Paper plane exchange Newfoundland - Scotland

'Air traffic control'  Caithness artist, Joanne B Kaar has been inspired by events reported in the John O’Groat Journal 100 years ago, when daring aviators, Harry George Hawker and Kenneth Mackenzie-Grieve, left St.John’s Newfoundland, attempting to cross the Atlantic non-stop. Engine problems  resulted in them ditching in the Atlantic.  Rescued, they were brought to Scrabster, Caithness, in the north of Scotland, where a crowd had gathered to welcome them.  They were later decorated with the Cross of the Royal Air Force.  Click here to watch a very short film clip of Harry and kenneth with the Danish ship that rescued them.

Exhibition 14th    26th Feb 2020  
At Nucleus the Nuclear and Caithness Archive
Exhibition 14th    20th Feb 2020 
The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St.John’s.

In celebration of the aviators and the warm reception they received, we connected with Newfoundland again! 

Caithness artist, Joanne B Kaar acted as 'air traffic controller' and ‘matchmaker’ between museums and heritage centres in the north of Scotland and Newfoundland, and suggested an exchange with each group organising their own  sessions locally to make paper aeroplanes and send them by post to their new partner over the Atlantic.  A fun activity that all ages and abilities could get involved to remember events 100 years ago and also make new connections for the future. 

First Exchange Muriel Murray and Jayne Blackburn from the Castletown Heritage Society sent three sets of paper planes to the Old Cottage Hospital Museum and Community Centre at Bonne Bay,Norris Point, Newfoundland.

One set was made by members of Castletown Heritage Society.  The members experimented with different ways of folding paper planes until one design was found that flew reasonably well.  These planes were made out of the printed information leaflets about Castlehill Estate Buildings, Castlehill Flagstone Trail, Flora and Fauna Around the Flagstone Tail, and Castlehill Heritage Garden.

The second set of paper planes was made by the Castletown Rainbows during a sleepover at Castlehill Heritage Centre.  The Rainbow girls drew their own pictures on the paper planes.

The third set was made by Primary 4, 5 and 6 children from Castletown Primary School.  The children had learnt about the five United Nations Global Goals for 2030 and they wrote down their wishes for the environment on sheets of paper before folding them into planes. 
Castlehill also exchanged interesting details on other early transatlantic flights from Scotland to Newfoundland. 

In return, Joanie Cranston, co-ordinator at the heritage centre in Norris Point, along museum curator Olivia Ball and artist Diana Chisholm, ran paper aeroplane making sessions with pupils from the Long Range Academy in Cow Head. Olivia Ball commented that “.. Students were excited to learn about the history of transatlantic flight, and their contemporaries in Caithness! We are hopeful that the connection can continue for years to come…”

Second Exchange
Ian Leith, chairman of The Wick Society, had the assistance of their artist in residence Anna Tesarova from the Czech Republic, and together, they helped pupils from Noss Primary School and the 2nd Wick Brownies get folding. Not to be left out, Joanne joined in their fun too while Alan Hendry from the John O’Groat Journal took photos of the paper aeroplane test flights thrown by the children, in the museum!! There were a few crash landings!  These were all packed and posted to Trinity Historical Society on the Bonavista Peninsula where Jim Miller, Project Coordinator and Heritage Programmer, Daphne Clarke sent back paper aeroplanes made by members of their Crafter’s Social Circle and primary school children attending after school events. The Trinity Historical Society organises several social events for young and old in addition to maintaining their historic properties and archives.

Third Exchange
The third exchange took place between Strathnaver  Museum in north Sutherland,  and Admiralty House Communications Museum, Mout Pearl, St.John’s Newfoundland.  Fiona Mackenzie, development manager for Strathnaver Museum, joined with the Flow Country’s ‘Magic of the Moine’ event at the Kyle Centre, in Tongue where members of the public were invited to write letters to extend the hand of friendship and share stories and thoughts about what makes our area so special, then fold it to make a paper aeroplane.  They also organised paper aeroplane making sessions with their local primary schools at Tongue and Melvich. Fiona mentioned that One of the pupils from Tongue is moving to Canada this December and looks forward to visiting the Crafts Council to look for her plane. All of the children said they really enjoyed writing their letters and they would love to receive responses”.

At the same time in Newfoundland, Sarah Ryan, museum manager and  Samantha Gaulton marketing and communications coordinator, for Admiralty House Communications Museum in Mount Pearl, teamed up with Hasan Hai, creator of Project Kindness and invited the public to write letters of kindness, fold them into paper aeroplanes to send to Strathnaver Museum.  The exchange fun, which involved all ages,  fit perfectly with their exhibition ‘from field to flight’, a celebration of the competition to cross the Atlantic non-stop.

Two exhibitions are happening simultaneously across the Atlantic, 

Exhibition 14th    26th Feb 2020  
At Nucleus the Nuclear and Caithness Archive
Exhibition 14th    20th FebThe Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery, St.John’s. 2020 

In Newfoundland, all paper aeroplanes sent have been gathered together and will be on display in St.Johns, at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador Gallery then returned to their recipients at The Old Cottage Hospital Norris Point, Trinity Historical Society and Admiralty House for safe keeping.

Here in Caithness, all paper aeroplanes received will be on display at Nucleus, the Nuclear and Caithness Archive along with a selection of drawings made by Joanne while artists in residence for the Crafts council of Newfoundland and Labrador in at the Old Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital Museum in Norris Point, photographs of house move over ice from days gone by, and a few curious items she brought back, including a berry picker, ships biscuits and trigger mitts.  Callum McCabe, the Archive Assistant at Nucleus has also been busy, selecting items from the archive for the display that relate to events in Caithness during 1919 when the original flight took place.

These special paper aeroplanes will be accessioned into the archive here at Nucleus as a record of re-connecting through archive documents.


Page 246 mentions landing at Scrabster. 

Old Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital: 
Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital was the medical centre for the Bonne Bay region of Newfoundland from 1940-2001. The Hospital was built by and for our communities. Land, materials and labour were donated, with men travelling huge distances on foot and by boat to work on the project. For over 60 years, the Cottage Hospital provided medical, dental, and community care. Today, the Cottage Hospital is a community hub; housing the public library, community radio, museum, events space, hostel, health services and many community groups.

Trinity Historical Society:
Trinity Historical Society was formed in 1964 and currently owns and operates five historic sites - Trinity Museum, Green Family Forge, Lester-Garland House, the Cooperage and the Court House, Gaol and General Building.

Admiralty House Communications Museum:
Located just outside St. John's in scenic Mount Pearl, Admiralty House Communications Museum will fascinate you with artifacts from the region's past, wireless communication and the tragedy of the S.S. Florizel.Enjoy fascinating, surprising, and once top secret stories. This historic building was originally constructed in 1915 by the Marconi Telegraph Co. during the First World War as the top secret H.M. Wireless Station for the British Royal Navy. This station, now the last standing of the 11 identical stations around the world, was built to intercept secret German naval transmissions, track icebergs and ships in distress.

Project Kindness NL:
Building a better, more engaging community by engaging in positive community projects throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.  We are a movement, united by the belief that people are genuinely good, kind and caring. That people sincerely have a desire to help others, but sometimes need a little help in doing so.

Our goal is to initiate, inspire, and promote acts of kindness and charity in communities across Newfoundland and Labrador. To build a large social network of engaged citizens who wake up every morning asking "What can I do for others today?" We want to draw individuals, businesses and groups together; united in doing good things for other people. As such, we value all forms of equality and inclusion, supporting individuals/groups/organizations and causes which do not discriminate based on physical ability, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnicity or age. We want to make the world a better place, one kind act at a time.

The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador
 A membership based organization, the Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador is dedicated to the artistic and economic viability of our industry. The Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador supports and celebrates the integrity of the handcrafted object, the creativity of the maker and the viability and visibility of our industry. Join us at the Shop, Gallery, and Clay Studio and discover what it means to be handcrafted.

The Wick Society 
Since 1971, the Wick Society, in Caithness, has striven to protect and promote Wick’s history. Today the Wick Society has under its wing the Heritage Centre, Isabella Fortuna, Johnston Collection and Wick Voices (an oral history project).  Please come along and view our displays for an amazing look back into the past of this historic town.

Castletown Heritage Society 
 Located on the most northernly coast on the mainland of ScotlandCastletown in Caithness is frequently referred to as the 'Flagstone Village' reflecting its association with the quarrying and export of high quality flagstone as paving and construction material by the 18th century improver and founder of the Castlehill flagstone industry, James Traill.

Important though the flagstone industry was, Castletown and the surrounding Parish of Olrig has a much bigger story to tell, revealing a rich and diverse social, enconomic and archaeological heritage stretching from its earliest origins in pre-history, the impact of Viking habitation, the strategic role played by RAF Castletown in the defence of Scapa Flow and the north British coastal waters during World War II, to the present day. Castletown Heritage Society seeks to bring this story to life, and in doing so preserve the unique character, history and traditions of the village of Castletown and the Parish of Olrig.

Strathnaver Museum
Strathnaver Museum is the Museum of the Clearances and tells this fascinating and at times brutal story within the wider perspective of our cultural and social history. 

The Museum holds a diverse range of objects depicting life in the north Highlands from prehistoric to more modern times. Within the Museum you can discover the Bronze Age burial beaker unearthed by a Highland Council roadcrew in 1981 and marvel at the tools our ancestors used to work their land in order to feed their families. Just outside the Museum you can also see the impressive and elaborately designed Pictish Farr Stone dated from around 800 to 850AD.

On the second floor of the Museum you will find the Clan Mackay Room which is full of fascinating artefacts including a very special chanter.

The Museum is housed within the former Parish Church of St Columba at Clachan in Bettyhill which is notable in its own right and is listed by Historic Scotland for its regional architectural importance. The museum also holds an interesting and varied archive of books, manuscripts and recorded oral histories which is valuable for genealogical and academic researchers. 

Nucleus the Nuclear and Caithness Archive. UK Civil Nuclear Industry Records. The records of the nuclear industry date back over seventy years and include plans, drawings, photographs, film, microfiche and documents. These have previously been held at various sites across the UK including Dounreay in Caithness, Harwell in Oxfordshire, Trawsfynydd in Snowdonia, and Sellafield in Cumbria. The relocation to Wick will take several years to complete.

County of Caithness Archives. The archives of the county of Caithness date from the 1469 to the present day and consist of documents in different formats including charters, minute books, correspondence, maps, photographs and plans. The records have previously been looked after at the Caithness Archive Centre, a service provided by High Life Highland on behalf of the Highland Council. These historic collections are now housed in Nucleus where they are available to members of the public for family and local history research.