History Field Trip - 2013

Last Updated: Monday, 03 August 2015 Published: Monday, 18 March 2013 Written by Deborah Harris

On Thursday, 21st February 2013, the History Department of the Convent High School undertook an educational field trip. Three buses, filled with seventy-nine Fifth Form students and four teachers of the History Department, left the school at about 9 o’clock .

Accompanying the staff and students on the trip were Mr. Ray Harris, Mrs. Bernadette Bird and Mrs. Cindy Alston. The latter two persons had recently moved to Dominica and were interested in knowing more about the island, so they were welcomed to accompany the school on the field trip. They accompanied Mr. Harris in his car on the field trip.

The first stop was at the Old Mill Cultural Centre, where the students were given a talk and guided tour by Mr. Gregory Rabess.  Mr. Rabess filled in the students on the history of the Canefield sugar estate and gave them a guided tour of the museum on the grounds. The students also visited the art gallery there after which class pictures were taken outside on the grounds. Each student, teacher and guest was given a brochure of the Old Mill Cultural Centre.

The next stop was at the River Estate ruins. While there are only a few ruins, the students were able to see the remains of the aqueduct and the water mill and were able to appreciate how the water mill would have worked. They were also fascinated by the building in the area that served as a slave barracks, as it gave them a better understanding of the small space that a slave family would have lived in.

From the River Estate ruins, the buses headed to the Macoucherie Estate. There the students were able to see cane fields and a working estate. They were able to explore the grounds of the estate, where they saw a working water mill, albeit with a smaller wheel than the traditional wheel that would have been used on the old sugar estates. They were able to see wooden rum casks and could therefore have a better understanding of what the sugar hogsheads were like. Students saw sugar cane being fed into the mill and the extracted juice coming out on the other side. A group of students was given a talk and a guided tour by Mr. Kentish Shillingford, who explained the processes involved in the making of rum.

From the Macoucherie Estate, the buses headed for the Cabrits. On arrival, the group went to the building that used to be the Officers’ Quarters where Dr. Lennox Honychurch gave a very enlightening and interesting power point presentation on Plantations and Water Mills. Mr. Harris’ car came in very handy as it was used to transport a few students and teachers who were unable to walk up to the Officers’ Quarters. Dr. Honychurch’s  presentation was well received by the students as well as the adults in the group. After the presentation, which lasted for about an hour and a half, the group went outside where they had lunch on the very pleasant, breezy and relaxing grounds of the Cabrits National Park. At approximately 2:25 p.m., the group headed back down to the buses for the return trip to Roseau. The buses left the Cabrits at about 2:40 p.m. and returned to the Convent High School at about 4:00 p.m.

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Photography: Ray and Deborah Harris

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