“The Leaving of Merasheen”

Author: Ernie Wilson
Earliest date: 1975 (Lehr/Best)
Keywords: homesickness home parting lament nonballad
Found in: Canada(Newf)


The singer remembers life on the "little isle of Merasheen down in Placentia Bay" and mourns having to leave it. "Those days are gone forever now and so is Merasheen."


"The Resettlement Program was carried out in Newfoundland during Joseph Smallwood's government [1950s to 1970s].... Its aim was to relocate ... coastal communities to larger centers where they would find better job opportunities and public facilities such as hospitals and schools.... When the smoke had finally cleared over three hundred communities had been completely closed down and those that remained were tombstones marking the passing of a large and noble part of our history."

See "The Blow Below the Belt" for another resettlement song - BS

Joey Smallwood began his career as a radio broadcaster, and used his position to push Newfoundland into Confederation with Canada; according to Craig Brown, e.d, _The Illustrated History of Canada_, p. 374, "Mainland prosperity, urged by Joey Smallwood... won out against the proud penury of independence."

But Smallwood, who went from broadcaster to Newfoundland premier and led the province for more than twenty years, by the late Fifties was turning to "increasingly illiberal one-man rule" (p. 491). The result of his policy was complaints like these. - RBW


  1. Lehr/Best 65, "The Leaving of Merasheen" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LeBe065