Welcome to the Newfoundland Club of California


The people of the island province of Newfoundland and Labrador have always had to leave home in order to find employment. In the early days, people left to go out on the banking schooners. Later, people left to head to mainland Canada. Eventually, some adventurous Newfoundlanders found their way to California. Being so far away from home, living in a foreign country, with a new way of life, friends, and culture, Newfoundlanders often feel that it is important to hang on to their Newfoundland roots. It only take 2 "Newfies" to meet up for a Newfoundland Club to be born.

In the Beginning

At 11:30 one Sunday morning in August of 1994, I packed everything I wanted to keep, into my suburban and headed for California. The following Thursday, I pulled up to the Diamond Bar, California offices of the Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal life insurance company for whom I had worked in Canada. This was a transfer I asked for and, here I was in a strange country with about $200 to my name, a desire to sell life insurance (but I had no California insurance license) and I knew two people. I felt like I was dropped off by a wagon train that was now out of sight, heading further west.

To say the least, I could have been a very lonely person. But, before loneliness could take over, I decided to find other Newfoundlanders who may be living in Southern California. I wrote letters to the Downhomer magazine and to newspapers back home, trying to fine other Newfoundlanders in this area.

Responses came fairly quickly and three months later we had the first meeting of the club at the home of Allie Pinck in San Diego. The inaugural members besides myself (from Botwood) and Allie (from St. John's) were Iris Newbury (King's Point), Jocelyn Knee (Corner Brook), Shirley Freeman (St. John's) and Marion Cross (New World Island). Allie's husband Stan (a native Californian) commented that when the six of us got together for the first time, we acted like old friends and not strangers. That's the nature of the Newfoundlander!

I was on CBC TV in St. John's and did an extensive interview with Dr. Noel Murphy of CFCB in Corner Brook and there were articles in the Downhomer during our first few months. That caught the attention of several other Newfoundlanders in Southern California and Las Vegas and the club grew at a fast pace. We started monthly meetings in member's homes immediately and the have been going on ever since.

From the start, we welcomed not only residents here but, also, visitors from Newfoundland. Entertainers from home sent us CDs and tapes to share with our members. People brought food from home.

The club is strong and I hope it will continue for many years to come.

— Austin Elliott, Botwood


© 2013, Newfoundland Club of California