1933 Lightweight boxing championship bout!
• Rare sound recordings, movies,speeches, editorials, advertise ments & pop music of the day!

Eavesdrop on...

• The bribes and backroom deals
that were hidden for decades!

(RealAudio Player required)

Click the buttons below to hear:

Richard Squires' election campaign speech 1928 (from a 78rpm disc recording of Richard Squires)
The Featherweight Boxing Championship of Nfld title bout May 7, 1932 (from Evening Telegram reportage. Perf: Brian Hennessey)
Nfld Government Loan Bonds advertisement, June 1932 (perf: Aidan Flynn)
Parsons Garage automobile ad, 1932 (perf: Brian Hennessey)
Evening Telegram Observer column (A.B. Perlin) July 25, 1932 (perf: Ivan Morgan)
Letter to the editor Daily News, April 4, 1932 (perf: Kathryn Welbourn)
J.R.Smallwood letter to his wife 1932 (perf: Robert Chafe)
J.R.Smallwood letter to his wife 1933 (perf: Robert Chafe)
Opposition Leader Gordon Bradley's speech to the last session of the Newfoundland parliament, November 1933 (excerpt. Perf: Aidan Flynn)

Citizens parade to the Colonial Building , 1932.
(Photographs: Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador)