Barrouallie: Tales of different eras
March 15, 2013
Around and about the community of Barrouallie – Part 2

As we approach National Heroes Day, I wish, before I get into the gist of this article, to pause a while in order to pay tribute to one of my earthly heroines, who passed from this life on March 13, a few decades ago: my only maternal sister Dianne. Dianne was “born and raised” here in Barrouallie. She was the opposite of me in some ways. She was the chubby one and was of a lighter skin tone, very shy and extremely quiet… so much so that I, chronologically younger than she, assumed the role of her protector.{{more}}

Dianne, like my brother Michael, was a bookworm and “academically inclined”. She, along with Mercedes Moss, currently of the School of Nursing fame, along with others, made the Kingstown Government School very proud that year when they wrote the Common Entrance Exam. Dianne enrolled at the Girls’ High School and was excelling at the sciences when her number was called. Her life, though short, made an impact on me and I am grateful to have had her in my life.

Until you have been to “the place” where someone close to you has died, a loved one, then you wouldn’t understand the anguish, even after so many years. As such, let’s get off this sad note and continue with our journey around the community here in Barrouallie.

Last week, our first stop was at the Petroglyph and rectory. This week we shall explore more of our historical and natural sites here. One of the most beautiful places in SVG, in my opinion, is that picturesque headland Maroon Rock, which you can see on entry into Barrouallie from either Glebe or Kearton’s Hill. That rock has a history of its own. Just recently, I learnt that the rock was named Submarine Rock back in the day. The sea around it was a fishing ground in times gone by and still is for some. As I look at it while typing this article, it dawned on me just how much the first name fits it … Submarine Rock indeed; its shape is similar to a submarine…It “drew my breath away”.

Let’s see what happened to it during the eras of the early 1940s, the war years. One resident here in Barrouallie recalls that in his day, some of the residents would often huddle around the lone radio which was owned by Teacher Sandy in order to keep abreast of what was happening in the world because the war was on. Suddenly, one afternoon at about 2:30, the locals heard the sound of planes as they flew low over the community. A few seconds later, there was a loud explosion. All man Jack, boys and girls, ran “helter skelter”. When the “dust settled”, it was discovered that Submarine Rock had been the target. Some from that era surmised that the foreigners were practising, while others concluded that they probably took the rock, shaped as it is, for a submarine. Whatever the case, the rock was bombed and a gaping hole was left on its structure. The following day, Edson Branch and some of his friends went into their boat and journeyed to the rock in order to explore. They were able to locate pieces of the missile which Edson wore as a “hat” when they came ashore.

As nature would have it, the area around Submarine (Maroon) Rock was the habitat of the birds which we called “Boobie”. Now the birds seem to have disappeared and Maroon/ Submarine Rock still stands just as majestic today as it was yesterday. “She” is not lonely, as she is often visited by the youngsters who live at Bottle and Glass. I believe that Submarine Rock has potential to be developed into a tourist attraction which will surpass many that are currently on the list…think about it!

Our waters during those war years were always occupied by foreign warships. The Germans were always lurking in our seas. At those times, some of the imported food became scarce. The mothers, of course, had to make use of the crops which were grown here. Later, one proprietor, Mr Edwards, got some “cut rice” which he sold to the members of the community.

Imagine now that we are having a picnic on Submarine Rock and we are enjoying some cut rice and stewed fish. As we eat, we look around at the beautiful surroundings. Allow your gaze to linger for a while at Kearton’s Hill. Atop that portion of land overlooking the sea, there was a French fort….yes, you heard right. A fort was there. Can you see the relevance of its location? I was told that a few years ago, an old pistol was found in that vicinity; apparently it was one that was used during the colonial era. As I search and research, it becomes clear to me that there has to be tangible remnants of the olden days which may be buried around these parts, in fact, around the nation. I am quite sure that there are more artefacts to be found.

Our history is very interesting and we shall speak more about it as time goes by. For now, let us end here and I shall “see” you next week by God’s will….until.