CROW HEAD, N.L.
By his recollection, John Hamlyn has served as Mayor of Crow Head since about 1963 and has enjoyed his volunteer work for the town.
When asked what he liked about being mayor, the 86-year-old laughed before responding.
“What I like about being mayor? Well, you’re the boss, I suppose,” Hamlyn said. “You get to the point where you can handle most of the meetings and things that come before council.”
While being mayor is a big commitment, Hamlyn has also been heavily involved in other aspects of community life.
“My wife, Geraldine, has put up with a lot over all these number of years,” Hamlyn said. “I was involved in a dozen different meetings, hospital board, school board, rural development and different ones all around the circle. And I was involved with the church, I’ve been on every board there and involved with the United Church conference. I’ve kept myself quite busy.”
Hamlyn’s first term on council was as a member in 1962. He became what was known as the chairperson (later called mayor) of the community council in 1963.
He says a lot has changed in Crow Head during his time on council.
“We were always considered a fishing community and when I started we had over 400 people living here,” Hamlyn said. “Right now we have 230 or 240 people, a lot of the older people have passed on to a better land, I hope.”
Councils were initially elected at a town meeting rather than by an extended election process.
“The first few town meetings we had, the council was elected at the meeting,” Hamlyn said. “A little later it was decided that the people would be appointed at the community meeting and that we’d have elections like we do now.”
Getting water and sewer services for the town was a major innovation during Hamlyn’s early days on Council.
“Once the water was in, it was the best thing since sliced bread,” Hamlyn said. “And once the sewer came in, that was life-saving.”
The role of mayor was even more hands-on when Hamlyn started, and he spent a great deal of time doing maintenance work in the town.
“When I had spare time or a day off and holidays, I would cut the grass and look after different things,” Hamlyn said. “We didn’t have a regular maintenance man, I was down in the sewer hole just as much as some of the others.”
While he has enjoyed his work overall, Hamlyn particularly enjoys representing the town and community functions.
“It makes your day sometimes to go to these functions,” Hamlyn said. “You meet all kinds of people.”
Hamlyn’s dedication to his work is the same today as it was when he first took office.
“I am in the office every day, especially since I retired from work,” Hamlyn said. “We have a full-time clerk and I look after expenditures and make sure our income is spent the way it should be.”